Vegas-style not-so-humble abodes
The Nevada Traveler
Las Vegas is known as home to many celebrities, so it’s no surprise that it should also host some fairly outrageous and over-the-top private domiciles.
While few of these homes are actually open to the public, that doesn’t mean they’re completely unknown. In fact, most have been written about or have appeared in various televised reality shows in recent years.
Perhaps the most well-known of these celebrity cribs is Wayne Newton’s 53-acre spread in Las Vegas on the corner of Sunset and Pecos. Known as Casa de Shenandoah, it has long been home to a veritable zoo of penguins, wallabies, miniature kangaroos, swans, peacocks, flamingos and horses.
Newton purchased the initial five acres of his compound in 1966 and, over the years, acquired more land and built a comfortable mansion, several guest houses, a penguin pond, a garage for his extensive classic car collection and a 75-horse stable, all surrounded by high stucco walls.
The property is currently being renovated, with plans calling for it to be open to the public in the future.
As for the lay of the property, in the past the main house contained Newton’s personal memorabilia collection such as microphone given to him by Frank Sinatra, Nat “King” Cole’s makeup kit, Jackie Gleason’s pool cue from the movie, “The Hustler,” a letter from Elvis and autographed photos from several U.S. presidents, John Wayne, Gene Autry and a host of others.
The estate has been featured in various magazines and on several TV shows, including MTV’s “Cribs” program. In 2007, sportscaster Kenny Smith took a televised tour of Casa de Shenandoah during the National Basketball Association’s All-Star game coverage (the game was held in Las Vegas).
The footage showed the long, white-fenced entry driveway, the lush, manicured grounds, several fountains and ponds, gazebos and a few rooms in the main house, which has a 300-year-old piano, 600-year-old antique sofas and chairs.
Newton also showed off his Red Room, containing his showbiz memorabilia, and his garage, which houses several vintage Bentley and Rolls Royce automobiles.
Perhaps more traditional but no less ostentatious are the two homes of illusionists Siegfried Fischbacher and Roy Horn, located near the intersection of North Decatur Boulevard and Vegas Drive.
The Siegfried and Roy compound, which sits in a residential neighborhood, includes the Jungle Palace, the formal main home, and Little Bavaria, a more rustic cottage.
The Las Vegas Advisor describes them as “not only opulent to the point of vulgarity (we consider a replica of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel over the cappuccino bar to be ever-so-slightly OTT), but also stand out from the norm for the fact that you might at any point bump into an enormous white tiger — or perhaps even stranger still — a small donkey, whether outside or in.”
The two homes are filled with antiques and collectibles including original Dutch Old Master paintings on the walls, a 5,000-pound silver tiger from India, expensive Afghan and Persian rugs, crystal candle holders, hard-carved furnishings, a clock owned by Napoleon, gold candelabras that were a gift from Liberace and a jewel-encrusted sword that is said to have once belonged to Genghis Khan.
Of course, one of the most grandiose private homes in Sin City is the former home of famed pianist Liberace, located at 4982 Shirley Street.
The sprawling compound, originally two separate homes, was Liberace’s primary residence from the mid-1970s until his death in 1987. After years of neglect, the 15,000-square-foot mansion was recently restored by British businessman Martyn Ravenhill, who also opened it for public tours.
Inside, the home is a wonderland of mirrored surfaces, displays of Liberace’s flamboyant stage costumes, and extravagantly-decorated rooms. The ceiling of Liberace’s bedroom features a re-creation of the Sistine Chapel and there is an elegant, curved staircase that was originally in a Paris “Can-Can” bar.
For information about tours, go to http://www.theliberacemansion.com/.