Elvis superfan Darlene Perez talks about the King’s SoCal Honeymoon Hideaway

By John Curley

Last September, Goldmine talked to Darlene Perez about her experiences at Elvis Week in Memphis. Since Elvis Week is happening this week, we’ve decided to revisit Darlene, a Southern California-based model and Priscilla Presley tribute artist, to discuss the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway in Palm Springs, CA and the activities happening there in the near future.

What events will be taking place at the Honeymoon House during Elvis Week?
Darlene Perez: The Elvis Honeymoon House is in full swing celebrating the extraordinary life and career of the King of Rock and Roll! On Saturday, August 20th, we have Elvis Tribute Day, which consists of house tours and an exciting living-room concert starring one of Graceland’s 2011 Ultimate Elvis Tribute Artist finalists Ted Torres! In fact, Ted just received the “Best Vocal Award” at the Elvis Fest in Las Vegas, presented on the same legendary stage at the Hilton (International) where Elvis performed in the 1970s. We are honored and excited to have Ted perform for us.

Rockabilly Hall of Famer and friend of Elvis Glen Glenn will be our celebrity guest. Glen Glenn is rock royalty in his own right, with many Rockabilly recording hits, and he and Elvis were really good friends in the 1950s. Glen Glenn is going to share a few stories and some memorabilia with our audience.

I encourage fans to join us for a spectacular time, especially if they are West Coast Elvis fans who are unable to travel to Memphis and Graceland for festivities this summer. The next best place to enjoy Elvis would be here, with us, at his honeymoon hideaway. We offer the unique opportunity to be entertained by “Elvis” in Elvis’ very own living room, meet one of Elvis’ personal friends—a true Rockabilly legend, have a field day snapping photographs, plus they get to meet other Elvis fans and extend their “Elvis family” with new friendships!

Guided tours are available every day of the year by appointment. You can call us directly or book an appointment online via our official Web site. (Editor’s Note: Contact info is below.)

What role will you play in the festivities?
Darlene Perez: I am the resident 1960s Priscilla Presley Tribute Artist. As a look-a-like, I will be dressed in one of my historic replicated honeymoon outfits, complete with mod makeup and towering black beehive. I transform myself into a circa 1966-67 Priscilla for added nostalgia and entertainment to our events. I walk around during the tours, greet fans, and pose for photographs with them and “Elvis.” At specific events, I sing a few duets with our performing ETA.

Channeling Priscilla gives fans an unexpected surprise. It gives the house the bookend to its featured Elvis Tribute Artist and creates a unique photo opportunity for everyone. Guests are delighted to find themselves in the company of “Elvis” and “Priscilla” while enjoying the home during the tours and featured concerts!

What makes the Honeymoon House a special place in Elvis lore?
Darlene Perez: Naturally, there is the immediate excitement of having an Elvis connection. After all, he was and is arguably the world’s biggest, most beloved and most celebrated entertainer. However, for many fans, it is much deeper than just visiting his old stomping grounds. There is something extra special about this place that no other Presley residence can hold claim to.

The Ladera Circle home has a rare, priceless ambiance and history. Inside these walls, you had Elvis and Priscilla celebrating a rite of passage. This humanizes Elvis. The time he spent here with his bride and their family and friends was a very private and personal one. It is here that Elvis made the transition into a married man.

As a fan, visiting this house allows you to connect with him on that personal level. The minute you walk through the door, you are invited to step back in time and revisit one of the happiest moments of Elvis’ life.

Fans cherish landmarks where they can feel the heart of Elvis. Here, you witness Elvis as a happy newlywed with plenty of archival photos, and feel the energy and share the joy of his life here with documented stories told by the docent. The honeymoon house truly encapsulates the lyrics of any romantic love song that Elvis ever sung.

What is the history of the Honeymoon House, before, during, and after the time that Elvis spent there?
arlene Perez: The Honeymoon House was the home to Palm Springs Royalty. Developer Robert Alexander built and lived in the home with his family in the early 1960s, and Elvis Presley occupied it near the end of the same decade.

Alexander created the midcentury masterpiece in the Las Palmas neighborhood of Hollywood stars. Known for his specialty modern homes in the desert, the famous architect built the property on three levels with four interconnecting concentric circles and no square rooms. With peanut brittle rock walls, a 64-foot banquette sofa, picturesque backyard complete with pool and lush gardens, the Alexander estate became known as the “House of Tomorrow” and was featured in an eight-page article in the September 1962 issue of Look magazine.

