Guests at some of Reno's larger hotel properties have discovered that the pools aren't just for swimming. Reno hoteliers have followed Las Vegas' lead by using pool areas as entertainment and event venues. Nor are they shy about it: Racy billboards around town in summer 2010 featured buxom bikini-clad women boasting of weekly summer splash parties, and at least one property has enlisted national celebrities to promote its pool area, which also functions as a nightclub.
Grand Sierra Resort
On Friday and Saturday nights from May through September, the Grand Sierra Resort turns its large outdoor pool area into "The Beach." Glammed up with real sand, private wait staff and VIP cabanas, The Beach opens its doors at 9 p.m. to partygoers who enjoy live DJs, dancing, cocktails and laser light effects. Food and bottle service is available. The resort often showcases celebrity performances at The Beach; featured entertainers in summer 2010 included hip-hop producer Jermaine Dupri and Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee. Guests of The Beach must be at least 21. Admission in 2010 was $20.
Terrible's Sands Regency Casino Hotel
The Sands Regency, located a couple of blocks west of Virginia Street -- Reno's "main drag" -- in the heart of downtown, was perhaps the first property in the area to promote its pool as an multi-purpose venue. The Sands targets its "Rockin' Friday Night Pool Parties" toward a youthful demographic, featuring poolside entertainment by local favorites such as the rockabilly Saddle Tramps; men's and women's swimsuit contests; and, well, beer pong. A full-service bar rounds out the scene. Admission in 2010 was free to patrons 21 and over.
John Ascuaga's Nugget
The owners of John Ascuaga's Nugget installed the fifth-floor atrium pool along with its 28-story east tower back in 1984, and it still is perhaps the best-known hotel pool among locals, some of whom have been known to book hotel rooms just to use it. Bathers enjoy the sounds of cascading water and tropical decor with large flowering trees. Individual jetted spas surround the pool, and a vast south-facing window wall affords views of the Sierra Nevada mountains. Weddings, cocktail parties and corporate events sometimes spill over into the pool area from an adjacent banquet room called the Poolside Terrace. The pool area itself opens onto an outdoor sundeck and is conveniently located by the hotel's salon and spa.
Peppermill Hotel Casino
The uber-glitzy Peppermill, located along the southern Virginia Street corridor near the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, installed two large outdoor pools as part of a $400 million makeover completed in 2008. Surrounded by Tuscan-style tile-roofed architecture complete with columns and frescoes, the pools offer bathers a babbling waterfall, fountains, spas and a vast multilevel sundeck complete with private cabanas. Cocktail service is de rigueur, and the lower deck pool is heated year-round. Mosaic tile designs along the pool's bottoms add a visual finishing touch.