Photo Tour of Whitney Peak Hotel

by Mike Van Houten / May 12, 2014

Check out my photo gallery below of the almost-complete Whitney Peak Hotel. I think the third time could be the charm for this property...or should I say 'lucky charm,' as a homage to its past.

Gone is the cavernous first-level you might remember from CommRow. The first level has now been truly walled off to feature a dedicated restaurant space, a dedicated entertainment venue, and the hotel front desk lobby. These three areas have their own distinct decor and look and feel, and feels like a hotel you'd find in downtown Los Angeles or San Francisco. Though both Heritage Restaurant and Cargo feature ductwork and open ceilings, they are each presented in a much different fashion. The hotel lobby has a closed-in ceiling, though still tall, it breaks up the monotony of the first level you might remember from CommRow. I'm not trying to bash on the previous concept when it was CommRow, but the most common complaint about it on this site was that the first floor felt confusing and unfinished.

Cargo had this very cool blue-ish, purple-ish vibe going on with heavy industrial undertones, Heritage is the exact opposite..a woodscape of patterns and brown palettes, with a kitchen completely open visually on three sides so you can watch the chefs at work. Heritage has an awesome culinary team in place headed by Campo creator and Chef Mark Estee. You can read about Heritage's culinary offerings here, as Jonathan Wright at RGJ goes into great detail. The hotel lobby is very minimalist, while still managing to bring outdoor elements in. I dig it.

Basecamp has a new climbing wall in addition to the two large bouldering surfaces, and a new kid's climbing area that is completely remodeled and relocated. Gone is the V14 bar and disco lights, and anything else that might have annoyed climbers in the past. V14 has been replaced with a full-on fitness facility for the hotel, combining all fitness activities on one level.

The rooms carry heavy outdoor elements without looking too cabin-like, and will have the usual mix of kings, queens, double queens, etc. The 15th and 16th floors will feature suites, and large private concierge lounges on those two floors. The entire hotel will be non-smoking.

After two failures (three if you count Fitzgerald's) people have the right to be skeptical. It was very obvious to me though after touring Whitney Peak, that even with some construction left to do, this venue will provide an entirely new experience for tourists coming here for who want something different than the old downtown offered, and for locals who now have two incredible concert venues on one block that have nothing to do with casinos. It makes me eager to see what Siegel has in store for the Virginian.






Post your comments
  • May 13, 2014 - 8:15:47 AM

    Amazing photos and I'm now genuinely excited about their opening. Not to overuse an overused term but this very well could be a Reno hospitality "game changer."

  • May 13, 2014 - 8:22:05 AM

    Smart move in the decoration of Heritage. Restaurant equipment is easy to resell or reuse in another Estee venture, and you can just throw out all that cheap-ass pine paneling dyed black for the bar and burned (??) for the private enclave area. Yuck. And, heck, why not keep flogging the climbing aspect since the walls and boulders are mostly already there. So far they've been less than unpopular but maybe with a new restaurant and club they'll pull in more business now. Hotel rooms still have low ceilings (of course) and cheap, oversaturated giclee photo prints of Reno and funky lamps/couches. I'm sure you could find a hotel like this in Los Angeles or San Francisco, but it'd be considered even more of a joke there. This looks more like a third swing and a whiff.

  • May 13, 2014 - 9:24:16 AM

    I guess Sara Lee and I see different things. haha!

  • May 13, 2014 - 11:41:26 AM

    Sara Lee, your analyses makes absolutely no sense at all, you're naive to the fact that this business model has actually been thoroughly thought out and not just scrambled together like the previous model. Yes, I proudly assert the fact that I work there and stand behind it, it is a risk but a calculated one that I believe will work in this community and draw in more people. Whitney Peak will be the catalyst for future developments ahead (Virginian) so while everyone has a right to be opinionated, maybe come in and experience it before you judge so hard.

  • May 13, 2014 - 12:16:45 PM

    I apologize for making comments based upon the photographs of your property. Good luck.

  • May 13, 2014 - 3:22:46 PM

    The climbing gym was the only venue in the previous incarnations that actually made worthwhile revenue. It was the best thing that they had in there.

  • May 14, 2014 - 10:13:02 AM

    Nice photo spread, Mike, thank you for sharing this with your readers. The hotel lobby, music venue and restaurant seem attractive to me, probably a good fit for the demographics and potential market to be reached. After all, you cannot try to install a Perino's-type high end restaurant in an area which won't support it. Sara, the skeleton of the building provides limitations on what can be done with the common areas and guest rooms when remodeling an older hotel. You pretty much have to work with guest room sizes and ceiling heights, because if you totally gut the building, your costs of renovation and new HVAC ducting will make the project unworkable. I have represented restaurant and hotel operators for decades. I believe this model can work in Reno, IF marketed properly: Guests will need to be those visitors who prefer to avoid a casino environment, so attracting collegiate teams playing at U of N would be a start, along with special interest groups such as clergy or judicial officers visiting for seminars. (Yes, there are ministerial groups and judicial officers who attend continuing education programs in the Reno ). Maybe a linkage with the new Siri's Casino, which I believe does not have its own hotel, could be negotiated to create some players' club credits toward room rental reductions at the hotel, also. At least some cross-marketing could be explored. Hopefully the music venue won't be stuck on hip hop, loud D.J. shows, stadium rock and heavy metal type acts. Special interest groups like swing music fans, special music interest followers, such as R & B, some C & W groups, will come to hear their favorites perform and they will rent the rooms. The 20-somethings who go to a hard rock concert or a D.J. party won't rent rooms, they just want to dance and meet each other, but they will buy drinks and pay a night club entrance fee. This project as I see it needs special event development and planning, iand it could then succeed. I don't think that the rock climbers are going to be hotel guests in any significant number, though, because the majority of those folks tend to be campground users or camper truck people, or they might stay in budget properties. I don't foresee this hotel as aiming to be a budget lodging property, so in my opinion, the bouldering customers are not likely a good foundation for room rentals -- but each facet nonetheless can succeed independently. These are just my opinions, I'm sure the management has done its feasibility studies for the property. I wish them good luck.

  • May 20, 2014 - 10:50:39 AM

    This has complete failure written all over it. Oh and the rooms? Absolutely horrific.

  • May 20, 2014 - 11:07:24 AM

    Have you actually been there James? Or are you basing your judgement purely on my photos which show incomplete rooms and property since it was still under construction when I dropped by for these photos?