The Alexanders hosted many social activities at their home, with a who’s who list of society and celebrities of the day. Parties included entertainment by popular recording artists and often occupied by the latest dance craze. Legend has it that Chubby Checker was invited to personally perform and teach the twist to the guests at one party, and even led a conga line from the living room to around the swimming pool.

In 1965, Robert Alexander, his wife, and four others, were killed in a private plane crash northeast of Palm Springs. A short time after, Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’ manager who lived down the street, passed by the house one day and saw it was available. He suggested it to Elvis as the perfect place to relax, entertain his friends and escape from Hollywood. Elvis fell in love with the home and leased it from 1966 to 1967.

Unbeknownst to the public, Elvis and Priscilla successfully planned their wedding day on May 1, 1967—despite being under the radar of neighbor and Hollywood gossip columnist Rona Barrett. In the wee hours of the morning, the couple snuck out of the home, hurried through a secret trail in the backyard, and hopped into a waiting car that took them to the airport where they boarded Frank Sinatra’s Lear jet. The couple arrived in Las Vegas, married in a short ceremony at the Aladdin Hotel in Las Vegas, then returned back to Palm Springs to honeymoon by late afternoon—all in the same day.

Fast-forward to the 1990s: Restoration brought back the original 1960s grandeur and elegance, complete with classic mid-century furnishings, Elvis decor and memorabilia. It has since been open for tours, and guests are given a detailed historic account of both the Alexander period and the Presley occupation at the home. Annual events take place that include tribute artist concerts and celebrity meet and greets. The house has been featured in many movies and magazines, most recently Time magazine and Fodors California. Part of the documentary Elvis by the Presleys was filmed here.

Are fans able to tour the house?
Darlene Perez: Absolutely! We are available for guided house tours every day of the year, by scheduled appointment. You can call us or visit our Web site to book a tour.

We are also available for productions, filming, photography, corporate parties, seminars, weddings, honeymoons, and private events. Contact us for more info.

Is it known if Elvis enjoyed the time that he spent in Southern California?
Darlene Perez: Yes, it is well-documented that Elvis enjoyed himself in Southern California. Because of his commitments in Hollywood making movies and recording music, Elvis made Los Angeles, and ultimately Palm Springs, his home away from Memphis.

He resided in the Bel-Air neighborhood of Beverly Hills. Elvis enjoyed screening his favorite movies at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre, playing touch football with his friends at De Neve Park, riding his Harley-Davidson down Pacific Coast Highway and loved to meditate at the Self-Realization Garden in Pacific Palisades. In fact, his favorite recording studio in California was Radio Recorders on Santa Monica Blvd.

Elvis loved the serenity of Palm Springs. The desert provided a retreat for Elvis and he spent a lot of time here, most famously while celebrating his honeymoon with Priscilla Beaulieu at their residence here on Ladera Circle. Elvis also recorded a few songs for RCA at his home studio in the Chino Canyon estate he purchased down the street, which he owned from 1970 to 1977.

He loved the evening temperatures of the valley and Elvis would often sleep until late afternoon, with the air-conditioning cranked down to “meat locker” temperature, so he could enjoy outdoor activities such as home pool parties at night.

Elvis would ride his motorcycle to downtown Palm Springs for a Pineapple ice cream run. He had fun racing go-carts with his entourage at Camelot Park (now Boomers) and frequented Bookland (now Coffee Bean), both on Palm Canyon Drive. In addition, Elvis enjoyed local lounge acts at Caliente Tropics, playing blackjack at the Spa casino and dining on his favorite “combo #1” plate at the original Las Casuelas Mexican Restaurant.

Next year marks the 35th anniversary of Elvis’ death. As time goes on, how can places like the Honeymoon House help keep the memory of Elvis alive?
Darlene Perez: Yes, 35 years! Can you believe that? And he still stands tall!

Places like the Honeymoon House, Graceland, Tupelo, and all the other Elvis landmarks open to the public are vital in keeping the memory alive—because of their conservation, preservation, and education of Elvis Presley. We fans are fortunate that we can trace Elvis’ footsteps at places like Sun Studios and get a feel for that magical period of time. You can read Elvis literature, but to visit a Presley site is like stepping into a living, breathing scrapbook. Visiting an Elvis historic site gives you a connection to, and a deeper appreciation and understanding of, his life story and his contributions to music and pop culture. You use all your senses and everything …just…comes alive. It is simply organic.

