Reno, Nev.: View from the Atlantis Casino

Road Journals Blog—On the 15th floor of my room at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada, I woke to an underwhelming panoramic view. Reno spreads from its high-rise commercial core across a flatland called the Truckee Meadows. Once ranchlands and marshes, the meadows are now a grid of pavement, mini-malls, and blocks of 1920s bungalows and 1970s tract homes.

Reno from a hotel room. | Bryce Edwards/Flickr

In the wintertime, which is when I visited, this high perspective, looking down on the colorless blocks and city sidewalks lined with scrawny bare tree trunks and limbs clawing upward toward the gray clouds wadded in the sky, is not Reno’s best.

Summer is different. That’s when deciduous trees still wear their leaves, and the spare hillsides display the sweet-smelling new growth of sage.

As I stood at the Atlantis window in my slippers, something glorious happened. A bolt of light angled through the clouds. It blasted such a white brightness onto the downtown casino towers that, blurred for a moment, they looked just like old bones upturned and planted in the middle of the city. The spooky scene put a buzz into me. From my high perch I suddenly wanted to hang-glide into the city center, or take a zip-line ride to the sunny Italian-themed Peppermill Casino down the street.

Meanwhile, 15 floors below, the casino clanged and beeped away, suffused in the fantastic aquatic glow created by blue and green lights. I passed rows of slot-machine hopefuls and walked outside at 9:15 a.m. to find the casino parking lot full.

I knew the dull sky would not affect my experience in Reno, as my day was planned around art and culture. I’d spend a few hours at the Nevada Museum of Art looking at favorite pieces by the likes of Danae Anderson and Phyllis Shafer in the museum’s permanent collection, then browsing a provocative exhibit of images made by the Australian photographer John Reid, who spent 16 years documenting a mysterious hominoid creature he called “Fishman” in a cave high in the mountains of New South Wales.

Later at Stremmel Gallery I’d see an exhibit of abstract landscapes, then stroll the sprawling antique shops on South Virginia Street. Food adventures would fuel all of this. I’d have a ranch-style breakfast at Peg’s Glorified Ham N Eggs, and a sophisticated lamb-shoulder lunch at the new Krumblz European pastry shop and deli.

Anticipating this sensual immersion, my pulse raced.

This blog post was first published in November 2011. Some facts may have aged gracelessly. Please call ahead to verify information.


It's true, the Atlantis view is much more interesting than the scene of this picture, especially after a dusting of snow, which we're getting right now in the mountains around Lake Tahoe nearby, and especially when the silvery Nevada light slashes through it, as I've described in the post. At night the glittery lights are fantastic. There's something kind of erie about the hint of an interior depicted in the photo above. In contrast, the Atlantis room I stayed in was very glam and state-of-the-art. It is difficult to find a picture that perfectly illustrates an unusual blog post.

You're right. It's a photo from Flickr of a winter scene looking on Reno from a hotel. I see on your Atlantis Web site that there are some fabulous views when the weather is good; however, all of them seem to be taken in non-winter months. If you have any winter shots of views from the Atlantis, I'd be happy to add them as a secondary photo.

This view is not from the Atlantis...this is smack in the middle of downtown Reno. Atlantis is right next to the convention center (a single story building) and a shopping mall. The views from the Atlantis towers are much more appetizing...on the south side you see the mountains...on the north you see the city lights and landscape.

Don't be fooled by the headline and this photo, they do not go together.