If Nancy Reagan were playing Trivial Pursuit with the Wendy’s Where’s the Beef lady, while wearing Swatches and knocking back Bartles & Jaymes wine coolers, as Don Johnson looked on in a Miami Vice by After Six tuxedo, that would still be less 80s than this house. Asking $5.5 million, this cathedral of neon, brass, teal, and pink is offered by Vintage Club Sales.
It is perhaps unsurprising that the elderly owners, Faye Petersen Johnson and husband Ralph Johnson, were co-owners of an old-fashioned Las Vegas casino, the Westward Ho. Opening in 1971, the Westward Ho Hotel and Casino, which operated for 35 years, was called “the world’s biggest motor inn.” Even for Vegas, the Westward Ho was gaudy. The façade was covered with mirrors and polished brass fixtures, with 80-foot-high freestanding umbrella-like structures lined in golden light bulbs.
The Johnsons made their money in Las Vegas, but when it came time for a desert retreat big enough to host the whole family, they spent it in inside the “preternaturally tasteful” Vintage Club in Indian Wells, Calif., a 712-acre golf and resort community 15 miles southeast of Palm Springs. “Preternaturally tasteful?” you yelp. “But the kitchen looks like a Hampton Inn breakfast buffet!” Well, yes. That’s true. We’re just going by what Forbes magazine wrote about Vintage Club because we haven’t been there either. We are, however, in good company: Arnold Palmer, who you would think would be a dream guest in a Palm-Springs-area golf community, had to cool his heels for a while before being admitted. Some of those rich and well-connected enough to own homes in Vintage Club, however, include Bill Gates, various Nordstroms, Kochs, Krocs, and many other names from the Forbes 400 list.
Security for the neighborhood is incredible — it’s run by former members of the White House’s Secret Service detail, and even the grass, a unique cultivar created expressly for the club, gets the VIP treatment. The greens stay unnaturally green even during the blistering desert summers thanks to an underground cooling system that circulates cool nighttime air. That’s right, folks, even the grass is air conditioned!
The Petersens’ 1.53-acre property is pretty large, even for the Vintage Club. That’s because it was originally three separate houses which were joined to create one gigantic compound. That’s 12,369 square feet of pure 80s sizzle and pop. Outside, visitors will thrill to “landscaped waterfalls, meandering lakes and a lazy lagoon,” according to promo materials.
At least a dozen guests can be accommodated across the seven-bedroom and 14-bathroom compound. In addition to the master suite, there are a couple of guest bedrooms in the main house, an “entertainment pavilion” doubles as a guest house with two more bedrooms and two baths, and a third dwelling includes two more bedrooms for staff or overflow guests. So how many guests does that sleep? However many it is, there’s certainly room to park all their cars in the 20-car garage.