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News createt: 23-03-2012 11:00:00

Elvis' "honeymoon hideaway"

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Neighbors all shook up over parties at Elvis' Honeymoon Hideaway



It is one of the most famous houses in the rich celebrity history of Palm Springs: the Elvis and Priscilla Presley “Honeymoon Hideaway,” where the King and his bride spent their wedding night and the days after, 45 years ago this spring.

But the house has been no honeymoon for some neighbors today, who are meeting with city officials on Monday about the property becoming a loud commercial enterprise, with concerts, tours, parties and traffic that the upscale Vista Las Palmas neighborhood is unaccustomed to.

Elvis had leased the house, on Ladera Circle, in 1966 for one year at a cost of $21,000 at the urging of his manager, Col. Tom Parker, who owned a home around the corner. Other celebrities in the neighborhood, included Marilyn Monroe, Dean Martin, Peter Lawford and Trini Lopez (still a resident).

The house was the personal home of Robert and Helene Alexander, whose family built midcentury homes here in the desert that have become so iconic that they're now known simply as “Alexanders.” This particular house was featured in Look Magazine as 1962's “House of Tomorrow.”

Elvis, who was 32, had planned to marry his 21-year-old bride, Priscilla Beaulieu, in the house on May 1, 1967. But gossip columnist Rona Barrett lived nearby, and she got wind of the wedding. So Elvis and Priscilla snuck out the back door of the house and escaped on Frank Sinatra's jet to be married in Las Vegas. That night, the newlyweds flew back to Palm Springs for their honeymoon.

Such celebrity history draws the crowds today, and the home is marketed as a retro party palace that can accommodate up to 180 people, for events like last month's “Elvis & Chocolate” party on Valentine's Day. But it's all too much for neighbors who came here for the peace and serenity of Palm Springs.

Those neighbors want stricter control, saying the city should only issue party permits on a per-event basis, and the city has agreed. But the home's owners have appealed, and would like a more open-ended “event permit” to do all the parties and tours they like without having to apply each time.

The outcome of a meeting about the future of the house, will determine whether the neighbors get their peace and quiet back, or whether they have to live with what some view as a Heartbreak Hotel.