Bocce energizes rebranded downtown Reno hotel
When the owners of the soon-to-be rebranded non-gaming Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel were looking for entertainment options to incorporate into the property, many concepts were tossed thrown into the hat.
At one point they wanted to make it into a meeting space, or even a theater.
The group took a trip down to the Silicon Valley searching for ideas a couple years ago and came across a few venues that catered to bocce, a game that originated and has become popular in Europe. The game, they found, was gaining a loyal following in this region.
Impressed with the concept, the owners figured it had some real possibilities for the Truckee Meadows, laying the foundation for its own facility, Bundox Bocce.
“We threw a lot of ideas out there,” said Tristan Wood, director of operations for the Renaissance Reno. “Really what it came down to was the best idea wins. Once Bocce was talked about, it was on.”
Bundox Bocce is situated in a 22,000-square-foot space in the former Siena Hotel that’s being renovated and rebranded as the Renaissance. The facility features seven indoor bocce courts, two regulation length outdoor bocce courts, nine skee-ball machines, and two jumbotron-like TV screens along with a full bar and private party rooms.
The venue also was designed to be versatile, where bocce courts can be easily converted to host other special events.
“We really want bocce to be at the forefront, but there will be times when there’s big special events here. They can use this venue for other events,” Wood said.
Bundox Bocce hosted a special event of its own on Feb. 25 giving the general public a sneak peak of the venue. The event drew about 150 people and they were treated to a bocce tournament, live DJ, drink specials and free food samples.
The hotel is officially converting to the Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel on April 5. Bundox is currently open for private and special events and will be open to the public come May.
Wood mentioned another public special event is under consideration, possibly in March.
Construction of the outdoor patio area has yet to be completed, but should be ready for its opening in May. Miles Construction, based outside of Carson City, is serving as general contractor for the entire hotel renovation.
One thing Wood said the staff took note of at the special event last week was managing court usage to make sure all its patrons have an opportunity to participate. It’s something they will have to monitor going forward.
“Two teams of four people can play on a court at one time. That is a total of 56 bocce players at once. Court rentals will be in 90-minute increments. Once we get open we will figure out how to make things fluid, that way everyone who wants a court will have ample time to play.”
Bundox is the first indoor bocce facility in Reno. Wood explained the game has real potential for growth in the Truckee Meadows because it can appeal to a variety of people.
“There’s a big demographic from children to senior citizens and everyone in between that we’re trying to appeal to,” Wood said. “The thing about bocce ball is that it’s a sport anyone can play.”
The Renaissance has partnered with Foundry, local marketing agency to help promote Bundox. Its website is still under construction but will provide features such as the history of bocce ball, rules on how to play the game and the ability to book an event and or court as well as purchase retail items.
Bundox will also employ bocce ambassadors to help teach guests how to play the game while they’re inside the venue.
Wood said when the facility opens its door to the public it will be open Thursday through Sunday, at least initially. He added, with plenty of other activities going on in the hotel, it made sense to limit the number of days it was open.
The hotel has begun hiring for positions on the property, including Bundox Bocce.
Heather Ashbridge, who started with Nevada State Development Corporation in 2008, previously served in several roles with the organization, including assistant vice president and loan officer. She is based in NSDC’s Reno office.