It is important that Elvis fans recognize and embrace Elvis landmarks while they still exist, and to correlate their experience visiting these sites with the history they already know and the music they love, to other fans and new fans. Before you know it, the 50th anniversary will come along. And how many of us will be around for the 100th anniversary?

In the same breath, I am confident that Elvis’ memory will live on forever. Elvis is a legend, and legends never die.

It is fantastic that Elvis continues to be loved so dearly by his fans. I am proud to be a fan and enjoy sharing my love for Elvis with others. And I will continue to promote, educate, protect and preserve his history and legacy for as long as I can.

For additional information, contact:
Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway
1350 Ladera Circle
Palm Springs, CA 92262
(760) 322-1192

Darlene Perez’s Web site is www.darlingpresley.com.

Darlene Perez is a Southern California-based Elvis fan, model, and Priscilla Presley tribute artist. (Photo by 9th and Olive Photography.)

23 thoughts on “Elvis superfan Darlene Perez talks about the King’s SoCal Honeymoon Hideaway

  1. Great Article Darlene is a true Elvis fan, and portrays Priscilla amazingly! I can’t wait to go to the HH after reading this article!

  2. Love this….Love the background and history. I have been to the house many of times and great people and entertainment! Love it. Everytime I go I bring someone new! and they always want to come back.

  3. I love this interview. This is the reason why Elvis lives on. Elvis fan are the best fans in the world and they do so much to keep “his places” alive. Darlene is very knowledgable and captures the true essence of a Elvis fan. I felt it in this interview. Also it is beautiful yet a little creepy how much like Priscilla she looks. I can only imagine the feeling you get seeing her in the Honey Moon House with Elvis. Thank you for doing this interview. It was very insightful.

  4. Darlene, what a wonderful tribute you do!!!
    To include Priscilla is awesome!!
    I would love one day to have the opportunity to see Elvis and Priscilla’s Honeymoon Hideaway and to meet you in person..
    Great story, I enjoyed reading..

  5. I LOVE Love this article, reading all of these fabulous details, makes me feel all warm and Happy, I want to jump in my car and head there right now! In fact I just may 🙂 I didnt make it to Memphis,,, so I think Palm Springs is where i’ll be for The Celebration this year, see you soon Darlene 🙂

  6. Great interview. I learned some things I did not know about the Honeymoon House, like who the previous owners were, etc. I’m glad the house was restored and opened to the public. Darlene is an “Elvis buddy” of mine, even though we haven’t met, and she really puts her heart and soul into preserving Elvis’ memory. I love to see her posts of the replicated Priscilla outfits that she custom makes herself for her tribute to Priscilla of the 60s. I hope to see more interviews.

  7. I love ur artical about Elvis superfan Darlene.
    I met her last yr. at Elvis week in Memphis!
    We are also friends on facebook.
    One day I hope to go to the honymoon suit.
    Thanks again for such and informitive artical about Elvis.
    Elvis fans will realy like that.
    Mr Rebecca

  8. Wonderful article about Elvis and his Honeymoon Hideaway. In the near future I hope to visit the HH House. Thank you Darlene for sharing this story.

  9. Great article, as always! Darlene is a Friend on Facebook..we have never met, but hopefully next year at EW 2012. She devotes her time to our main man EP the greatest entertainer of all time…the HH..EW..videos..posts…the list goes on. We Elvis fans are one BIG family! We will keep on Rockin ”n” rolling and TCBing for ELVIS..Always!

  10. My name is “Jami” and I’m an Elvis Loving Memphian! 🙂 After 1st seeing Darling and her PTA tribute on My Space and then meeting at her face to face in Memphis during Elvis Week 07′ (I think) and knowing her to this day ….. I can honestly say that I have not met another living soul that has dedicated & devoted so much of their lives out of “Pure Love” Dedication, Devotion, Enthusiam & Passion for Elvis THE KING quite like “Our Darling Presley” can. The World is a brighter place because of her and “Our Elvis World” gleams from her Gracious Spirit as a ‘Natural Wonder’ because of her Universalizing Selfless Efforts. She is My No. 1 PTA STAR & I love her dearly! 

