Longtime Las Vegas headliner Wayne Newton’s former home, Casa de Shenandoah, has opened to the public as part equestrian center, part museum, part zoo and part Sin city time machine.
Wayne Newton says “Shenandoah” means “beauty” (so Casa de Shenandoah is said to mean “Home of Beauty”), but it’s more commonly translated as “daughter of the stars.”
The perfectly-coiffed, 52-acre estate is about 15 minutes from the Las Vegas Strip. (If you’re Google mapping it, try 3310 Sunset Road, Las Vegas, NV.)
Guests first arrive at a shiny new Visitor Center.
Gird your loins for the long-awaited, immersive Wayne Newton experience.
From the moment you enter the Visitor Center, it’s clear serious bucks have been invested in this new enterprise. It’s reportedly cost $100 million to turn Casa de Shenandoah into a tourist attraction.
Wayne Newton’s visitor center has more floor space than a Costco. There must be a lot of pent-up Mr. Las Vegas demand out there.
According to our buddy Norm Clarke, the financial investment came from bajillionaire and philanthropist Lacy Harber. Read more.
Harber and Wayne Newton have come to an agreement, with Harber a majority owner of the endeavor. More on this. Harber says he’ll donate his portion of the profits to a local charity, Opportunity Village.
The visitor center boasts two classic blackjack tables from the Stardust (where Newton performed). Talk about winning over Vegas fanatics from the moment they arrive.
The new Visitor Center is decked out with a bar, theater and far more Wayne Newton-inspired merchandise than we could ever have imagine exists.
The visitor center theater seats approximately as many people as their are seats for. We hate taking notes.
After a 15-minute film in the Visitor Center theater, guests are shuttled approximately 30 feet to the gate of Casa de Shenandoah. It’s complicated, but we suspect this arrangement was made so visitors didn’t disrupt traffic or the sometimes touchy neighbors nearby. Oh, and there’s the aforementioned merch, of course.
Once inside the estate, guests arrive at a building which has been converted into the Wayne Newton Museum.
The museum features Wayne Newton’s Fokker F-28 twin-engine jet.
Meet the Fokker.
It was in the museum where we caught up with “Mr. Las Vegas” himself, flanked by cast members from Luxor’s “Fantasy” and schmoozing members of the media.
It’s good to be Mr. Las Vegas.
It was our first time meeting Wayne Newton, but we found him to be entirely charming, which is why, to be honest, you’ll find this blog post almost entirely bereft of snark.
Newton exuded class and graciousness, and seemed genuinely appreciative of, and humbled by, the fact everyone was making a fuss over him. Strange qualities given his decades in the international spotlight.
Also in the museum were a virtual fleet of vintage vehicles, including Rolls Royces formerly owned by Johnny Cash, Steve McQueen and Liberace.
This is how Wayne Newton rolls.
Liberace will come into play once we hit the mansion, as Newton’s tastes seem to run in the same vein. But we’re not there yet. Between the museum and the mansion, it’s all about the horses.
It’s like a country club for equines.
Wayne Newton has long been known to have a fondness for Arabian horses, and Casa de Shenandoah remains a working Arabian breeding ranch. Newton himself has personally delivered more than 90% of the horses on the estate (that’s a lot of latex gloves), and there have been more than 600 foals to-date.
Newton’s horses are pampered beyond belief, and guests are treated to exercise sessions and even a couple of laps in a private pool. Take a look.
Tours of the grounds are self-guided, so guests can wander at their leisure. There are plenty of attendants to answer questions and keep visitors pointed in the right direction.
Moving toward the mansion, there are enclosures with exotic animals including a monkey, penguin and wallabies. And the bird, below. Which was the only exotic animal we photographed because the sun was going down and we didn’t want to freak any animals out with our flash.
We have no idea what kind it is. We are a Las Vegas blog, not an ornithologist.
The mansion is the centerpiece of the estate, having served as Newton’s personal residence for more than 40 years. Now, he and his wife live in another mansion about a mile away. Which works out well, because it would be awkward walking in on Mr. Las Vegas as he was using Mr. Shower Massager.
Here’s Castle de Danke Schoën.
The doors are literally open to the public.
Guests are invited to explore the first floor of Wayne Newton’s former home. First up is the living room, wall-to-wall with pre-owned furniture. We should probably mention the furniture was previously owned by King Louis XV and King Louis XVI.
Eat your heart out, Liberace.
The over-the-top decor isn’t something you see too often these days, but it’s eye-popping. Strolling around Wayne Newton’s mansion is like stepping into a Las Vegas time machine (you knew we’d get around to revisiting that reference, eventually). It’s this delicious mixture of opulence and indulgence and gaudiness we truly wish our grandmother could’ve stayed around long enough to see, because it would have been the best thing she’d ever seen.
Next, the Red Room. Red is Newton’s favorite color.
The desk once belonged to Franklin D. Roosevelt.
There’s also the billiard room, wherein resides a 200-year-old billiard table made largely of crystal that was made for the royal family of India.
Purchased from Indians. From India. Unrelated: Wayne Newton is part native American, dealt with bigotry in his youth. He was referred to as an “apple,” red on the outside, white on the inside. Seriously.
The home is packed with Wayne Newton memorabilia galore.
You’ll want to stick around until the sun goes down, because only then does the synchronized water fountain outside the mansion shine. Behold what it possibly the most Las Vegas thing, ever.
All-in-all, the Casa de Shenandoah tour lasts as long as you’d like it to, but figure on at least two hours.
Casa de Shenandoah operates Monday through Saturday, 9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., with tours starting at 9:30 a.m. and ending at 5:30 p.m. Tickets start at $35. Expect to see discounts cropping up soon.
An intriguing “VIP experience” is also available, where guests get a meet-and-greet and guided tour with Wayne Newton himself. The price being quoted for Wayne Newton’s VIP “Mr. Las Vegas” experience and guided tour is a whopping $5,000. Which might not be outrageous for hardcore Mr. Las Vegas fans, but seems steep for normal humans unless you get to swim with an Arabian or Wayne personally dankes your schoen, if you get our drift.
Random celebrity sighting ahead!
We met Tyson Beckford during our visit. Sorry, ladies, not part of the regular Casa de Shenandoah experience. Beckford currently guests hosts at “Chippendales” at Rio Las Vegas.
The journey to the opening of Casa de Shenandoah has definitely not been an uninteresting one.
Hopefully, Wayne Newton’s financial dramas are behind him (investor Lacy Harber says the Casa de Shenandoah project involves “not a nickel of debt”), and guests can enjoy learning more about this iconic star who once represented the quintessential Las Vegas entertainer, and who for many still does.
A little something for the “Vegas Vacation” fans.
We’re always happy to see an investment in the history and culture of Las Vegas, and the opening of Casa de Shenandoah as a tourist attraction qualifies.
Even if you’re not a die-hard “Wayniac,” we suspect you’d enjoy a visit to Casa de Shenandoah. As advertised, it’s a one-of-a-kind look at a world we rarely get to see and a Las Vegas phenomenon that’s a little hard to explain.
So, add it to your list of things to do in Las Vegas.
Wayne Newton’s Casa de Shenandoah is truly the house that nostalgia and optimism built, and we hope it defies the odds (our in-house oddsmakers have the over/under at one year) and becomes a smashing success. Learn more at the official site.
Enjoy a few more photos from Wayne’s world.