I live less than three hours from Reno, so would you believe me when I say I have only been there three times in my life? And out of those three times, two of them were this year? I never really knew what I was missing until my recent stay at the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino (GSR).
I’ll start by saying that I am not a huge gambler, nor am I fond of heavy cigarette smoke that tends to fill up most casinos I walk in. Seeing as I had never been inside GSR, I really didn’t know what to expect.
One thing I love about driving up to Reno from the Sacramento area is the scenic mountain drive. Because we are finally getting rain up in California, our mountains are getting packed with snow. It’s an exciting time but one that makes it difficult when traveling as chains are required. I was so happy to be taking the 2017 Kia Sorento AWD up to Reno, Nevada as it made driving a lot more comfortable. We didn’t have to stop and put snow chains on, and it’s completely spacious so we were able to store our luggage in the back and stretch out our legs during the trip.
As I pulled up to the tall building with gold tinted windows, I easily found a parking lot on the side of the building that had a lot of open spaces to park. A quick walk up the stairs and I was greeted by a gorgeous walkway that took me to the doors of the casino.
Walking in, I immediately realized that this wasn’t any ordinary casino. The smell of the cigarette smoke wasn’t bad, I really felt like I could breath, and there seemed to be a lot of families and generally happy people walking around. A lot different than most of my experiences in Las Vegas.
Check-in was a breeze and the staff was very helpful and friendly. We headed up to the 20th floor, and found our room—2063.
I’ll just say this now, if you’re looking for a romantic getaway, a family vacation, or a trip with some friends, this room can host it all. It was incredibly spacious. Everything from the layout to the decor was beautiful and modern.
Not only was there a comfortable king sized bed for us, but our room had a little living room area with a red couch that can turn into a sofa bed when needed.
For privacy when traveling with other guests, you can pull the curtain that is between both the king bed and sofa bed. I loved that they thought to do this as sometimes a little curtain can go a long way when it’s time to go to bed.
There was a built-in kitchenette in our room with two free bottles of Dasani water and a stainless steel fridge and microwave. There was even a lot of cabinet space to store items if needed.
The bathroom was very spacious and lined with marble. I truly felt like royalty every time I stepped in. The shower was one of the biggest I have ever used and the bath amenities they give you smell incredible.
I normally don’t use hotel shower products, but seeing as these were Tommy Bahama, I decided to try them out and now I am officially hooked. Not only do they smell good, they work well also.
The next morning, after a well rested sleep, we got ready to head out for the day and explore Reno and the surrounding areas. When we got to the casino floor we were surprised and very excited to see a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar. If that’s not a great way to start your morning, I don’t know what is.
Basically there is a table set up right across from the elevators with over 10 items to customize your Bloody Mary to your liking. You can add blue cheese, horseradish, olives, bacon, green beans, and more. You can even choose which vodka you prefer.
The Bloody Mary’s were delicious and helped kick-start our morning. Because we had an open agenda, we decided to head about an hour outside of Reno to taste some wine and spirits at a place called Frey Ranch Estate Distillery which is in Fallon, Nevada. With an open road and scenic drive, it makes the hour trip go by quickly.
Frey Ranch is only open to the public on Saturday’s between 12pm and 4pm, and they offer a wide selection of tastings completely complementary. Yes, you read that right.
We sampled 4 different wines, brandy, vodka, 2 gins, and some absinthe. If you’re worried about getting too drunk tasting, you’ll have plenty of time to walk it off during the tour that comes along with your experience at Frey Ranch.
During the tour, we learned all about the process in which it takes to produce all the spirits they make. What it takes to make a vodka versus whiskey, how they figured out the flavors, how the process works, and a little about who they are as a distillery and as farmers.
One of my favorite things I learned on this tour is that, as farmers, they produce all the Wheat, Rye, Barley and Corn they use in their spirits so they make sure the quality is nothing but superb. Also, because they are farmers, they don’t have to lay off their employees like most farmers do in the winter months. During the Spring and Summer, they farm, then in the Fall and Winter, they distill.
After our tour, we worked up an appetite so we headed back into Reno for some food at The Depot Craft Brewery Distillery. I had heard so many great reviews about this place and was really looking forward to seeing (and tasting) what all the hype was about.
We pulled up to a packed parking lot, which made me thankful to have had reservations (FYI: make reservations). Walking inside you can sense what an awesome vibe this restaurant has immediately and the kind of experience you’re about to embark on.
Our hostess took us upstairs where there was another bar and a lot more seating. Our awesome server greeted us and recommended some of their signature cocktails they have available. No matter your drink of choice, The Depot has something for everyone. Their selection of craft beers was impressive, wines for even the pickiest connoisseur, and don’t even get me started on all the finest spirits which can be sipped or used in a cocktail creation.
I went with the Silver Donkey which is a concoction of Depot Silver Corn Whiskey, Honey, Fresh Lime, St. Germain Liqueur and Ginger Beer. Imagine a Moscow Mule, but with a twist. Super refreshing, very tasty.
To start, we ordered the Mac & Cheese bites which were topped with crab meat and probably one of my favorite appetizers I’ve had. I loved that they combined the crab with the mac & cheese. Something I would have never thought to do.
When it came to dinner, my boyfriend ordered the Cast Iron Filet which is a 6oz dry aged CAB filet topped with a mushroom soubise over haricot verts & fingerling potatoes. He had nothing but amazing feedback after just one bite and said he would definitely order this dish again.
For me, I ordered the Whole Snapper. Which is a fried whole red snapper topped with lemon salsa & served over poblano puree & chipotle glazed sweet potatoes. The flavors all work together so well and the dish was incredibly delicious.
After dinner we headed back to GSR for a night I’ll never forget.
Imagine getting to see Colbie Caillat perform all her greatest hits in an intimate theatre inside GSR, where there really are no bad seats. Her flawless voice filling up the room as she sings “Try” and “Bubbly.” That was how the first half of my night went.
The second half, and where I ended my night, was right next door to where Colbie Caillat performed— at the LEX Nightclub. I haven’t been to a “club” since I can remember, but I will say this now… this nightclub is so cool! Not only is it big, but there is a pool inside! If you have a chance to check it out, I’d recommend going just so you can get that experience. There are also multiple bars inside, which is always a plus.
If going to a nightclub isn’t your thing, there is a really fun Country themed bar inside GSR that has a dance floor where you can boot, scoot, and boogie. There is also a full bowling alley where you can order food and drinks and have a more low key night.
For more information on Grand Sierra Resort and Casino, please visit their website: www.grandsierraresort.com.
Disclosure: My stay was hosted, however opinions are my own.