So Long, Sands Regency
I don’t know as I’ll ever return to Reno, but if I do I’ll sure miss the Sands Regency Hotel and Casino.
Where the distinctive tan and gold once stood tucked into the only somewhat seedy bit of downtown Reno along Arlington Avenue there now towers the gleaming “new” J Resort, all white and blue with a gigantic J on top. I’m sure a lot of people will appreciate all the shiny newness of the place but those are probably the same people who love the Grand Sierra and the Peppermill up outside of town. Thanks, no thanks.
I never thought of Reno as the kind of place I’d be interested in visiting but there I was in 2011 with my partner in life and art, AleXander, enroute to his 7th trip out to Burning Man and my first. After his first year out to That Thing in The Desert in 2005 he’d always stayed at the Sands Regency. It really stood out that August morning as we drove into town on I-80.
Those were the days when we rented a minivan and loaded the bikes onto a rack on the back (Later, we switched to renting a U-Haul and just throwing them in with everything else).
This meant bringing the bikes along upstairs where we had the luxury of blinging them in the hotel room as opposed to crouching in the dust with head lamps to do it after getting the tent up and the truck unloaded. Of course, it also meant a lot more loading and unloading not to mention getting that pesky bike rack secured properly.
The Sands had a number of benefits to our way of thinking. The rates were good, they were Burner-friendly in ways that some of the bigger, fancier places weren’t, and the Sands is — was — centrally located for easy walking over to get the annual photo of that icon of The Strip.