The brothel is the world famous Mustang Ranch, and every Renoite is familiar with its history. The original owner, Joe Conforte, is now retired and living on the sun-drenched shores of extradition-free Brazil. Its new owner, Lance Gilman, brokered the Tesla Gigafactory deal that's championed to revitalize our local economy.
Mustang has been offering tours of their bordello for a while, and since they also serve food, we decided to have lunch there, too.
It's only about 20 minutes out of town, so we soon found ourselves at the gate. As you can see, truckers get preferential treatment. That's a friendly touch, we all agreed.
Lunch was at the Wild Horse Saloon, and once we walked past the "No weapons or cell phones" sign at the door, we were strangers in a strange land. It broke every conception of what a brothel looked and smelled like. This is a place that exists for one purpose, and that purpose is hospitality. To ALL visitors.
The Saloon itself looks like a sports bar, if a sports bar had a stripper pole, and, instead of ESPN, ran soft-core porn. It also has one of the best food experiences in Reno. Seriously, the drinks were hella cheap, and the food was incredibly good, fresh, and refreshingly inexpensive.
The Madame came by to welcome us, and we talked about the tour. She said it attracts a lot of different types of people.
"Once, this group of elderly women came for lunch and a tour, and loved it. Next time they came back, they brought a whole bus full of grey-haired ladies with them! There were so many of them, we had to put them in a bigger room."
She introduced us to one of the girls, Vanessa (totally not her real name), as our guide, and the tour began.
"Do you mind being called 'girls'?" I asked.
"We're not really into the P.C. thing," she laughed, "so 'girls' is okay. We did once have a guy call and ask for a 'woman' over the age of 63, but we didn't have one… then."
She entered a code into a keypad on the wall, and what may have very well been a bulletproof door opened, and we entered the line-up room.
It looked like a hunting lodge. Dead, horned animal heads everywhere. Leather furniture, soft lights, warm colors. Against one wall is a display case of the awards the place has received. Front and center, are their most recent: 2014's Nevada Brothel of the Year, and 2014's Courtesan of the Year, Carrera. Congratulations, Carrera!
At one end is a wall length mirror where the girls line up for the clients. As we soon learned, while the men are sizing up the girls, the girls are doing the same to them. That's because the next stop is the Negotiation Room. It's basically a small room where the rules are explained, the client decides what he wants, and a fee is agreed upon. She then examines his junk for cooties, and, if everyone's happy, off they go! (This whole process has been recorded for CYA purposes.)
The girls are independent contractors, and each of them determines the fee they will charge, on top of the house minimum. Forty dollars a day for room and board, half of any negotiation goes to the house, and all outfits, hair, and makeup are written off as business expenses.
Vanessa chats with us as we walk through a nondescript hallway of doors that looks like any modern boutique hotel. One door is pointed out:
"This is where we get checked for STDs every week. We all love Dr. Cynthia."
I peeked into the kitchen as we pass by, and it is as immaculate as a laboratory. In fact, everything about the Ranch is scrupulously well maintained and Disneyland clean. Vanessa takes us by the gym, and out into the pool area, which is also next to the discrete VIP entrance.
"Do you always use condoms?" Mom asks.
"What if they want to pay extra?"
"It's not a negotiable item."
"But some of them must try…"
"Some do. You got to stay sharp."
We all nodded, and chuckled. Oh, men!
We left the Wild Horse, and headed across the parking lot to the Mustang Ranch Lodge.
Most business is performed at the Wild Horse, but the Mustang Ranch is where the real magic is. This is the place the high rollers, the filthy rich, and the well connected go. This is where fantasies happen, and dreams come true. This is the mother ship of all Western brothels.
This building used to live at the site of the original Mustang Ranch, just up the road. Because of some major tax issues, the brothel was owned and then sold on eBay by the Federal Government. (That is the most American sentence you will read all day.)
Much like the historic London Bridge, it was broken down, moved, and lovingly reassembled in a new location. The staff treats it with differential reverence, and why not? It's an important piece of Nevada history. Vanessa punched in the code, and we entered.
Inside it looked like the coolest bar in the world. Thick twisted wood, and dim red light. The bar itself is a shadowy behemoth, and probably stocks everything from tiger blood wine to Kickapoo Joy Juice.
One for me, and one for the Lady, if you please.
Outdoors there are several pools, including this heart-shaped hot tub. I imagined how nice this would be under a full moon, out under the desert night sky. Also, in my imagination, I'm smoking a cigarette and laughing it up with some Hollywood starlet. I am quite sure this is not the type of fantasy the owners intended to provoke, but there you go. This place is a dream machine.
Vanessa then showed us the themed rooms. First up, the Western room. Sumptuous suede and supple leather, it's the cowboy room you wanted as a kid, but grown-up, and with a bidet in the bathroom.
This is from the Safari room. Guess what? You can never have too much leopard print.
When I saw the bed, I renamed it the Austin Powers room.
And, finally, the Asian Room, with the biggest bed you've ever seen. "Sleeps twelve," it says casually in the promotional material.
I mentioned what a great bed it would be for a pillow fight.
"It's for an orgy," my sister said helpfully.
"Well, an orgy that starts with a pillow fight."
This place could make that happen, no problem.
If you decide to visit the Mustang Ranch, please call ahead to make sure they can accommodate your tour. The tour takes 20 to 40 minutes, depending on how curious you are, and what rooms are available. The food menu has vegetarian and gluten-free options. (The Pleasure Menu, has options, as well.) There is no charge for the tour, so please tip your guide generously!