Atlantis Casino Resort Spa is a gem in the desert. Located in Reno, Nevada, it’s an oasis. Whether for a weekend getaway and an overnight road trip stay, it’s where you get the best of Vegas without having to go to Vegas.
We visited Atlantis for a couples getaway. I had won a gift certificate for a two-night stay at a fundraiser I had attended and I was stoked – not only did I get to support a great cause, but, I got to spend a weekend with my man at one of the best casino resorts in the country.
Oh, and the spa, and the happy hour, and the steakhouse…and the affordable table limits, yeah… let’s go to Atlantis.
(By the way, I decided to use many of the photos that Atlantis has available for media folks, as they were prettier than my own.)
Atlantis is located in Reno, Nevada, approximately an 8 minute drive from the Reno-Tahoe International Airport and a 13 minute drive from the Reno Amtrak Station. Reno’s motto is “The Biggest Little City in the World.” It’s also the second largest city in Nevada, behind Las Vegas.
Reno is known for casinos, a thriving art scene and as serving as a pit stop before and after the Burning Man festival. It’s nestled within the Sierra Nevada mountain range and provides easy access to various outdoor activities, including Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in the USA.
Atlantis is located on the edge of town, however, it’s a brief drive from the heart of downtown Reno which thrives with casinos, nightclubs and a beautiful river-walk.
Atlantis is a family affair.
The story of Atlantis started in 1972, when David Farahi and his brother-in-law, Isaac Poura, purchased a motel called the Golden Door Motel on the edge of Reno. The hotel was pretty well worn and was located far away from hot and happenin’ downtown Reno where the tourists visited the casinos. The Golden Door Motel sat on 4-acres of property and was located near the convention center.
Farahi’s three sons, John, Ben and Bob, would visit from California during the weekends and holidays to help operate the motel. Eventually, all three sons would work at the motel full-time after graduating college. In 1973, Farahi bought out Poura’s portion of ownership and in 1976, he transferred ownership to his three sons and daughter, Jila.
In 1983, the hotel joined the Travelodge franchise and in 1991 it became the Clarion Hotel Casino. The company went public in 1993 and that funded the building of a new hotel tower on property. In 1996, it was renamed the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.
The Farahi brothers continue to operate the hotel under the guise of Monarch Casino & Resort. They also own the Monarch Casino Black Hawk in Black Hawk, Colorado.
After a lovely 3 hour drive from Sonoma, California, we pulled up to the bustling entrance of Atlantis. Guests with cars have two options: free valet parking or park your own car in the vast parking lot. We opted for valet.
We said farewell to the car and made our way into the lobby, which is located right next to the casino floor. Like upon entry to many casinos, we anticipated either being covered in a blanket of cigarette smoke or to be surrounded by a waft of baby powder-perfume used to cover up cigarette smoke.
This was not the case – during the entire duration of our stay we were delighted at how few run-ins we had with cigarette smoke. I was even happier when I got home and realized my laundry smelled fine, and not like I was in a smokey club until 2 AM.
A long line formed during check-in. A staff member came by with bottles of water for guests waiting in line – it was much appreciated.
The line moved fairly fast and for impatient folks, there is plenty to look at – from slot machines with all the bells and whistles to statues of fanciful animals like unicorns and seahorses.
My gift certificate had provided us a two night stay in a Luxury Tower Room, a mid-level priced room. During our visit, there was a special that provided free upgrade to the Concierge Tower – score!
We were provided a map of the property and made our way to the exclusive Concierge Tower elevators.
Atlantis has a wide variety of rooms to match any price point. We’re glad we got an upgrade – the views of the mountains were nice, and as travel geeks we also had a view of the airport!
Our king Concierge Tower room was on the 22nd floor and was 450 square foot. It was a perfect size for a couple or a solo traveler and very quiet. The decor is modern and simple, with warm Fall colors – a nice way to relax the eyes after the stimulating casino.
WIFI is free for hotel guests and the room includes a desk and plenty of electrical plugs for charging phones and laptops. A slightly outdated iHome dock serves as the alarm clock (I couldn’t plug our iPhone 6 into it to charge), there is a 42′ flat screen television, and a fully stocked mini-bar (with room for storing your own snacks and drinks) in each room.
Marble, marble, marble is the theme of the bathroom. Ample amenities, including a digital scale and free bottled water is replenished daily. There areJune Jacobs bath products for folks like me who are too lazy to bring our own shampoo. They also use these products at Spa Atlantis.
And yes, there is a TV. Nothing like watching Animal Planet when you’re taking a bath.
Another perk to our room – the closet space. This is awesome because (1) if you overpack you’ll love it; (2) if you’re traveling as a couple or two friends, you each get your own closet; and (3) if you are staying at the Atlantis the long-term, you have plenty of storage space.
The closet on the left is in the entryway and the closet on the right is next to the bed and includes cozy robes, slippers, a digital safe, laundry bags, and drawers.
The Concierge Tower rooms have perks, including a personal butler which we failed to use.
For us, the 25th floor Concierge Lounge was awesome. It’s accessible only by Concierge Tower keyholders and offers free breakfast in the morning, desserts and fruit in the afternoon, and a happy hour with hors d’oeurves in the early evening.
We headed up after settling into our room and Jeff enjoyed an extremely delicious, strawberry mojito, and I enjoyed Chandon bubbles.
The room includes daily newspapers, a free computer with internet access, TVs playing whatever sportsball game is on at the time, killer views, and cozy lounge seating. It’s pretty awesome.
First things first: yes, there is a casino. However, Atlantis has quite possibly one of the best spas I have ever been to in my life. Seriously.
