My first week here in New Mexico, we were shooting up north in a small Western-era town called Las Vegas. The town is so cinematic that was almost like staying on a studio lot…and once the sun went down, it was just as lively. Meaning, it was deadsville…literally and figuratively.
But hands-down the coolest thing about Las Vegas was were we stayed! Our crew was split up at hotels all over town, but I had the pleasure of staying at the very cool Historic Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas.
You might recognize the Plaza as the setting for several crucial scenes in the Coen Brother’s recent Best Picture Winner, “No Country For Old Men”. And though the lobby looks a tad different in real life, those creaky stairs and the spooky little shotgun hotel rooms are exactly as they appeared in the movie.
I had an insanely-large handicapped room on the ground floor (that’s a pic of my charming bathroom below), so I’m almost positive I wasn’t staying in any of the rooms they used in the movie, but even without Javier Bardem stalking the halls with a freaky cow gun, that hotel was creepy in the extreme!
Built in 1882, the hotel has a long, storied history in the area, hosting such old West luminaries as Kit Carson, Billy The Kid, Doc Holliday and his girlfriend “Big Nose” Kate Elder. And for just as long as it’s been around, the Plaza has also been rumored to be home to a number of very active ghosts.
Unlike a couple of our crew members who actually switched rooms after being woken and literally pulled from their beds by “something”, I can’t say I saw anything out of the ordinary at the Plaza. I mean, there were strange sudden drafts at night and odd electrical problems with my almost all of my stuff — like, for instance, that’s where my poor Macbook, HAL 9000, died! — but overall the vibe there is just plain weird.
After one night at the hotel, at least one of our leads moved to the Comfort Inn across town. And if you’re giving up “19th Century Victorian atmosphere with 21st Century amenities” for the Comfort Inn, well, you know the Plaza is scary! I shit you not, I actually slept with the lights on until my friend Ginger arrived late in my stay and shamed me into turning them off. That’s her shadowy figure waving from the upper staircase in the picture below. Hey, Ginger!
But scary or not, both Ginger and I agreed it was kind of fun staying there, especially now that “No Country” swept so many of the major categories at the Oscars. At the very least, we can say we stayed at the spooky-ass Historic Plaza Hotel in downtown Las Vegas and lived to tell about it…yeah!