We reveal where and how to walk in King Elvis Presley’s own blue suede shoes
THE King has – finally – returned to the building.
There have been dozens of hit albums, a slew of TV series, and a million imitators in combination.
But Elvis Presley’s legacy is being revived in the form of Baz Luhrmann’s long-awaited biopic, released this week.
The capital of Elvis World is, of course, Memphis, Tennessee, where his Graceland mansion remains the most visited private home in the world.
But despite the constraints imposed by his manager, Colonel Tom Parker, who constantly hampered any potential world tour, Presley spent time outside of the continental United States.
Here, Rob Crossan reveals where and how to walk in the king’s own blue suede shoes.
Waikiki Beach, Hawaii
THIS island was the setting for his film Blue Hawaii and many vacations over the years, including his last vacation in March 1977 – just five months before his death.
Presley preferred to stay in the Ocean Tower (now Ali’I Tower) of the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort.
It is an unattractive high-rise block of a type that would never receive planning permission today.
But the views of Oahu are spectacular.
However, you’ll need a royal ransom to afford the 10,000 square foot King Suite that Elvis stayed in on the 14th floor.
From there, it’s a ten-minute cab ride to the Neal S Blaisdell Center where Elvis performed his satellite show to a global audience of one billion in 1973.
GO: Doubles at the Hilton Hawaiian Village Waikiki Beach Resort from £179, room only. See hilton.com.
Atlantis Resort, Bahamas
THINGS were going great for Elvis in 1969.
Fresh off his Comeback Special TV show and Las Vegas debut, The King, Priscilla and their baby girl spent a fortnight at the Paradise Island Hotel, now part of the Atlantis mega resort and connected to the main island from Nassau by a bridge.
If you want to play like Elvis did, get ready to remortgage your house.
He would take an entire blackjack table to himself and play all seven hands with the dealer while sipping bourbon and smoking cheroot.
GO: Doubles at The Cove, Atlantis Bahamas from £331 room only. See atlantisbahamas.com.
Prestwick Airport, Glasgow
THANKS to Elvis’ manager, the Colonel, being an illegal Dutch immigrant with no American passport, Elvis never toured outside of America – and even though he claimed to want to, the King never put feet in England.
The closest he got was the briefest of layovers at Glasgow’s Prestwick Airport on his way back to Memphis at the end of his two-year military stint.
You have to walk past security to find it, but there’s a tribute Elvis bar that tries to recreate the retro vibe of American diners, with archival photos of his all-too-brief run through the terminal.
It is currently closed due to Covid restrictions, but check the airport website for reopening dates.
GO: See glasgowprestwick.com.
Bad Nauheim, Germany
“ELVIS died when he joined the army,” joked John Lennon.
But few of the hordes of fans who gathered outside the sturdy semi-detached suburban home on Goethestrasse in the pretty spa town of Bad Nauheim would agree.
Here, on the steps of the house where he and his entire family lived during his military service between 1958 and 1960, the king would sign autographs for local girls for half an hour each evening.
The house is now privately owned, but you can stay at the Villa Grunewald hotel, where Elvis stayed when he arrived from Tennessee.
The king slept in bedroom 10 and the bedroom was, miraculously, preserved as it was, complete with the original walnut wood bed that Elvis slept in and even the original bakelite toilet seat.
GO: Doubles at Hotel Villa Grunewald from £82 B&B. See hotel-villa-grunewald.de.
It wasn’t all Cold War era soldiers for the King during his time in Europe.
When he was on Army R&R, Elvis’ favorite destination was Paris.
He and his pals were checking in at the Prince of Wales before rushing off to watch the Moulin Rouge dance performances.
On one occasion, after persuading an entire chorus of showgirls to return to his suite for an all-night party, a hungover member of the Memphis mob was awakened early the next night by an irate club manager.
He demanded that the girls wake up and return to the club, as they were due on stage again in less than an hour.
GO: Doubles at the Prince of Wales from £576 B&B. See marriott.com.