RENO, Nevada– Everyone knows that the focus of Nevada hotels is on gambling, right? That is, of course, unless that establishment is the new Whitney Peak Hotel in Reno. The absence of gaming may be unusual in a Nevada hotel, but then again, how many luxury boutique hotels feature the 164-foot-tall exterior climbing wall and interior climbing boulders found at Whitney Peak?
Occupying a building that once housed the iconic Fitzgerald’s Hotel and Casino, a Reno landmark, Whitney Peak is the result of an extensive, carefully planned and well-executed renovation that relied heavily on lighting throughout the facility to create a transformative and memorable experience for guests.
The spacious first floor that been occupied by slot machines and table games when the site was Fitzgerald’s, now houses Heritage, a farm-to-table restaurant that features locally sourced food and is inspired by Reno and Northern Nevada history; and Cargo, an 1,100-capacity concert venue illuminated by a plethora of fixtures from CHAUVET Professional.
The Whitney Peak team of Dan Bishop, production manager and front of house engineer, and Justin Bell, A/V manager and lighting director, developed the lighting design based on the hotel’s vision, along with the specifications for the lighting rig. The team worked with Matt Jones, founder and head of XN-Tric in Reno, who consulted with the team and sourced the extensive equipment that now includes: 40 COLORdash Par-Hex 12 RGBAW+UV LED fixtures, four Rogue R2 Spot moving heads, four COLORado 2-Quad Zoom Tours, 16 PVP S5 SMD LED video panels, 10 PVP Rigging Kits, one VIP Driver and one ArKaos Media Master Express, along with 16 CHAUVET DJ SlimPAR-38 par cans.
“Chauvet is always at the cutting edge of new and exciting products and technology, so these fixtures were a natural choice given Whitney Peak’s vision and the type of experience they wanted to evoke for guests,” said Jones, who toured worldwide for over a decade with superstars like Cher, Madonna, The Beach Boys, and Barbra Streisand, before starting what is now XN-Tric. “In addition to the color and output of the Chauvet fixtures, the fact that they’re LED offered a lot of environmental benefits, which were important to the team.”
Chauvet fixtures were used throughout Cargo, positioned on upstage and downstage trusses as well as on two mid-stage pods and dance floor pods. “We wanted to create an immersive environment with the lights,” Bishop explained.
Creating a lightshow that supports the diverse mix of artists at Cargo has required a lighting design that was itself diverse and flexible. The end product fits this bill nicely, covering a range of emotions for different musical motifs by offering everything from the UV light of the COLORdash Par-Hex 12 to the eye-popping colors of the COLORado 2-Quad Zoom Tours. The new Rogue R2 Spot also supports Cargo’s philosophy. Featuring a 240 W LED light engine to drive a bright, crisp spot, the fixture provides users with an array of design options with two continuously and variably scrolling color wheels, motorized frost and an extensive series of split colors.
“For Cargo, it is about making all artists feel like they’re rock stars. Whether they’re internationally famous or just a local band looking for exposure – they all get the same level of high-quality production – which, in turn, gives the patrons a more vibrant and unforgettable experience,” said Bell.
Cargo has quickly established itself as a must-see club in its market by showcasing an eclectic mix of talent in a best-in-class, high-production-value setting. In keeping with the Whitney Peak Hotel’s adventuresome, convention-defying spirit, the club has played host to an extraordinary blend of artists, ranging from local acts like Moondog Matinee and Naked for Safety to special guests such as dubstep superstar Rusko, Youngblood Hawke and Caught a Ghost.
However, Cargo is not the only area of the Whitney Peak Hotel where lighting plays a pivotal role in driving the guest experience. Throughout the 157-room hotel, meticulously developed lighting design harmonizes various elements of the building’s architectural features with one another, as well as with the aesthetic tradition of Reno and the surrounding area. BaseCamp, Whitney Peak’s 7,000-square-foot bouldering gym, features 18 Chauvet DJ SlimPAR Hex 6 IRC lights. This non-traditional use of the lighting has proven to be a great move on the part of the design team: the lighting is highly effective in creating a specific mood and spotlighting the various climbing surfaces within the gym.
“Our vision is to honor the beauty and natural resources of the region and pay tribute to the rich history of Reno and the region. The lighting supports that vision, whether in highlighting design features, spotlighting our cuisine, or illuminating the local photography and artwork of the region,” said Niki Gross, project manager for the hotel. “We definitely wanted a ‘natural’ look in all of the spaces, so we’ve taken steps to ensure we’re not overwhelming our guests with harsh fluorescent tube lighting. Track lighting and subdued canned lighting has definitely been more of our focus and gets us the type of lighting that highlights the design features we’ve selected. Lighting is an integral part of the total package, and it has definitely met and exceeded our expectations,” she added.