Elvis’ Guest House at Graceland opens with many calling it a victory for the Whitehaven community

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MEMPHIS, Tenn-- With fanfare fit for a king and the cutting of a blue ribbon, this is a 30-year dream come true for die-hard Elvis Presley fans and for the people who run Graceland and Elvis Presley Enterprises. The Guest House at Graceland is now officially open to the public in Whitehaven.

Jack Soden is the president and CEO of Elvis Presley Enterprises.

"I don't know of anybody here besides a handful of us who could be more proud of this building," Soden said.

The 450-room building pays homage to all things Elvis.

Joel Weinshanker is a managing partner and developer for Graceland Holdings.

"This is really Elvis' hotel. This really the first hotel at Graceland that was built from the ground up. Elvis left us a lot of clues. Priscilla (Presley) filled in a lot of holes but this is really his hotel," Weinshanker said.

If any knows what the king of Rock n' Roll would have liked in a hotel near his mansion it is his former wife.

"When you walk in and anyone who has been an insider, people who were friends of Elvis and mine and even some of the guys when they walked in went, Oh my god, this is Elvis," Priscilla Presley said.

The Guest House at Graceland houses 20 Elvis-themed suites and also includes amenities such as a 464-seat theater, a pool and five restaurants.

"His taste, his style and we all know he had it, and this is bits and pieces of what he would have loved," Presley said.

Many said they love this project because it's also a victory for the community of Whitehaven.

City Council member Patrice Robinson represents the Whitehaven area.

"It's not just a development downtown. It's in the suburbs right down the street from the airport. We are about to build this area up and this is the catalyst to help us get there," Robinson said.

Developers said they anticipate more city, state and federal dollars will be used to redevelop Elvis Presley boulevard and Whitehaven.

It's been said that Elvis may have 'left the building,' but his Guest House at Graceland could lead to bigger things to come.

"This building is like knocking over the first domino and the second, the third and the fourth, and I think we'll see a phenomenal transition here in Whitehaven," Soden said.

"Oh my God, I think it's going to change Whitehaven and I think it's been a long time coming," Presley said.

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