The Filoli estate, host of Biden and Xi, has history in Hollywood | ET REALITY


The Filoli estate, a large house and garden on 654 acres of green land along the California coast, has been a supporting character in the 1980s television drama “Dynasty” and the 2001 romantic comedy “The Wedding Planner”. It has been the venue for weddings of senior Facebook executives, and the public is welcome to tour the gardens.

Just not on Wednesday.

President Biden’s top advisers have worked with Chinese officials for weeks to ensure this manicured environment is the perfect backdrop to host a diplomatic summit between Biden and President Xi Jinping of China, two men who share a deep mutual skepticism. but also a mutual belief that their countries must avoid allowing their diplomatic and military interactions to deteriorate from fierce competition to open conflict.

San Francisco, the host city of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (known as APEC, a group of 21 countries surrounding the Pacific Ocean) would be too jammed and too frenetic to host such a meeting. American officials, with a mandate to plan a summit that would show respect to Xi and keep him away from protesters, landed at the Filoli estate during their anxious planning process.

The site was attractive for several reasons. It is nestled among the hills, one of the most isolated places in a densely populated corner of California. The White House kept the location of the meeting secret until a day before, presumably to prevent protesters from surrounding the venue. None were visible at the gates Wednesday morning as Biden’s motorcade approached the site, but some could be seen along the route from San Francisco.

Filoli is a giant estate amid some of the most expensive real estate in the country, built in the early 20th century by a family who made their fortune from the California gold boom and wanted a retreat not far from San Francisco. William Bowers Bourn II, the original owner of the house, decided on the name “Filoli” by mixing the first letters of his personal motto: “Fight for a just cause.” Love your neighbor. Live a good life.”

Today he is surrounded by wealth that makes the gold boom look like a low-stakes card game. The headquarters of Google, Apple and Facebook’s parent company Meta are all within a 30-minute drive. And the estate has become a wedding venue for the nouveau riche of the tech boom, with extensive gardens, a large ballroom and plenty of space to wander.

The two leaders shook hands at the entrance of the 54,256-square-foot, 56-room home before a lengthy bilateral meeting, flanked by their security detail. Biden is scheduled to hold a news conference on the Filoli grounds after meeting with Xi, who is not expected to make public comments.

Biden administration officials don’t know what the two leaders will have for lunch if they get hungry during their extensive meetings. “I don’t even know what I’m having for lunch,” John Kirby, a White House spokesman, said, slightly exasperated and perhaps with a hungry voice, to an inquiring reporter.

But if the two leaders get hungry, Filoli has a restaurant, chefs and a mobile wine vehicle.

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