weather icon Cloudy

LGBT-owned hotel to open in downtown Las Vegas this summer

Updated April 26, 2023 - 7:53 am

A new boutique hotel in downtown Las Vegas promises a welcoming experience that will bend traditional notions when it opens later this summer.

Bent Inn, a 33-room nongaming hotel on 11th Street and Ogden Avenue, is expected to be the only LGBTQ-owned and operated boutique hotel in Las Vegas, according to owners Greg Kafka and Mark Hunter.

“Vegas has so many tourists coming in this direction, but they don’t have any hotels that caters to the gay clientele,” Hunter said. “We are billing ourselves as a ‘straight-friendly’ hotel. A lot of places advertise as gay-friendly, so we’re flipping it as a fun little bit and people can be comfortable as themselves.”

The couple said they want to extend the hospitality they previously offered at their former gay men’s resorts Escape Resort and Desert Paradise Resort in Palm Springs, California.

Bent Inn will have “playfully designed rooms” that incorporate mid-century modern and industrial design, according to a news release. Artistic features throughout the hotel will include wall murals and original posters of gay pulp fiction from the 1950s and 1960s. The hotel will also have a pool and 50-seat gastropub that serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a shareable menu.

Escape Resorts Inc., parent company operating Bent Inn, bought three adjacent Las Vegas parcels for $2.73 million in January 2020, county records show. The property was originally built in 1963 and operated as the Moonlight Motel, then an apartment complex.

The owners cited the COVID-19 pandemic, permit issues and inflationary cost overruns for the years-long delay.

But the project will open at a time when more people are visiting Fremont East — thanks to shopping centers like at Fergusons Downtown, which opened in December 2019, and this week’s opening of shareDOWNTOWN Fremont East, a five-story, 84-unit apartment building at the southeast corner of Stewart Avenue and 11th Street.

“We definitely feel like the city has invested in this side of town, and we’re in an up and coming area,” Hunter said. “Our block has transformed so much in the last year with us and with the apartments.”

An opening date hasn’t been set yet, according to Escape Resorts. The reservation portal will open in the coming weeks. The hotel will offer discounted deals during the pre-sale, which is expected to be announced on social media the first week of May.

McKenna Ross is a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms. Contact her at mross@reviewjournal.com. Follow @mckenna_ross_ on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.