I visited Spa Atlantis on my solo visit to Atlantis a year ago. I had a mani/pedi because I couldn’t get a last minute massage reservation (the Spa books up fast, so make a reservation in advance!). Luckily, the mani/pedi scored me all day access to the many spa amenities.
We lounged for hours in the Aqua Lounge, which has three different plunge pools (two hot, one cold), waterfalls and lounge chairs. It’s enclosed and adult only – accessible only to spa guests. Spa water (aka water with fruit in it to flavor it) and bottled water is ample. Bring a book or your iPad and relax the day away.
After our Swedish massages, we were deposited at the Brine Room. Last time I visited Atlantis, I indulged a little too much in the casino the night before my spa treatment. I laughed when I saw the Brine Room – what is this new age hippie stuff? A giant stone of salt brine with ever-changing soothing lights and warm cozy blankets to make me fall asleep?
Well, it worked. Supposedly, the magical brine air makes it easier for your body to retain water and replenish electrolytes. So, chugging all that spa water and taking a nap in the Brine Room works. Like magic.
There are also other rooms to explore, including his and her changing rooms with every amenity you need in a spa – from a tea bar to saunas, hair dryers and showers. The spa also has has a Laconium Relaxation Lounge, that is a mellower version of a steam room.
They also have a Rasul Ceremonial Chamber, which is a type of treatment which has been described as “an ancient treatment used by sultans in their harems.” 😉
After you recover from too many strawberry mojitos from the Concierge Lounge, you can head to the pool. Indoor or outdoor, take your choice. The pools are available for all resort guests.
We chilled at the indoor pool and I consumed an extremely delicious, boozy, margarita, while Jeff enjoyed a booze-free smoothie.
Atlantis has a colorful casino with something for everyone.
I’m a craps player and Jeff is a Texas Hold’em poker player. The starting table bets at Atlantis are reasonable and way cheaper than Vegas. For a craps player, you’ll find starting bets as low as $3 during the day and as high as $5 at night. A lot of locals play at Atlantis, because of the low table starts and the service is exceptional (and don’t forget the free drinks!).
There are also a ton of slot machines, including a smoke free slot area. My favorite is the Dolly Parton machine. Even if you lose, at least you can select what songs she sings (“Jolene” being a favorite) while you say goodbye to your money.
The first thing we did before playing was get a Club Paradise card. The sign up is fast and you get discounts at the restaurants and when you gamble, you earn points to spend at the restaurants like cash. You’ll also get special resort rates when you visit next time.
When I go to a casino, I always bring a set amount I can lose. This time, it was a mere $100. I was lucky and won $175 at the craps tables. Jeff was a $60 winner at a slot machine, but didn’t fare to well against the local poker players. We had a blast in the casino nonetheless.
Atlantis also has an arcade room for kids (or those who like to gamble their money away at the crane game).
Food and drink
Like any great casino resort, Atlantis has a bunch of restaurants to chose from. There are a ton of bars on property, mainly based in the casino or located at the restaurants.
We ate at the splurgey Atlantis Steakhouse on our first night, where we indulged on juicy steaks and excessively delicious desserts. The service is top notch, the decor is some of the most beautiful I have seen in a restaurant – this is what you expect to find in Vegas or New York.
Read more about my visit to Atlantis Steakhouse here. It was fabulous.
Bistro Napa has one of the best happy hours on the planet. It’s so popular that people line up outside the door before the restaurant opens.
From 4-6 pm, everyday, all of their small plates are half off (17 dishes, including fresh oysters) and all their cocktails (15 to chose from), beers, spirits and wines (with over 25 wines by the glass) are half off. It’s amazing and the food is great, too. We went twice during our stay. Did I mention half off?
Atlantis recently closed down their buffet for a multi-million dollar renovation. It was led by Atlantis Chef de Cuisine Clayton Slieff, who also teaches at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, California.
I’m not a buffet person, but, we met Chef Clayton at the Atlantis Steakhouse he persuaded us to give it a go.
It’s impressive. We had breakfast ($13.99 with our Club Paradise cards), which featured everything from bacon and eggs, fresh made pancakes and omelettes to order, a fruit and salad bar, and dessert if you have a sweet tooth. I even had chilaquiles!
The buffet areas have different themes, and includes a Mongolian BBQ, a pho station, Mexican food and a remarkable charcuterie. They also have special weekly themed dinners, including Prime Rib nights and seafood Fridays, complete with freshly flown in Maine lobster.
It was insane, and worth the price. Just remember: waste not, want not.
The property also includes a 24-hour diner (Purple Parrot), an all you can eat sushi bar, an oyster bar, a Chicago hot dog stand, two coffee shops, a casual Italian restaurant (Cafe Alfresco), and a New York-style deli (Manhattan Deli).
Atlantis is a family-owned business. It’s evident in the service and the long-retention of many of the employees we met. I saw many of the same staff members that I interacted with in my previousvisit – that says something about the work environment and how the management treats their employees.
For a couple, it’s a romantic and fun getaway – you’ll never need to leave property.
For a solo traveler, it’s an oasis, with a spa to relax at and plenty of single-diner friendly restaurants and bars.
For a family, the pool calls for relaxation and fun, and the reasonably priced restaurant options make for a family friendly night out. Kids might get a bit bored after more than one day, though.
For friends, live music, the casino, and the poolside bar make for an excellent getaway.
Atlantis left us feeling rejuvenated, filled to the brim with tasty food and drink, and feeling spoiled. We’ll be back.
The property is ADA access and children are welcome. Smoking is allowed on site in select areas.
Atlantis Casino Resort Spa is located at 3800 S. Virginia St., Reno, Nevada, 89502. 1-800-723-6500. Rates vary, and can start as low as $99. Check their website for specials and discounts.
Have you visited Reno? Where do you like to stay?
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