If you’re anything like me, you do your best not to spend the night at any old hotel when you’re on the road. Well-worn travelers know foregoing the peace of mind that comes with a chain hotel can open up some of the best kinds of adventures. What that weird old bed and breakfast lacks in comfort, it will more than make up for in stories. Well, stories don’t get much better than this: you can now spend the night in jail polygamist leader Warren Jeff’s Mormon fundamentalist compound. Welcome to America’s Most Wanted Bed & Breakfast.
You might remember the Warren Jeffs from when he went on the lam back in 2006, earning him a spot on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted” list. When he was finally apprehended by the authorites, he was charged with accounts of incest, sexual misconduct with minors, and numerous other counts relating to allegedly arranging marriages between his adult followers and underage children.
Despite being posted up in a jail cell, Jeffs believed that God would soon set him free, and as such, instructed his followed to begin building a huge compound in Hildale, Utah. Believing him to be a prophet, his followers did as was instructed, and set to work creating a complex with double-thick doors and a 12-foot-tall perimeter fence.
In 2011, Jeffs was convicted of sexual assault on multiple underage children, and is currently serving a life sentence in a federal prison. So much for that whole prophet thing.
So, what do you do with a creepy religious fortress designed to withstand a siege by the United States government? You turn it into a bed and breakfast, naturally
“I left it there so people could go and see how paranoid [Jeffs] was,” Willie Jessop, owner of America’s Most Wanted Bed & Breakfast (and Jeffs’ former bodyguard) told NBC News. “It was my hope that the walls would help be a reminder to the community that if you need walls like this, you’re probably doing something wrong.”
After filing a lawsuit against church leaders who he claims purposely ruined his business and harassed his family, Jessop gave the group the ultimate middle finger and purchased Jeff’s massive complex for nearly four million bucks. Jessop decided that the massive property would make an excellent bed & breakfast, and in a nod to his former employer’s criminal chargers, named the new venture “America’s Most Wanted.”
Despite the name, Jessop says it’s not his intention to profit off of the heinous crimes committed by Jeffs, and has done his best to remove all traces of the former leader’s influence on the building, with the exception of a few signs ominously proclaiming “ZION” above several entrances.
The new bed and breakfast has 14 rooms available to rent for as low as $85 a night, including a King Suite (which, seriously, should have been called the Prophet Suite) with its own kitchen. There’s so much extra space that Jessop was able to create a number of common spaces and even designate entire wings of the complex for rent. Every room includes WiFi access, climate control, a smart television. They’re all a heck of a lot comfier than the room Jeffs is currently occupying.
“It brings me a personal satisfaction to see every walk of life come and to use the facilities and know that they’re welcome for who and what they are instead of what the property was designed for, which was to isolate and judge people,” Jessop told the St. George News, adding that he even performed his own “cleansing ritual” to free the building of its bad vibes. “We gutted this place with rock ‘n’ roll to make sure it was clean. Bon Jovi, ‘Livin’ on a Prayer’. We’re halfway there.”
Those looking for an exceptionally bizarre weekend can find more information about America’s Most Wanted Bed & Breakfast, including directions and booking information, here.
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