by Leo Jakobson | May 02, 2017
There are changes afoot in the Reno and Lake Tahoe area, and it's not just the ongoing construction of Tesla's battery production Gigafactory.

Most notably -- or perhaps noticeably -- a massive snowfall in the Sierra mountains over the winter has erased the drought and record-low lake levels suffered by Lake Tahoe in the recent past. By the second week of April, the lake was reported to be nearly four feet above its natural rim.

A number of Reno hotels are renovating or planning renovations, including Eldorado Resorts' three connected Reno properties -- The Silver Legacy, Circus Circus, and Eldorado -- which together have 182,700 square feet of meeting and event space. The Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, which has 110,000 square feet of meeting space, is undergoing a $25 million renovation. Marriott's Renaissance Reno Downtown Hotel opened in April with 13,200 square feet of meeting space, and its Courtyard Reno Downtown/Riverfront opened in August with 840 square feet. In July, the non-gaming Whitney Peak Hotel in Downtown Reno unveiled a 12,000-square-foot meeting and event space with a 5,125-square-foot ballroom. Reno's Nevada Museum of Art turned its roof into a nearly 10,000-square-foot event space last year.

The Atlantis Casino Resort Spa and its Concierge Tower at Atlantis Reno had a one-two punch, winning the top two slots on U.S. News & World Report's ranking of the Best Hotels in Reno this year. Number three and four were taken by the Peppermill Resort Spa Casino and its Tuscany Tower Suites, respectively. The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe took the top spot, followed by The Landing Resort & Spa, the Cedar House Sport Hotel, the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort, Spa, and Casino, and the Resort at Squaw Creek.

In South Lake Tahoe, the new Coachman Hotel opened in June with two meeting spaces, the largest (at 800 square feet) opening onto a 1,000-square-foot deck. The Edgewood Tahoe opens in June with a 3,000-square-foot ballroom. A pair of Joie de Vivre hotels next to Heavenly Village are undergoing a renovation and merger, creating a 167-room boutique property, Hotel Becket. When complete, the property will offer about 1,000 square feet of meeting space. The 262-room Beach Retreat & Lodge, overlooking Lake Tahoe, has opened a new, 3,200-square-foot conference space that opens onto a 1,000-square-foot deck.