WHITNEY PEAK: ONE YEAR LATER
it has been one year since the boutique-style, non-smoking and non-gaming Whitney Peak Hotel opened in the heart of downtown next to the iconic Reno Arch.
Its anniversary marks the completion of new guest rooms on the top six floors of the building. This expansion doubles the number of rooms offered from 157 to 310.
The hotel also expanded its Concierge Lounge, which is available to guests who stay on the 15th and 16th floors.
Originally built as Fitzgerald’s Hotel & Casino (whose business shuttered in 2008), the behemoth building reportedly was renovated at a cost of $10 million.
According to Whitney Peak’s Managing Director Niki Gross, the owners waited before opening the hotel to full capacity because they wanted to test how this new business concept would be received in the Reno market.
“It has been our goal from day one to eschew the status quo,” Gross said. “We wanted to bring something completely new and unique to Reno, and provide an unparalleled guest experience that celebrates the northern Nevada region. Based on the feedback from out guests and patrons, we have succeeded.”
The hotel currently has more than 160 employees and served 72,308 guests in the past year.
With the positive response that they saw over the first year, they decided to go ahead with the expansion. The hotel has set out to provide a unique experience that targets outdoors-oriented Millenials while also appealing to older customers.
Part of the attraction of the hotel is its 164-foot rock-climbing wall on the Virginia Street side of the building. It is the world’s tallest artificial climbing wall. It is a popular attraction for guests, the public and even local businesses.
“The climbing wall is attractive to corporate clients for team-building exercises,” Gross said.
Whitney Peak houses Basecamp, a 7,000-square-foot indoor bouldering park in addition to the outdoor climbing walls.
Basecamp is open daily and offers yoga, aerial silks and boot camp classes for both hotel guests and the public. Basecamp offers day passes and memberships for the community. They currently have 350 members.
“Its not your typical hotel gym,” Gross said.
Over the past year, the hotel has also established a live concert venue by bringing 200 musicians and bands to their Cargo Concert Hall.
Whitney Peak has partnered with KNPB to produce Cargo Live at Whitney Peak Hotel, a 13-series Austin City Limits-style television show that highlights up-and-coming musicians and bands. The series started April 4.
“The series has been airing on Saturday nights at 10:30 p.m., with shows accessible on the KNPB website as well,” Karen Berlin Cooperstein, senior vice president of Cooksey Strategic Communication, a Texas-based public relations firm hired by Whitney Peak, said. “We have been very pleased with the results of our first season’s production quality, and we hope that we are able to reach even more markets outside of Reno as the series develops.”
The hotel will also provide a music venue called Live from the Arch this fall.
The outdoor concert series will be the first fenced and ticketed outdoor concert in the ReTRAC lid Plaza next to the Reno Arch.
“Reno is really seeing a renaissance of sorts, and Whitney Peak Hotel is an important part of that movement,” said Eli Gross, brand manger for the hotel in a press release. “With the University of Nevada, Reno here and companies like Tesla moving into the community, there is incredible energy and opportunities to leverage that and will change the way that people look at our city. We are thrilled to be part of ‘The New Reno.’”
Cargo, Basecamp and the non-casino hotel are aspects that make the business something that is rare the northern Nevada.
“If the Whitney Peak was located in a place like San Francisco then it would not be special,” Gross said. “But since it is located in Reno” and it is so different from other hotels and casinos in the area, it is unique.
“It really exciting to bring this product to Reno,” Whitney Peak’s Director of Sales Andrew Ladd said.
Ladd started working for Whitney Peak two months after the grand opening.
When asked what drew him to work for the hotel, Ladd said, “The start-up feel. It was like a blank canvas.
“It is a professional’s dream job to walk in and start something new. To me it was a no brainer.”
And the hotel is still adding new facilities. Construction for a 12,000-square-foot meeting space and a ballroom is underway. Completion date for the meeting space is pending.
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