As the oldest hotel in the state of Nevada, what more of a reason do you need to get to the Gold Hill Hotel? Located one mile south of Virginia City and only an hour’s drive from the Reno-Tahoe area, the Gold Hill Hotel has been a fixture for locals and visitors alike since before Nevada officially became a state. The history of the property certainly lives up to his Wild West roots, but the modern day environment is nothing short of euphoric. As the only full service hotel in the entire Virginia City area, a visit to the Gold Hill Hotel will assuredly deliver outstanding dining and accommodations, but is also quite the relaxing mountain retreat with incredible mountain views, great hiking, and clean, crisp air. It’s true, the Gold Hill Hotel is only “minutes away, but a century back in time.” Make the trip, we can assure you it will be one you wont soon forget.
A BIT OF HISTORY
Even before Nevada was officially part of the union, the Gold Hotel was modestly running a very busy operation. It’s hard to believe that such a place could still remain in business, delivering the same exact services to modern day travelers over 150 years later, but it’s true. Though Nevada didn’t become a state until 1864, the region was recognized as the official Nevada Territory in 1861. During this time, thousands of pioneers were called West in hopes of achieving their American Dream, either by by starting their own ranching operation or striking it rich themselves. As you can imagine, hotels and boarding houses were in crazy-high demand after Nevada became an official Nevada Territory, and by July of 1861 the hotel opened as the Riesen House. Some believe that the hotel opened in 1859, but most historians agree that a more accurate “start date” is 1861.
Another very important event was happening just up the street – one of the nation’s largest and most famous silver strike, the Comstock Lode – was being discovered. That entire operation was headquartered in Virginia City, while the town of Gold Hill was just one mile south. Virginia City and the surrounding area soon became one of the most famous towns in the West, drawing thousands and thousands of residents to the region. The Comstock Lode mining district was not only one of the most legendary towns in the West, it soon became one the largest cities in the West, too. It didn’t take long to incorporate schools, opera houses, newspapers, trains, factories, churches, fire departments and police forces. During the mid 1860s, the area boasted a population of 15,000 and swelled to 25,000 by the mid 1870s. As you might imagine, it didn’t take long for the Gold Hill Hotel to become quite an important fixture in the area, drawing famous visitors like Mark Twain himself.
As the case with most boomtowns, the mines dried up and most of the area’s occupants moved onto the next big discovery. Through it all, the Gold Hill Hotel has not only managed to hang on, but prospered.
MODERN DAY ACCOMODATIONS
Throughout the decades, the Gold Hill Hotel has managed to keep the original hotel rooms dating back to 1861 in tiptop shape, while offering a handful of lavish, modern-day options as well. Visitors can reserve one of the original 1861 rooms which are a bit more petite than the other options, but are undeniably special as they’re the earliest rooms in the entire State of Nevada. Located in the original portion of the hotel, visitors can expect uneven walls and floors, original plaster with exposed brick, and double brass beds.
If you want to enjoy the history of this incredible hotel but with a bit more space, try the Queen Rooms, with attached outdoor patio. That, or up the ante with a Balcony Room offering a private balcony with mountain views, as well as a sitting area, in-room refrigerator and flat screen TV.
The Doubles Rooms are great for people traveling in pairs or for families, and for even more space you can reserve the Miners Cabin. The Miners Cabin is located at the base of the historic Yellow Jacket Mine headframe, and equipped to host six people. Bask in this incredibly historic location while enjoying modern amenities and drinking in amazing mountain views. Dogs are allowed in the cabin, and cabin only for a rate of $25 per dog, per stay.
For even more space, visitors can rent the Bullion Lodge, a restored historic home offering a king bed, as well as a nice outdoor patio and old-fashioned deep bathtub. If you’re looking for accommodations for large groups, then the Brewery Lodge is it, as this encompasses renting an entire home. Located across from the hotel, this property can host up to seven guests and is complete with a full kitchen and dining area, multiple bathrooms and a private deck and patio.
GOLD HILL RESTAURANT & SALOON
For some of the best dining in the Comstock, a visit to the Gold Hill hotel is far from complete without checking out the Gold Hill Restaurant. As the only full service property in the entire Comstock National Historic District, it’s safe to say they’ve got it figured out around these parts. Try everything tasty pub appetizers like Potato Skins, to high quality Angus Steaks and Shrimp Scampi. To peruse the full menu, click here.
The Gold Hill Hotel has a reputation of attracting Paranormal Investigators from near and far because one of the deadliest mining accidents in Nevada happened just behind the property at the Yellow Jacket Mine. On the morning of April 7, 1869, a massive fire spread at the 800-foot below ground level. As the day crew descended deep into the mine, timbers began to collapse, which flooded the mine with poisonous gasses into the Yellow Jacket Mine, as well as the surrounding Kentuck and Crown Point Mines. At least 35 miners perished, but single workers may have vanished without any record. Despite sealing off various sections of the mine, these areas remained hot for several years. As a result, a substantial amount of paranormal activity has been detected at the Gold Hill property, drawing ghost hunters and paranormal enthusiasts from near and far. Some have claimed to detect miners who perished in the fire, while others have claimed to have been visited by Rosie – a famous prostitute who lived in the historic hotel for a period of time.
From downtown Reno, merge onto I-515 South. Take exit 57B onto US 395 South toward Virginia City. Travel one mile before turning left onto Geiger Grade Road. At the roundabout take the first exit onto Geiger Grade Road. Follow for 13 miles until reaching Virginia City. Travel through Virginia City, approximately 1 mile further south to Gold Hill – the Gold Hill Hotel will be on your right.