Las Vegas Sun

November 24, 2015

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Living Las Vegas: See the valley’s craziest homes


Beverly Poppe

Inside the Parisian Palace.

Las Vegas has a reputation for delivering the “wow factor” and there’s no exception when it comes to real estate. Hidden among the cookie-cutter neighborhoods and rows of concrete blocks are unique properties that pique our interest. Here is a look into some of the craziest homes in the valley:

    • Pirates Cove Screengrab
      /Las Vegas Weekly

      Pirate’s Cove in Boulder City — 604 Lido Drive

      Disneyland has Pirates of the Caribbean. Boulder City has “Pirate’s Cove.” This unique complex designed and owned by the Tillotson family was once a modest home. Now a rental home marketed as a family getaway, the 22,000-square-foot mansion features 20 bedrooms, 25 bathrooms, three swimming pools (complete with swing ropes and watersides surrounded by rope bridges), lush landscaping and faux rock. If the pirate memorabilia isn’t enough for your visual senses, maybe the sunset views of Lake Mead will do the trick.

    • casa de shenandoah
      Photo by Steve Marcus

      Casa de Shenandoah — Sunset and Pecos roads

      Built in 1965, Wayne Newton’s 42-acre estate will become a public attraction at the end of the year. From the large white-gated entrance to the tail of a partially disassembled aircraft that can be seen from the street, the property has intrigued the public for years. Mr. Las Vegas, a known animal lover, has quite the collection of animals at his ranch, such as Arabian horses, peacocks, African penguins, wallabies, sloths and most recently 200 rescued lovebirds.

    • Nico Santucci
      Photo by Beverly Poppe

      Parisian Palace — 6150 Palmyra Drive

      Three miles west of the Strip, Parisian Palace was a mysterious addition to its neighborhood. Built in the 1980s by developer William Gohres for his wife, the 14,500-square-foot home was originally named “Villa de Reve,” which translates loosely to “Our Dream Home.” The house was foreclosed on in 2005 and purchased by Nico Santucci for $2.8 million. Santucci renovated the property to add a stylish rock-star feel to the European interior design. The entry features an Italian marble staircase accompanied by a gold-leaf banister flanked by an overhead walkway. A 600-pound crystal chandelier hangs overhead as do 12 other chandeliers throughout the property. The home’s seven bedroom suites include floor-to-ceiling murals of countrysides. It also boasts a nightclub, bowling alley and poker room. The property is available for rent for various events.

    • Castle Rancho
      Photo by Steve Marcus

      Castle Rancho — Alta and Rancho drives

      Nestled in the Rancho Circle neighborhood on Alta Drive sits Castle Rancho. The recently restored property was built in 1947 as a one-bedroom ranch-style house. Once owned by Las Vegas gaming legend Don Pettit of the Coin Castle, he gave the structure a facelift, molding the single-story house into a modern castlelike fortress. The home had been abandoned, but remained a tour-bus attraction for many years before the neighborhood became a gated community. In 2006, real estate developer LeRoy Black acquired the home, then partnered with real estate agent Glenn Robertson to restore the property. Now, the 6,400-square-foot property has had a $2 million makeover and is on the market for $3 million.

    • Phil Ruffin home
      /Courtesy of Luxe Estates Collection

      Phil Ruffin’s Estate — Tomiyasu Lane

      Phil Ruffin’s recent real estate transaction may not have been a gaming property, but it is notable in the residential real estate market. Ruffin purchased one of the largest homes in Southern Nevada for the bargain price of $15 million. Located just south of Casa de Shenandoah on Tomiyasu Lane and previously owned by Prince Jefri Bolkiah, brother of the Sultan of Brunei, the property has more than 65,000 square feet with 17 bedroom suites, nine bathrooms, an 11-car garage and a 10-stable horse stall. It has an 80-foot-by-40-foot swimming pool, a tennis court, indoor basketball court, gym, sushi bar, disco, formal ballroom and an executive office.

    • Criss Angel's Serenity
      /AWPI/Richard Brian

      Criss Angel’s Serenity — Anthem

      Magician Criss Angel’s mansion Serenity is most definitely magical. The 22,000-square-foot property is equipped with smart-home technology that assists with lighting, climate control, security and many other aspects throughout the residence. Overlooking the Las Vegas Valley and the Strip, the Mediterranean-style mansion features three guest master suites, nine bathrooms, eight fireplaces, eight fountains, an arcade game room, a wine cellar and a 2,200-square-foot luxury pool. A bonus magic museum includes 19th century antiques and artifacts from magic legends such as Houdini.

    • lonniehammargren
      Photo by Steve Marcus

      Castillo del Sol — 4318 Ridgecrest Drive

      Home to retired neurosurgeon and former Lt. Gov. Lonnie Hammargren, Castillo del Sol may well be one of the wackiest homes in the valley. Built in 1969 as a standard four-bedroom stucco home, the property is now two ranch-style houses that have been grafted together by white stucco. The entrance takes you to the top of a Mayan pyramid facade, a replica of the Castillo pyramid in the Yucatán. The backyard has a concrete map of Nevada, miniature versions of Hoover Dam, the Reno arch and the Thomas & Mack Center. Hammargren, an avid collector, has saved many pieces of Las Vegas and Nevada history, including Robbie Knievel’s motorcycle used to jump the Caesars Palace fountains, the chassis and wheels from the rail car that brought billionaire Howard Hughes to Las Vegas in 1966 and many movie props, models and signs from old casinos. Public tours are were offered annually on Nevada Day until last year when neighbors complained to the Clark County Commission about overcrowding and the lack of available parking.

    • Interesting Homes
      Photo by Steve Marcus

      eBay Founder Estate — Eastern Avenue and Grand Hills Drive

      In 2003, eBay founder Pierre Omidyar purchased an 11-acre lot on the edge of Seven Hills and began building a massive estate. In 2006, he completed his 48,000-square-foot, 33 bedroom, 36 bath mansion that is assessed at more than $23 million.

    • The Primm Compound
      Photo by Justin M. Bowen

      Michael Jackson’s Would-be Estate — Tomiyasu Lane

      In June 2009, when the news broke that Michael Jackson had died, his Las Vegas real estate agent was shocked. Jackson had planned to put an offer on a $16.5 million property neighboring Phil Ruffin’s estate on Tomiyasu Lane. The Mediterranean-style 9-acre estate owned by gaming mogul Gary Primm is more than 21,000 square feet. The main mansion features 28 rooms; four suites, nine bathrooms, five fireplaces, an elevator, a gym, steam shower, sauna, wine cellar, a theater room, a casino game room for billiards, a bar, library office and many more amenities. What appealed most to Jackson were the security features: gates, 10-foot exterior walls, tunnels and a panic room.

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