More than 150 years old, the Gold Hill Hotel building was constructed in 1861, the same year Nevada became a territory. Originally known as “The Riesen House,” the Gold Hill Hotel is the oldest operating hotel in Nevada and is currently owned by Comstock Mining.
As I travelled to the Gold Hill Hotel up scenic Geiger Grade (SR 341) on New Year’s Eve, I was greeted by several majestic homes with Christmas lights and a stunning view of the Truckee Meadows and all of its lights. Driving through Virginia City at night is a real treat and I was welcomed by an endless array of Victorian-style black street lamps on both sides of C Street. However, the true nighttime surprise on this journey was the Christmas lights placed on structures throughout the towns of Gold Hill and Virginia City by Comstock Mining, especially the lights hung by the Comstock Geology Department on the New Yorker Head Frame.
Arriving at the Gold Hill Hotel, I entered the Great Room and was greeted by Clayton Mitchell, the Gold Hill Hotel Manager, who immediately made me feel welcome. The Great Room features a large fireplace, projection TV on a big screen and a well-worn, solid wood floor suitable for dancing and hosting a live band during the New Year’s Eve celebration.
Behind the large fireplace is the Gold Hill Bar, which also features a fireplace in the corner surrounded by seating, or you can belly up to the bar and choose your favorite spirit. Be sure to sign a dollar bill and pin it to the ceiling for good luck!
Speaking of spirits, back in the Great Room, en route to the Crown Point Restaurant, I passed a wooden staircase that leads to the hotel rooms on the second and third floors. Purportedly and not surprisingly, considering the age of this historic structure, amiable spirits occupy some of the more popular rooms. In fact, several of the rooms feature fireplaces and/or balconies and the entire property has 18 rooms to choose from, including adjacent free-standing lodges with many amenities.
The crown jewel of this property is definitely the Crown Point Restaurant. On this past New Year’s Eve, I had the pleasure of dining with Comstock Mining CEO Corrado De Gasperis as well as several other dignitaries. The restaurant feels original with a Victorian motif that is complemented by Squeek Steele, playing live tunes on the piano. Service was superb from Head Waiter Vic and his staff. The meal was delicious and replete with a table-side visit from Sarge, the Executive Chef.
This entire property will appeal to all of your senses: sight, sound, smell, taste and touch. And if you have a sixth sense, this property can accommodate that as well from several of the long-term “residents.”
The Gold Hill Hotel can host your special event, including weddings. A picturesque drive on SR 341, the Gold Hill Hotel is only 27 miles from Reno or just 14 miles from Carson City. For additional information, call 847-0111. Visit www.goldhillhotel.net and Facebook for more history and great photos from the past and present.
Harry Spencer is a long-time northern Nevada resident.