Whitney Peak Hotel
Reno’s latest property scales new heights in lodging, dining, and adventure.
BY ERIC CACHINERO | January/February 2015
Smoke-filled casino floors; been there. The familiar chiming of slot machines; done that. Downtown Reno is ready for new life. The Biggest Little City needs a breath of fresh air, and Whitney Peak Hotel is answering that call.
As Reno’s only luxury, boutique, non-smoking, non-gaming hotel, Whitney Peak caters to those with active lifestyles searching for exceptional food, fun, and fervor. The hotel aims to “bring the outside in,” and its earthy undertones accomplish just that. Each of the 157 guest rooms incorporates elements of the Reno-Tahoe area’s outdoors, with meticulous attention in the details. The organic feel is accentuated by Heritage, BaseCamp, and Cargo, the hotel’s restaurant, climbing walls, and live concert venue, respectively. With all the additions to downtown Reno, it’s no wonder that Whitney Peak is creating such a buzz.
The natural beauty of the Reno-Tahoe area is indisputable, and the guest rooms at Whitney Peak capture this beauty elegantly. With the Sierra Nevada Mountains in mind, the flats incorporate warm, golden hues and natural wood. The windows provide panoramic views of the surrounding areas, while the walls are adorned with local photography. Guest rooms are available with either two double queen beds or one king-sized bed, and each comes with a HD flat-screen television, sitting area and working desk, complimentary Wi-Fi, in-room safe, and more.
The suites—located on the 16th floor—offer a bit more luxury for adventure seekers. At more than 600 square feet, these spacious and comfortable rooms offer a separated living room and bedroom. In addition to the aforementioned guest room amenities, suites include larger televisions, a parlor, and in-room bar.
For those seeking a bit more privacy and comfort, there is also a concierge level and lounge. Whether using it for business or pleasure, the space offers guests complimentary breakfast, light snacks, evening hors d’oeuvres, and libations.
Eric’s Advice: Take some time to relax in the seats positioned next to the windows. The space provides excellent views of the Reno area, both day and night. Also, treat yourself to a cup of coffee or tea made by the in-room Keurig brewing systems. Lastly, see if you can recognize where in Reno the photos on the walls were taken.
Anyone who’s tried renowned chef Mark Estee’s cooking knows why it has become so successful in Reno—it’s darn delicious. Estee’s fresh and often bold tastes meld well at Whitney Peak’s Heritage restaurant. Heritage features a seasonal, Northern Nevada-influenced menu that changes daily, much of which is cooked using a custom-made, wood-fired grill and rotisserie. The menu highlights ingredients provided by local ranches and farms.
Heritage is open daily for breakfast, brunch, lunch, dinner, and dessert. While the breakfast menu sticks to more conventional morning food—omelets, espresso, etc.—the lunch and dinner menus are a bit more adventurous. Hush puppies, Basque braised beef tongue, pan-seared scallops, and a large selection of colorful salads all make for a tasty midday nosh. The dinner menu boasts a large selection of appetizers and entrées, including ceviche; roasted bone marrow; pear salad; and lamb, chicken, and beef prepared in a number of different ways.
And let’s not forget the bar. Both lunch and dinner have their own custom drink menu, offering a generous variety of local and regional drafts, imported beers, and specialty cocktails.
Eric’s Advice: While certainly not for the timid pallet, the roasted bone marrow acts as a flavorful and oily spread for the accompanying crostini. Pair it with the Whitney’s Old Fashioned—a cocktail classic garnished with burnt orange peel and brandied cherry. For an entrée, the pan-seared scallops are savory and cooked to perfection. And for dessert, the S’mores at the Arch arrive with their own flame, allowing diners to roast marshmallows tableside.
After—or more practically before—you’ve had your fill at Heritage, the hotel’s climbing wall and bouldering park need to be conquered. BaseCamp—Whitney Peak’s world-class climbing facility—is home to the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall, as well as a 7,000-square foot indoor bouldering park. The climbing wall—measuring in at 164 feet tall—scales the outside of the building, giving those brave enough to conquer it a rush, and an occasional gasp to the onlookers gazing up at those crazy enough to climb.
In addition to the climbing wall and bouldering park, BaseCamp also features a world championship climbing area, the only official 15-meter speed wall in the U.S., and 17 separate belay stations. Those who wish to exercise but not necessarily climb can take advantage of the comprehensive fitness center. Yogis can get their fix, too, in yoga classes that are available both to hotel guests and the public.
Eric’s Advice: The indoor bouldering park is exciting, but take some time to check out the outdoor climbing walls. There are routes of varying difficulty that appeal to beginners and experts. The 164-foot tall climbing wall is serious business, but can be conquered by amateurs, as exhibited by the 13-minute ascent by Editor Megg Mueller’s boyfriend Ross Loudon during our stay.
If the night winds down and you’re still seeking adventure, head over to Cargo to have your face melted by one of the concert venue’s state-of-the-art audio, video, and lighting productions. The 1,000-person capacity venue showcases a diverse assortment of different musical genres, including local talent and big-name acts. The room is equipped with a full-service bar featuring domestic and craft beers, as well as locally inspired cocktails. The space is also available to host private events, corporate meetings, weddings, and more.
Eric’s Advice: The concert venue provides great seating and standing room, so find a place that you feel comfortable and take note of the room’s acoustics. The bar is positioned with a great view of the stage, so don’t worry about missing any of the action while grabbing a drink. Also, check out the lighting, as it adds a great deal to the ambiance.
Not many Reno hotels cater equally to the local and the visitor, but the Whitney Peak is not like other Reno hotels. Its hospitality secures its position to provide equally to the hour-long or week-long visit, its ambiance complements the new face Reno is moving toward, and its features set it apart as a fresh spin on a city that always has an eye out for the next big thing.