Wacky and Wonderful Places to Stay in Nevada

Courtesy of Circa Resort & Casino / Expedia

A gothic hideaway in Las Vegas, a haunted cottage in Virginia City, a former bordello in Death Valley – Nevada’s hotels are as wide-ranging as its landscapes.

Nevada certainly doesn’t lack for hotels, with about 150,000 rooms in Las Vegas alone. But if you prefer something a bit more eccentric than the usual corporate, casino-chain accommodation, the Silver State offers plenty of options. From the restored historic properties of the north to the art-and-memorabilia-filled hotels in the south and the clowns in between, there’s something for everyone.

© Damien Weighill

Shady Lady Bed & Breakfast

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Courtesy of Shady Lady Bed & Breakfast / Expedia

The Shady Lady offers remote desert vistas and extravagantly themed guest rooms. There’s the dramatic Asian room, the lilac-tinted Victorian suite, or, better yet, the Willow Tree cabin – a pioneer-style cabin with a kitchenette and a wooden washtub-style bathtub. If you’re wondering what inspired the heart-shaped tub in the paradise suite, note that the Lady functioned as a legal brothel until 2014. Lounge by the pool, listen to the desert songbirds, and watch the herd of peacocks meander by. Be warned, though, remote means remote – the nearby town of Beatty doesn’t even have a grocery store, so stock up before your arrival.

Circa Resort & Casino

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Courtesy of Circa Resort & Casino / Expedia

Circa, the first ground-up casino to be built downtown in four decades, pays homage to the past with Vegas memorabilia, from photos to poker chips, on display. The centerpiece is the two-story-high neon sign of Vegas Vickie, a bodacious blonde cowgirl who used to kick up her boots on Fremont Street and now holds court in the central cocktail bar. The minibars and upscale sofa-wall-beds lend the rooms a sophisticated, lounge-like feel, while the bathrooms are super-glam, featuring movie-star lighting and gilded wallpaper embellished with pin-up girls and poker chips. If you want to leave your room, the high-rise pool complex features a vast HD screen playing sports, usually accompanied by live DJs.

Artisan Hotel

The outdoor pool with large, comfy sunbeds and palm trees at Artisan Hotel Boutique
Courtesy of Artisan Hotel Boutique / Expedia

An unexpectedly gothic hideaway off the Vegas Strip, the Artisan is an adult hangout featuring everything from the topless pool to the tapas bar and every Toulouse-Lautrec painting in between. The dark hallways are decorated with hundreds of gilt-framed reproductions of works by artists such as Da Vinci, Dali, Botticelli, and Balthus – some hung in classic symmetry, others strewn at angles across walls and ceilings. Barcelona Tapas, off the lobby, serves a wide range of bites and cocktails, often with live music. Want to throw a really big party? The entire hotel is available for rent.

Clown Motel

Budget Hotel, Independent Hotel
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Courtesy of Travel Nevada

Colurophobics beware! Tonopah’s Clown Motel is home to nearly 3,000 clowns – paintings, photos, tapestries, dolls, figurines, and some unsettling life-sized statues. Many adorn the lobby, but each room also features its own collection of clowns, including artwork created by the hotel’s current owner. Want to go deeply creepy? Book one of the Exorcist, Halloween, or IT rooms, each of which comes with themed art and decor. The Clown Motel is easy to find: drive down the one main street in Tonopah and look for the fire-engine-red building covered in rainbow polka-dots, right next door to the Old Tonopah Cemetery.

Boulder Dam Hotel

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© Sydney Martinez / Travel Nevada

The Boulder Dam Hotel dates back to when the dam was a newly built miracle of modern engineering and guests such as Bette Davis and Shirley Temple were hot young stars. The elegant, white-pillared hotel opened in 1933 and the wooden panelling and grand staircase in the lobby still impress. A hallway decorated with vintage murals of Boulder City leads to an art gallery, a spa, and the Boulder City & Hoover Dam Museum, a small yet intriguing collection of artefacts and anecdotes. There’s a restaurant open for breakfast and lunch and, during the nocturnal hours, Cleveland’s Lounge is a speakeasy-style basement bar that pours classic cocktails while live bands play.

The Jesse

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Courtesy of The Jesse / Expedia

The Jesse may be located in a historic building in Reno, but the vibe is definitely 21st-century. High-ceilinged rooms have a minimalist industrial/Scandinavian aesthetic, but also keep comfort in mind, with blackout drapes on the windows, Netflix on the TV, and the bathroom outfitted with robes and top-shelf toiletries. Downstairs, a bar and lounge offer in-house booze and caffeine options, while the on-site restaurant Estella serves tacos and mezcal.

Sugarloaf Mountain Motel

Sugarloaf Mountain Motel, Virginia City
Courtesy of Sydney Martinez / Travel Nevada

“Adorable” and “haunted” is an unlikely combination, but it fits the Sugarloaf Mountain Motel in Virginia City historic district. The 140-year-old property resembles a row of fairy-tale cottages, with baby-blue paint and white gingerbread trim, surrounded by a picket fence. Modern updates include wifi, flatscreens, and an on-site mini-mart – should you suddenly need a toothbrush or an ice cream sandwich or both – without losing its historic charm. The dozen rooms are outfitted with vintage touches such as iron bedsteads and patchwork quilts, while several feature exposed stone walls or balconies; a few are even said to host spirits.

The weird and wonderful world of Nevada awaits. Start your journey now

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