Reno with kids: a stay at the Peppermill Hotel and Casino

We enjoy the high mountains and desert surrounding Reno, Nevada, but dislike casinos with their dark, smoky interiors and gaudy decor. It can be challenging to find truly family-friendly accommodations. The newly remodeled Reno Peppermill Hotel and Casino fits the needs of families while adding a degree of elegance and luxury I haven’t experienced elsewhere in Reno.

Peppermill Reno

Now a Preferred Hotel, the Peppermill has earned four-diamond qualification. The entire exterior of the hotel now carries an Italian villa motif, but their new Tuscany Tower fully immerses guests; once in this wing, the Italian theme is seamless. We loved that while in Tuscany Tower, which has it’s own check-in desk, we never encountered cigarette smoke or gambling. Connected to the rest of the hotel via escalator, the Tuscany Tower houses Biscotti’s restaurant, the Spa Toscana, the fitness center, a full bar, and easy access to the Lower and Upper pools. From our room, we could go swimming, eat meals, and work out without ever remembering we were in a casino.

If you do want to gamble or experience the restaurants and nightlife in the rest of the Peppermill, you’ll only a few steps away. There’s a large arcade located near the parking garage that our kids patronized, and half a dozen additional dining options in addition to a few shops and, of course, the casino floor.

Tuscany Tower rooms:

These new rooms are huge! We had a double-king suite with 550 square feet. We loved the fact that our bathroom was as big as some kitchens, with a jetted whirlpool tub and shower, separate toilet area, and vanity counter as well as sink (we could have used two sinks, however). The kids were especially giddy to see a flat-screen TV in the bathroom, too, though we never had need of it.

Tuscany Tower king

Standard rooms have either one or two king beds (rooms with two beds cannot accommodate a roll-away, though there’s plenty of space). I loved that there was a table and chairs by the large window in addition to (instead of replacing) a full desk and chair. I was able to work while the kids ate breakfast in the room. The beds were heavenly to sleep on, and there’s extra linens stored in case they’re needed. We had a large TV in the main room, but no mini-fridge (just a mini-bar fridge). If you don’t want to pay a room charge for snacks, tell the kids to keep their hands off: all items in the mini-bar and on the tray on the counter contain motion-sensors and will charge you if an item is removed for 45 seconds.

Pools:

We loved the geo-thermally heated Peppermill pools! Located in the outside courtyard between the Tuscany Tower, the Spa Toscana, and the main wing, the Lower Pool is open year-round and features a main pool, waterfall pool (smaller pool with cascading water), and hot tub. All three pools are heated (and the hot tub is quite hot). During the summer months, the Upper Pool is also open, with an additional swimming pool and hot tubs. We especially loved all the cushy outdoor furniture: we could relax poolside even in winter while the kids swam.

Lower Pool at night

Spa Toscana:

A day pass to the Spa Toscana is well-worth the expense of $45, should you have at least a few hours to indulge. I love that hotel guests receive 50% off. Of course, a day pass comes included with a treatment, as well. (Send the kids to the arcade or swimming with the other parent!) Guests are shown to the luxurious changing rooms, which open onto hot and cold plunge pools, a cedar-planked sauna, an awesome steam room, and lounge area. Fruit juices, healthy mix and granola mixes, tea, coffee, and water are readily available. Day pass guests also have access to the co-ed indoor pool with hot and cold plunges and a relaxing enclave with reclining chairs, noise-reducing headphones, and iPods playing music. Room service can be ordered directly to the spa.

Peppermill spa

Dining:

Biscotti’s serves family-friendly fare that will still please parents, and has a nice variety of freshly made cocktails and beers. We opted for a family dinner at Oceano, arguably Reno’s finest seafood restaurant. Though the wait was long and dining here necessitated crossing the casino floor (have I mentioned we hate casinos?), Oceano was worth it. More expensive than Biscotti’s, value can still be found here: Oceano’s all-you-can-eat sushi was the freshest my husband had ever had, and costs only $24.99. Oceano serves every kind of fish you could want (I loved the blackened Mahi-Mahi), and also has steak and chicken. There’s no kid menu, but the staff is accommodating: they made Toby a grilled cheese and fry basket, and Calvin (age 11) was very happy with the fried shrimp. Tip: if not everyone at your table orders the all-you-can-eat sushi, the sushi eater may not have time to try as much as he or she would like before the others are served and finished. Order sushi right away!

Oceano in Peppermill hotel

We grabbed an easy breakfast of donuts at Cafe Espresso on the morning of our departure, and snacks and pastries can be found at any hour at several locations. Room service is also always available.

Nearby attractions for families:

While in Reno, head out of town and visit Virginia City (just 30 minutes from the Peppermill) to learn about early mining history in this boomtown. Also within easy driving distance is Lake Tahoe, with skiing in winter and swimming and water sports in summer. Hiking and mountain bike riding can be found near the base of Mt. Rose, just outside of Reno.

Tuscany Tower Peppermill

Date last visited:

November 2012

Room rates:

Room rates for our double-king suite in the Tuscany Tower can be as low as under $99. Even more affordable rooms can be had in the other wing of the Peppermill, but trust me: the ambiance and prime location of the tower is worth the expense.

Directions:

From Hwy 395 (which changes into 580), take the Moana Exit to South Virginia Street.

As I disclose whenever applicable, we reviewed the new Tuscany Tower as guests of the Peppermill. This generosity comes with no expectation of a positive review. Photo credit.

About the author

Amy Whitley AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly as a family travel expert at Go Green Travel Green and Practical Travel Gear, and contributes to Outdoors NW as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.

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