LEANING out of Elvis’ bedroom window, with the sound of live music roaring from the blues joints below, it dawns on me that I’m about to sleep in the house that changed the course of rock and roll history.
My home for the night is none other than 328 Lauderdale Courts in Memphis, Tennessee; the ONLY Elvis-owned house in the world to offer fans overnight visits.
But how can you bag a stay in Elvis Presley’s old digs? Well that requires both a little more conversation and a little more action…
With no online booking system yet in place, potential guests need to call the management company directly to secure their stay.
Perhaps as a result, this retro sleepover flies under the radar, even with the most committed fans.
Today at Lauderdale Courts, a red brick complex that was once one of America’s first public housing projects, things appear pretty ordinary; but when Elvis and his parents first turned their key in the latch here, the apartment building was an absolute game-changer for the family.
Fresh out of Mississippi and in search of a better life, this two-bedroom apartment parachuted the Presley’s right into the beating heart of Memphis.
Suddenly the hottest music venues, all-night gospel church services and the coolest recording studios were a mere hip-swivel away – all of which the impressionable young Elvis soaked up like a thirsty sponge.
After Elvis moved onwards and upwards, Lauderdale Courts fell on hard times and narrowly missed a visit from the wrecking ball.
The entire complex has since received a makeover though and been renamed Uptown Square, with landscaped gardens and a swimming pool added.
And thanks to a campaign led by devoted Elvis fans, the Presley flat has also been lovingly restored to its former mid-century glory.
Inside the five-roomed Presley apartment, a spacious living room is home to an impressive stack of classic Elvis movies, so I kicked back on the vintage sofa to watch Viva Las Vegas.
In the kitchen there’s an authentic, working refrigerator from the ‘50s, plus a skillet pan and recipe card to rustle up Elvis’ favourite fried peanut butter, banana and jelly sandwiches should the urge for a calorific midnight feast take hold.
Of the two-double bedrooms, Elvis’ is clearly the star of the show.
It’s noticeably larger than his parent’s room and has walls decorated with fuchsia lipstick kisses; a lingering memory of the hoards of fans who pay $10 each for a walk-through tour during his birth week in January and his death week in August.
Elvis references have been lavishly sprinkled throughout, from a tin of his gravity-defying hair pomade sitting on the dresser, to a copy of his Humes High School yearbook, the iconic lip curl already a work in progress.
The best thing about Elvis’ pad, though, is that (due to old school booking system) there’s usually plenty of availability.
Plus, at just £184.48 ($250) per night this four-person apartment rivals neighbouring hotels in value and beats them hands-down on character too.
There’s no doubt about it – waking up in Elvis’ teenage bedroom, staring at the same ceiling that the Memphis Flash once gazed at, then freshening up with a soak in his original bathtub, is the kind of once in a lifetime experience that borders on the out and out surreal.
You don’t need to be a hard-core Elvis fan to appreciate a stay in this quirky condo.
For the sheer novelty value and bragging rights alone, it’s well worth a visit.
And while you’re in town, be sure to swing by the Graceland mansion down the road, to bear witness to the concluding chapter of Elvis’ rags to riches story.
It’s a castle fit for a King.
GETTING/STAYING THERE: An overnight stay in the two-bedroom Elvis apartment costs £184.48 ($250) per night. To book, call +1 901 523 8662.
A visit to Elvis’ Lauderdale Courts apartment is included in a six or 12 night Elvis Luxury Spring Break in April, which also includes a trip to Elvis’ birthplace in Tupelo and an overnight stay at the Guest House at Graceland.
A six-night Elvis Luxury Spring Break costs from £1698pp, including flights from Heathrow, transfers and accommodation.