    Thank You so much for the article and allowing Our True One of a Kind … Special Elvis Angel a platform to do what she does best …. and that is sharing Elvis Love & always bringing people together!  
    ps… I learned so much reading the interview! Thank You Darling!  I will make it there to the HH one day! 🙂 
    I need to add that we are somewhat devastated that Darling is not in Memphis for the Vigil …. and not only hosting but recording memories of Elvis Week 2012 … but nonetheless ever Proud of and for her! 🙂 

  11. Great interview/article. I enjoyed it very much. I will now have to add the Honeymoon House to my list of places to see. Darlene,I have to say it “Thank you, Thank you very much”.

  12. I just finished reading this interview/article about the Honeymoon House in Palm Springs. I must say Darlene Perez is the one person who can truly educate anybody regarding the history and legacy of Elvis Presley. She is a Priscilla Presley tribute artist who truly portrays Priscilla as the young bride of Elvis and is so gracious and professional when it comes to educating all about Elvis and his legacy. I live on the East Coast and one day hope to visit the Honeymoon House in Palm Springs. This truly is a magical home for all to see. Thanks for printing this amazing article and thank you Darlene for your professionalism and insight regarding Elvis.

  13. Nice Article! Darlene is true-blue fan paying tribute to “The King” in everything she does and represents…I’m sure the upcoming HH event will be a blast and look forward to future events as well! Keep TCB-ing!

  14. just finished reading this interview/article about the Honeymoon House in Palm Springs. I must say Darlene Perez is the one person who can truly educate anybody regarding the history and legacy of Elvis Presley. She is a Priscilla Presley tribute artist who truly portrays Priscilla as the young bride of Elvis and is so gracious and professional when it comes to educating all about Elvis and his legacy. I live on the East Coast and one day hope to visit the Honeymoon House in Palm Springs. This truly is a magical home for all to see. Thanks for printing this amazing article and thank you Darlene for your professionalism and insight regarding Elvis.

    Read more: Elvis superfan Darlene Perez talks about the King’s SoCal Honeymoon Hideaway | Goldmine Magazine http://www.goldminemag.com/article/elvis-superfan-darlene-perez-talks-about-the-king%e2%80%99s-socal-honeymoon-hideaway#ixzz1UpkapP5K

  15. Darlene,

    A Beautiful window opportunity that you share of the Beloved Honeymoon House, home of Elvis and Priscilla, friends and family…A must not only see, feel, and experience this Incredible time during Elvis Life. Thank you so much for sharing the Magic, so dear to all of Elvis fans Hearts. Keep TCB with TLC Love to you Always Dear Elvis Friend and Family 🙂

  16. Enjoyed the article immensely. Darlene is a very beautiful, dedicated woman that enjoys sharing her love for Elvis and Priscilla while keeping the memory of Elvis alive. My husband and I just got back from a tour of the Honeymoon Hideaway, and it was everything Darlene described. It was an experience I will never forget. I have never had the pleasure of meeting Darlene in person, but I’m sure we will visit the H H again very soon for one of the exciting events they have each year, and have that opportunity! It would be great to see her dressed in her Priscilla “attire” and to hear her sing! Can’

  17. Great interview, very informative and really makes me want to visit some of these west coast sites that had a part in Elvis’s life .Thank you Darlene for sharing this information with us.Aloha

  18. Wonderful interview about the Elvis Honeymoon House. We were fortunate enough to visit this July. It was a fantastic experience.Darlene you protray Pricilla beautifully.

  19. This is a lovely article, n a good read! I hope to make to Palm Springs to see the Elvis Honeymoon Hideaway one of these days soon! ♥

  20. wonderful artical Darlene …. you are a specal and beautiful woman who believe’s in what she feels and say’s …And you have a true passion for Elvis,,, I call you my close friend and care deeply for you and your work ..which is awesome ..you give a 110%… love you always and TCB 4-ever Donna

  21. There are fans…and then there are FANS – Darlene definitely falls in the latter category. I’ve had the pleasure of spending some time with her, and her passion & enthusiasm for all things Elvis is absolutely contagious! It is fantastic to know that there are people among us who are so dedicated to preserving Elvis’ legacy for future generations. Thank you, Darlene!

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