Updated August 30, 2019 - 12:32 pm
Claire Sinclair refers to the years she lived at the Stratosphere as, “Crazy, very crazy.”
But it’s not so crazy now.
Sinclair lived at the Strat from 2013-17, when she was the star of the adult revue “Pin Up.” The free suite was actually written into her contract. So while she wore fishnets onstage, Sinclair socked away money to pursue her dream: a themed bed-and-breakfast in Las Vegas, modeled after a 1950s travel lodge.
About four years ago, Sinclair found a tantalizing fixer-upper in a seven-unit apartment building at 427 S. 11th St. The 2011 Playboy Playmate of the Year, cleverly named the place Clairbnb. She went about creating a kind of Vegas outpost of the Madonna Inn, the copper-and-pink motor inn that opened on California’s Central Coast in 1958.
Finally, this month, Sinclair has announced that Clairbnb is finished and available to guests for nightly rental (hit www.clairbnb.com or call 310-945-8172 for info). Sinclair’s lucky seven rooms are Swingin’ ’70s Suite, the Playhouse (inspired by “Pee Wee’s Playhouse”), Fairy Tale Suite,Vintage Glitz Suite, Lovie Dovie Suite and Hartland Gardens Suite.
The 28-year-old Sinclair is thus the rare pinup model who owns a Las Vegas resort.
“I’m feeling really good, proud of the rooms the way they came out,” Sinclair said in a phone chat Thursday. “We wanted them to be really happy, really unique, really creative.”
The building’s renovation been an odyssey, to say the least. With no experience in real-estate acquisition or renovation, and a resident of a Las Vegas resort, Sinclair first disclosed she’d purchased her building in May 2016. Property records revealed she purchased the property the previous February for $420,000.
Soon, Sinclair learned she needed a business license to operate the units as a hotel. She was also required to gain signatures from her neighbors and deliver that petition to city code-enforcement officials to even start construction.
“I had to go door-to-door through the neighborhood,” Sinclair said, “Nobody was in opposition, but that process threw us way behind.”
Sinclair spent all of her savings and also opened a Kickstarter campaign to offset renovation costs.
“It was a big beast of a project,” Sinclair said. “The plumbing, electricity had to be redone. The wallpapering and wood paneling … this ancient building had to be totally redone.”
During development, Sinclair opened the rooms for photo, social media and video shoots. Adidas just shot a commercial at Clairbnb last week. All suites feature a king- or queen-size bed, full bath, kitchen and living space. Las Vegas artist Jon Crowder contributed to the suites’ design elements.
The property also offers a shared, outdoor patio and fire pit, encouraging guests to co-mingle and “cultivate nomadic friendships,” as Sinclair’s news release suggests.
There were days Sinclair would far rather have thrown in the towel than hang one. But she persevered, saying, “I saved all my money from my ‘Pin Up’ and Playboy days and said, ‘Let’s go for this.’ I put every dime into this, I believed in it, and I’m super-passionate about it. I’m proud of how it all turned out.”
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.