Fresh ideas for old hotel

Bob and Niclole Wilsinson took over the Gold Hill Hotel just south of Virginia City and undertook renovations of the venerable property.

Bob and Niclole Wilsinson took over the Gold Hill Hotel just south of Virginia City and undertook renovations of the venerable property.

Bob and Nicole Wilkinson, owners of two restauranteur, were approached a little while ago if they would like to take over ownership of the Gold Hill Hotel.

After some consideration, the Wilkinsons decided the chance to take over the oldest continuously operating hotel in Nevada was an opportunity too good to pass up.

The couple, which own The Palace restaurant in Virginia City and Heidi’s Restaurant in Carson City, oversaw a three-month renovation of the property, which opened in 1861 and is located in the old ghost town of the same name just south of Virginia City.

Part of the renovation was to the hotel’s eatery, The Crown Point Restaurant, along with the lounge, bar and various minor improvements around the hotel. The restaurant for instance, received a fresh coat of paint and wainscoting and new furniture was added. The bar got a little more spacious by removing cabinetry.

Historic photographs discovered in storage adorn the property, along with hotel memorabilia. Other upgrades included lighting fixtures air conditioning and fire sprinkler systems around the hotel.

The hotel rooms are still a work in progress, as the Wilkinsons work to upgrade in-room amenities such as televisions. They also want to make it accessible for mobile devices.

While the couple saw a need for renovations, they wanted to be careful not to tinker too much with the hotel’s rich heritage. Therefore, some things like the hotel’s original design and exterior were virtually untouched to leave that 19th century appeal.

“We had to find that balance for those of us who want it modernized, while keeping the uniqueness of the property,” Bob Wilkinson.

They also revamped the culinary options at the hotel restaurant to make it more affordable for guest. A filet mignon for instance is available for $29. The hotel serves a variety of dishes including seafood and pastas as well as Angus beef. Culinary items are mostly bought from local markets.

“We wanted to make it open to more people,” Bob Wilkinson said, “We make everything fresh in the back.”

The hotel reopened for business on May 15. The hotel is currently staffed with 12 employees in various departments around the hotel.

Gold Hill Hotel has a total of 12 hotel rooms, four of which are called original historic rooms as a part of the hotel’s construction around 1859-60. It also has guest house suites, a Miner’s Cabin, and apartment style rooms that once housed mining activities near the hotel. There is also a reception area sometimes used for weddings.

Bob Wilkinson, a native of New York, started out working in nightclubs. He eventually moved out to the northern Nevada region where he met his wife, Nicole. He also has spent several years working and owning restaurants prior to his new venture.

The Wilkinsons have partnered with RAD Strategies, a public relations firm in Reno, to market their new venture. With the hotel’s rich history and hint of paranormal activity, it’s still an attractive destinations for tourists.

“We’re still in the process of branding the hotel,” Bob Wilkinson said. “We want to see what develops, but we’re also flexible.”


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