Inside the Story: Whitney Peak finds success in heart of downtown Reno

Inside the Story: Whitney Peak Hotel, which towers over downtown Reno, is finding success thanks in part to bucking the trend of other downtown resorts (SBG)

If you've spent much time in downtown Reno recently, you may have noticed some renewed energy surrounding an iconic property next to the world famous arch.

The Whitney Peak Hotel is finding a lot of success in being different.

The towering building in the heart of downtown has changed face three times during the past eight years.

After decades of business, Fitzgerald's Hotel and Casino fizzled out in 2009. A quirky collection of bars called Comm Row went belly up after that, and now, after a few lean years, Whitney peak is finally getting it's foothold downtown.

“With the economy so successful right now, what they're doing with mid-town right now with millennials, we're kind of geared towards that vibe,” says General Manager Eric Olson.

It's a vibe that's like none other downtown -- earthy and eclectic. There’s a 164-foot climbing wall and a banquet room that pairs paintings of Beethoven with Easy E.

And Whitney Peak is just as ironic as it is quirky. It's the closest property to the flashing lights of Reno's famous sign, and yet there’s no gambling.

“All these companies moving to Reno, the tech companies, they want to put people in these non-gaming, non-smoking, higher-end hotels,” says Olson.

Employees from those tech companies fill up many of Whitney Peak's 310 rooms. They get up early, come downstairs, and get a custom made breakfast at Roundabout grill.

“In the mornings we have anywhere from 150-200 Panasonic and Tesla employees come in every morning for a traditional style Japanese breakfast,” says owner and chef Colin Smith.

Smith says it just feels right, even though it's so different from what Reno is used to in its downtown hotels: “It's something very unexpected.”

And it hits you as soon as you walk in. No flashing lights or jackpot sirens, and a nature-themed motif that fits their "bring the outside in" concept.

“If you go to Chicago, New York, San Francisco, you're going to see lobbies like this, it's just a big city feel in a small city,” says Olson.

Sounds fitting for that world famous sign right out the front door.

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