Jody Miller hits the trail for a reinvented Reno that exceeds expectations and surprises with sophisticated elements
photographed by the author and Elyse Glickman
Jody Miller is a correspondent for Lucire. Elyse Glickman is US west coast editor of Lucire.
Known for decades as the ‘Biggest Little City in the World’, Reno, Nevada has not always received its due respect. Situated in the high desert at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountain range (just under 40 miles from Lake Tahoe), it is anything but a casino-ridden Vegas cousin, a dusty western outpost, or a pit-stop on the way to ski country. In fact, with a little help from US carrier JetBlue Airways’ new daily service from the convenient, uncrowded Long Beach Airport, Reno may soon be more aptly dubbed, ‘The Coolest Little City in the World’.
And by cool, we don’t mean cold. Yes, it snows in winter, but Reno is metaphorically hot, and rapidly becoming a favourite destination for the arts, dining, craft bars, and an abundance of quirky and original activities. There are wine walks, a beer crawl, the Great Reno Balloon Race, a championship air race, the Reno Tahoe Music Festival, Street Vibrations, a rib cook off, Rockabilly Riot, and the list just goes on. Maybe you would like to float down the Truckee River in an inner tube. Then there is Burning Man.
What may surprise even the most experienced travellers is that Reno is an outstanding spa destination. With two of its AAA Four Diamond hotel properties boasting luxurious, expansive, and award-winning spas, Reno is an ideal getaway for romantic rendezvous or a weekend with the girls. The Spa Atlantis at the Atlantis Resort & Casino is the only spa in northern Nevada to receive the esteemed Forbes Travel Guide four-star designation. Picking up where the hotel’s lush Asian décor leaves off, the spa is 30,000 ft² of vibrant tropical splendour, cascading waters, and sublime calm. The focus is on the guest’s holistic wellness of mind, body, and spirit, encapsulated into 15 tranquil treatment rooms, a Moroccan-style Laconiun Relaxation Lounge to stimulate circulation and purification, a celestial Brine Inhalation Light Therapy Lounge for multiple physiological and psychological benefits, as well as women’s and men’s locker areas with a herbal steam and cedarwood sauna, a stocked vanity area and showers, plus a complete hair and nail salon.
A world of healing, and rejuvenation await with the myriad of global-inspired treatments, such as the Lomi Lomi Hawai‘ian massage and an ancient Hanakasumi Bod Ritual. A Hammam Wet Table, elaborate couple suites, and a Weightless Flotation Soft Pack are among the signature treatments. Perhaps the most decadent spa experience is the exotic Rasul Ceremonial Chamber. An ancient Arabian cleansing ritual, couples of all persuasions enter the private, dual-throne Moroccan tiled temple for a purifying and sensory awakening ritual. Extend the sensual journey with a side-by-side aromatherapy massage.
After you’re blissed out, head out to the Aqua Spa Lounge, a peaceful solarium where cascading waterfalls and plunge pools complement their exclusive Experiential Shower Experience. Refresh with a glass of infused water and cold towels while reclining on a plus chaise lounge. The spa also features a direct entrance to the state-of-the-art cardio fitness centre, the outdoor pool, and the indoor pool and jet spa with an adjacent pool bar serving snacks and beverages. Covered by a spectacular glass dome atrium, you will find relief from blazing summer heat or gaze as the snow falling from above in winter.
All roads lead to Rome at the expansive, tri-level Spa Toscana at the Peppermill Resort & Casino. The space pays homage to the glorious bathing rituals of ancient Romans, so it is no surprise that this magnificent 33,000 ft² spa is the recipient of the Spafinder Wellness Readers’ Choice Award, in addition to several notable recognitions. A true sanctuary of pampering indulgence, the spa features 24 opulent treatment rooms with its signature Acoustic Resonance Therapy for an ultimate relaxation experience. Massage, facial, and body therapies draw inspiration from modern techniques and ancient traditions. This includes the only Vichy shower in the region, as well as reiki, reflexology, spray-tanning, bridal make-up, and a full-service hair and nail salon. Men’s and ladies’ ritual areas feature plunge pools, a herbal steam room, cedar wood sauna, and cascading showers. The woman’s locker room includes a very spacious vanity room with marble vanity tables, plush stools, and everything you need to prepare for a night out or event.
The Caldarium is the heart and soul of Spa Toscana. It’s a co-ed space accented by Romanesque pillars and statures, while the moderate temperature warm and cold plunge pools are surrounded by comfy chaise lounge chairs. French doors lead out to additional seating on a veranda overlooking the hotel pool. There are always infused water, tea, nuts, and dried fruits, or you can order from the spa menu. It’s a lively and social place, so if you crave some quiet, slip into the Secret Garden for quiet solace.
So what do you do with a travel companion who prefers not to indulge in a spa day? Both properties are comprehensive resorts with celebrity shows, nearby golf, tennis, lounges with live music, and of course, ample gaming. You will also find on-trend restaurants with award-winning cuisine, and completely renovated buffets that will surprise you with their varied and chef-driven cuisine.
As much as we love the hotels, there is much to discover in Reno when it comes to dining, artisan cocktails, and shopping. The scenic Riverwalk District, lining the Truckee River, makes up the city’s vibrant downtown. It is home to many of Reno’s festivals and a foodie haven bustling with eclectic and innovative cuisine, artisanal pubs and breweries, and an Artown with lofts and galleries, parks, and great people watching. And be sure to visit the historic US post office, where you will find a secret staircase to the Basement, a totally original urban space of small business and communal seating for work, socializing, or sitting solo with a fresh pressed juice, coffee, or organic greens. Continuing with the artsy and cool vibe, situated along Virginia Avenue, is the inventive, often edgy corridor known as Midtown. This burgeoning district of converted brick, industrial and colourful craftsman structures is where creative souls and indie businesses thrive, with restaurants, bakeries, atmospheric bars, apothecaries, hippie-chic fashion, yoga studios and more.
Like everything in Reno, it’s a labour of love for the free-spirited and young at heart. •
Elyse Glickman’s picks
US west coast editor Elyse Glickman’s recommendations for Reno at its best.
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