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LGBTQ boutique hotel opens in downtown Las Vegas

Updated December 1, 2023 - 7:31 pm

The first thing a visitor to the Bent Inn might notice is the mid-century inspired look with a twist — most evident in the titles on pulp fiction murals with fake book titles like “Locker Room Lovers” and “Killer in Drag.”

“We had them created to mimic the original look and feel,” co-owner Mark Hunter said. “We couldn’t find the rights so they created them uniquely.”

Uniqueness is part of the goal. Bent Inn, a 33-room non-gaming hotel, opened Thursday as the first adults-only, gay and locally owned and operated boutique spot in downtown Las Vegas. The location is pitching itself as the ideal destination for the queer community and allies.

The Las Vegas property is a new step for parent company Escape Resorts. Longtime hoteliers and married couple Mark Hunter and Greg Kafka previously owned two gay men’s resorts in Palm Springs, Escape Resort and Desert Paradise.

“I hope that they (guests) come in and see something unique and special when they walk in the door,” Hunter said. “We have our mid-century industrial look that’s coming together pretty well. We have our original art on the walls in the bar area and in the rooms.”

Rooms are entered through an atrium with water and garden features. There are 30 king-sized bed rooms and three bunkhouse style with twin-sized beds and shared facilities for solo and hostel-style travelers. Each room has a different set of pulp fiction covers.

Other amenities include a pool deck with in-pool seating, chaise lounges, a poolside food truck and an oversized outdoor heated spa. The hotel also includes a gastropub capable of seating 50 inside and outside.

Hunter said he’s particularly proud of the 16 staff members hired to open the property. He said while Las Vegas customer service has always aimed to be inclusive, Bent Inn wants to go beyond in making guests feel comfortable.

“We want to make sure that we have a staff that all appreciate the environment and want to be a part of it,” he said. “It’s very exciting to see how many people really came out of the woodwork to apply for positions here. We had hundreds.”

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 boutique hotel opens at a time when more investment is coming to Fremont East, a less developed part of downtown several blocks from the Fremont Street Experience. Shopping center Fergusons Downtown opened in 2019 and shareDOWNTOWN Fremont east, a five-story, 84-unit apartment building on Stewart Avenue and 11th Street, opened in April.

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 X.

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