Reno is a little city, where business runs all around the casinos. Since I worked for many of them, I can tell you which hotel casino will suit you the best, and what advantages you can have, before you lose all the money you came with to this gambling type of vacation.
The fight for tourists and gamblers in Reno is between downtown hotels and off-road casinos. Nothing will give you the experience of spending the night downtown, with all the lights, great clubs and convenience of being able to visit 10 casinos just by walking. However you will not meet so many bums, drunks and even dangerous element in the off-road resorts.
There is one very special place downtown Reno, and it’s called Eldorado. So called “Eldo” has one of the most popular dance clubs in town – Bubinga Lounge. There’s also an excellent Italian restaurant – La Strada. Casino is owned by Italian family, so you can just imagine how the food tastes. Prime Rib Grill, Roxy’s (bar lounge and a fine restaurant), Golden Fortune (Asian cuisine) and Tivoli Garden’s – a coffee shop serving Chinese, Italian, American and Mexican meals around the clock are some of the other dining options. Eldorado has about 15 different table games, 2000 slots, all that on 3 stores of the casino floor. 8 different bars, their own bakery and also a pub – Brew Brothers. Oh, yes, they make themselves everything they can. The owners of Eldorado – the Carano family have their own wineyard in California where they produce country wide known wine – Ferrari Carano, naturally served in the casino as well. They also make their own beer and coffee. Victorian style decoration of the casino floor gives you truly majestic experience. There isn’t a beer that you cannot get in Eldorado – complimentary if you play. They have alcohols from all around the world and their poker room is one of the biggest in town, and… always full. The casino is connected with two other hotels – Silver Legacy and Circus Circus. To enjoy all of them you don’t even have to walk outside. How convenient.
Atlantis is described by the owner as Reno’s paradise. I wouldn’t be so sure of that. First of all – the only time you will ever get a room you want is 3 weeks before Christmas and maybe end of April (tax season). Those are the slow days for the resort. Located right next to Reno’s Convention Center, about 6 miles South from downtown, Atlantis has as high as $400 rates for basic rooms a night (New Years Eve, Hot August Nights, Safari Club Convention). They know how to make money. Very often – when you arrive late, and there’s no note on your reservation, you will be walked at 3 am to Motel 6, right across the street.
Poor table game area, poker room with 5 tables – unless you are a slot player you have nothing to look for in here. Italian restaurant , Montevigna, has little choice of meals on their menu. They do have good service, but terrible food. Steak house – much better, plenty of wine choices. Outstanding decorations. And there’s also Oyster Bar. Absolutely excellent restaurant for seafood lovers. The only thing – doesn’t take reservations – even for big parties, so unless you are a Black Diamond player’s card holder – don’t even think of getting there on a busy night. The Toucan Charlie’s buffet is pretty good, though I don’t go there anymore, since last Easter there was a bundle of hair, that my husband found in his potatoes. There’s not much more to say about the casino, except from – they focus on local players, since most of their profit comes from them. One more tip if you still decided to book a room here – and if you’re coming for a basketball or volleyball tournament with your teen – do not admit it. Reservations agents have strict guidelines to either sky rocket the rates or give you the room with King size bed only, as they had some bad experience with rooms being demolished by teens attending those tournaments.
The rules and regulations are quite strict where you have to manage everything in one go because you have everything available here right from judi online to poker.
Peppermill is the forever-enemy of Atlantis, as both resorts are maybe half a mile away from each other. Just a minute away, but what a difference. Romanza – Italian restaurant with “real Italian food”, called Best Italian and Best Theme Restaurant by Nevada Magazine. There’s another great dining experience in Peppermill called White Orchid. Imagine really quiet, romantic evening with dim lights, excellent service and food – it feels just like paradise. Even without delicious food they serve it’s just a restaurant out-of-this-world. It is the only restaurant in Reno given 4 stars by AAA. Coffee Shop, Biscotti’s restaurant, Snack bar – nothing extra-ordinary, but their seafood restaurant… Oh, yes. Oceano does take reservations (as a matter of fact they are recommended). You actually feel like in the ocean with light blue lights everywhere and a huge flat screen TV, showing beautiful beaches of Hawaii.
They are sold out of rooms sometimes, but since they have twice as many rooms, as Atlantis, it’s easier to make a reservation in busy months. Peppermill has One of the biggest High Limit areas for both – slots and table games. Their poker room is one of the three biggest in town. Very often they have famous comic or groups coming over – last one – Howie Mandel performed there on March 1st . With their huge 50 million dollar expansion, their very own parking garage right next to the casino and the biggest casino floor in town, you might feel like you just hit a jackpot. Service is more than excellent in Peppermill. Employees get fired if they are shopped and they didn’t say ‘thank you’ to the guest, as they were ending the transaction… Sounds maybe little crazy, but following Vegas hotels motto – it’s all about the service.
Last, but not least, there’s Grand Sierra Resort (old Hilton), where you can see the World Poker Tour events and also the best concerts – my favorite was Jack Johnson’s in August of 2005. The casino is about 5 minutes away from the airport – without necessity of going to the highway. The resort is original for great boutiques, and their very own Nikki Beach, with beach parties, and cocktails served around a swimming pool. They’ve tried to arrange something close to Mandalay Bay beach, but they did not quite succeed yet. Dolce is GSR’s steakhouse, one of the best in town, according to different reviews. Their buffet is not the most expensive in town, but definitely one of the top three. Table games and slots – nothing extra ordinary, but the casino floor was recently remodeled and looks very modern – something you might find attractive.
The above are four biggest and most interesting casinos in Reno area. There is two more big resorts, called the Nugget and also – Harrah’s. I’m not even going to bother presenting those here, as the Nugget did not change its look since 80’s and doesn’t really matter that much anymore when you talk about casino competition for guests in Reno. Harrah’s is quite popular, but the experience of dining or gambling in this particular casino is nothing worth to mention in this overview. There is also many small casinos, like the Sands, Silver Club, or Boomtown – and definitely think of staying there, if you’d like to avoid crowds, as they are not quite as popular as the big ones.
No matter which hotel you choose to come to, there is one important thing you need to do if you gamble. You absolutely have to call VIP department of the resort, you are interested in, and ask for a casino host. Many times the answering associate will ask you the reason why you’d like to speak to a host. Just tell them you are a big player at another casino, and you need to make arrangements at the hotel you want to stay now. It doesn’t really matter if you are a big player or not. You play – and that’s important. They will evaluate you once you leave, but this very first time you’re there, they might accomodate you with a casino rate or a complimentary room (maybe even food) up front. It all depends on the casino and the way you talk to a host. Don’t call yourself a high roller, or a whale, because big players don’t do it.
Casino Host more than likely will ask you to establish a credit line with a casino – which is just like the one you might have with a bank, however you need to pay it within 30 days. There’s no fees for taking cash from the line, nor the interest for the first month. If you don’t pay it within that time – collectors and very high interest charges will eat you alive.
If you don’t ask for a casino host when booking, something still can be done in the end of your trip. As long as you were using you player’s card, there is a proof how much you gambled and spent. Even if you won, but spent a lot of time at the machines, you might qualify for your room and food to be comped. It’s as easy as lightning the help light on the slot you’re playing, and asking to see a Casino Host. Not all of the casinos tell you that you have some comp money on your account. Always ask and always use your player’s card. And if you don’t qualify for anything this time – don’t worry. They will invite you again… on a cheaper rate. It’s just the way their marketing works.