Vintage Palm Springs Blog

The Presley’s, Today, and the House of Tomorrow


Image by Hulton Archive via Getty Images for People Magazine.

For the millennial, the only time we ever heard the two words "Elvis Presley", was in the movie "Lilo & Stitch" where the protagonist Lilo lays depressed on her bedroom floor listening to the King of Rock and Roll's tune, Heartbreak Hotel.

But if you’re from a more antiquated or shall we say "vintage" time, then you may remember how significant the young man we would know today as Elvis Presley majorly added his hip-thrusting flair to the city of Palm Springs.



As one begins to investigate the history of the singer, you would have never thought that the singer would bring his gospel-loving, country musical talent to the wonderful state of California. Growing up, the singer took the musical influences of the time, including genres such as pop and country, and more importantly the black R & B he would frequent when down on Beale St in Memphis during his adolescence. Whether it him belting or listening to gospel; or him coming up with his own songs that eventually got him signed to Sun Records in 1954, we can see that there was a more soft and tender side to Elvis.



Becoming a sensation in 1956, it was easy for any girl to fall in love with the man. Priscilla Presley ended up being the lucky gal that the singer would take to not only honeymoon in the estate, but to live their happily married life. It was so known that even a gossip columnist known as Rona Barrett began to snoop into their gatherings, and even sent someone to have the maid of the home followed to see when the wedding was. People are CRAY CRAY.

If things could not get any worse, the wedding was approaching, and the rumors kept getting hotter than dog. Elvis luckily had resources to enjoy a private wedding tailored to them and their families. A fun fact about the wedding is that they were flown by private jet that belonged to no other than Ol' Blue Eyes himself.  Although "Miss Rona" basically blabbered it all over an episode of her nightly broadcast that the couple were going to get married in Palm Springs, most people thought and believed this truth and had expected for a ceremony in the nearby hotels and venues. Like, who the hell is this lady? Too bad that the couple were already on their way to Vegas to get married. (Shows you right, Miss Rona!) It is said that around 3:00am the night of the wedding, the couple sneaked out and flew back to their honeymoon in Palm Springs.



Although this location is known today as the "Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway" for obvious reasons, Elvis first got the house and was already an established resident in 1966 when his manager, Col. Tom Parker, thought it would be the perfect place to get away from the bustle of Hollywood. I feel like maybe Palm Springs may have had some voodoo done to attract all these big names to the location. Or if you're the less mystical type, then maybe it was just word of mouth.



Anyway, as one would probably guess by now, there was a great mastermind to the estate itself. Even though some people know the location as "Honeymoon Hideaway," this was formerly known as the Alexander Estate; giving architectural credit to Robert Alexander, and renowned designer of Desert Modern and futuristic builds in the desert city. Originally, Alexander had built the home for HIS family, where they resided in for a few years. unfortunately, in 1965, the Alexander family passed away in a plane crash, leaving the home empty. It wasn't until the King of Rock and Roll leased the house in 1966 that the neighborhood of Ladera Circle beamed with joy to have a cherished musician to honor the home that a designer genius once lived.



In order to understand the architectural strategy behind this build, one must know, or at least have an idea, of what is contained within the abode. The desert modern home runs on 5,500 square feet and consists of three stories and four concentric circles. Ultimately, the design is very notorious for not having a single square room in the house. Did we ever think we would see non-square rooms? Us either. But this may be the reason why it is doted, "The House of Tomorrow". Its design is eccentric and matched perfectly with the personality of the Presley's. The house went to include the usual celebrity perks' pool, huge glass outlooks into the San Jacinto skyline that most celebrities in Palm Springs fell in love with, among other thing. Of course, in order to qualify the house even further, the house was materially designed with post-and-beam construction, exposed beam ceilings, sloping roofs, and easter egg influences of the Swiss Miss architectural structure.



In today's view, the estate's influence has been expanded to include a resort hotel called the Graceland Connection that is found in Memphis. some of the hotel’s rooms are inspired by the location in Palm Springs, complete with terracotta and gold mid-century interior design concepts. The two master suites are named after Elvis's parents, Vernon and Gladys, which hold special amenities, and even more special rates.  The hotel, in its entirety, contains 430 rooms and 20 specialty suites whose design was supervised by Priscilla. Priscilla met with The TODAY Show in 2016, where she explained not only the design reasoning and inspiration for the hotel, but as well as the memory and emotion behind it. One grand inspiration, Presley explained, was the original Graceland Home in Memphis, Tennessee, where the singer spent most of his teenage and adolescent years. Presley went on to explain that most of the design, especially in the specialty rooms, was that of their Palm Springs abode, where she recollects the fondest memories not only with the singer, but with the family gatherings they held frequently in Palm Springs.



Per ush, if you would absolutely fan girl and love to see this Palm Springs abode most notorious for its design (and even MORE notorious for the people that lived in it), it can be found on Ladera Circle in Palm Springs. There are currently guided tours that one can take to view the home and where the Presley's spent most of their married life. The Desert Sun, Palm Springs' #1 newspaper, deems the location, "The #1 Place to Get Your Picture Taken in Palm Springs."


So as we sit and ponder the concurrent themes in pretty much every blog we write regarding celebrities, it seems to be that of being relaxed from the busyness of the Hollywood life, and the futuristic (especially THIS home)  designs are what keeps the City of Palm Springs a celeb-magnet for luxury and minimalist culture that was ahead of most of the celebrities in their time. Sure, we can add Presley as another one to the list, but it is instrumental to realize that the Presley's loved Palm Springs so much that they even took it to Memphis (not in the literal sense, but you catch our flow). it was with the Presley's that the word "Vintage Palm Springs" is epitomized.



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