Johnathan L. Wright

Correspondent

  • Reno, Nevada, USA

Johnathan L. Wright is correspondent who lives in Reno and reports on the city for Forbes Travel Guide. He’s also a food and drink editor with Gannett Co. Inc. covering Nevada and northern California and does freelance writing. Wright is a winner of multiple Association of Food Journalists awards and was a West region panelist for the 2013 James Beard Foundation Awards. His work has appeared in publications such as USA Today, Food Network Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times. He is a native of Honolulu and a graduate of Yale University.

  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    What kinds of massages are offered at Spa Toscana?

    Spa Toscana offers 14 massages and four massage enhancements. A reflexology treatment uses peppermint oil while focusing on the pressure points of the feet that correspond to specific organs. Classic Swedish or deep-tissue massages can be 50 or 80 minutes. A table Thai massage combines slow stretches with compressions and kneading. A neck, back and shoulders massage addresses the most common tension areas. Coconut oil is massaged into the scalp during a 25-minute exotic oil scalp treatment. Tuning forks therapy unites sound and massage. Any of the aforementioned massages can be upgraded with a deep-tissue, reiki, sports lotion or peppermint lotion enhancement. Several services also can be modified for pregnant women at the Reno spa.
  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    What is the style of Spa Toscana?

    Spa Toscana takes its design inspiration from its home, Peppermill Reno. During the casino hotel’s Tuscany Tower expansion and other renovations, thousands of original oil paintings were commissioned, primarily in the pre-Raphaelite style, showing scenes inspired by ancient Rome. The Roman paintings hang throughout Spa Toscana, adding to the luxuriant look and affirming its guiding spirit of ancient Roman baths. In other words, this isn’t one those spare, stark, Scandinavian-style spas that could host punishment as easily as treatment. Folks come to Spa Toscana to indulge. And it’s these details that enhance the indulgences here. From Latin names for treatment rooms and nibbles prepared by Peppermill chefs, to cozy robes, beds that vibrate in time with music being played and thick carpets that console the feet, the Reno spa has something to renew all of the senses.
  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    What kinds of skincare products are used at Spa Toscana?

    The skincare products featured in Spa Toscana can be purchased at the spa and salon boutique. Look for Epicuren Discovery’s enzyme-based line of products, as well as those from Intraceuticals, a brand popular with Kim Kardashian, Naomi Campbell and other celebrities. The latter is used in the spa’s Intraceuticals petite infusion, a service lovingly referred to as the “No Tox Botox” treatment. The service involves a serum that, with oxygen, is infused into the skin under pressure. Pure Fiji products, fashioned from coconut oil and flower extracts, are used in some of the body scrubs in the Reno spa. Additionally, some LaLicious products are used for pedicures in the salon.
  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    When is Romanza open?

    Romanza at Peppermill Reno is open Wednesday through Sunday from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. Like some fine-dining restaurants in casinos, Romanza isn’t open early in the week, when traffic tends to be lighter. Its 9:30 p.m. closing time, however, is a plus, especially for guests who like to eat later. You’ll still be able to dine at the Italian restaurant even if you want to linger in the splendid Peppermill pool when it’s still light out on a summer evening, or if you want to ride out a lucky streak in the hotel’s casino. Some diners even deliberately stop by the Reno restaurant later just for a coffee drink or a cordial and a shared dessert, like tiramisu, gelato pie or a towering dark chocolate cake spooned with Godiva chocolate sauce.
  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    What is the scene like at Romanza?

    Set under a domed ceiling with a changing sky with Corinthian columns and a sculpture of Roman god Antinous flanked by two ladies, Romanza is a decidedly adult restaurant inside Peppermill Reno. It doesn’t mean that older children wouldn’t be welcome or wouldn’t find dishes they liked on the menu — they would (very young kids, however, would be out of place). What it does mean is that when so many restaurants have become casual, even when the food is accomplished, Romanza proudly hews to certain traditional dining standards: attentive service, finely set tables, plush surroundings, a menu that seeks to cater to almost any taste. The restaurant isn’t as lively as Peppermill’s Bimini Steakhouse, but it isn’t overly hushed, either. And because of the spacious and varied seating arrangements, the Reno restaurant is ideal for romantic couples’ dining, group celebrations or dinners, or folks who simply want to be catered to in style.
  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    How do I get a reservation at Romanza?

    You can make a reservation for Romanza by calling Peppermill Reno’s toll-free number, 866-821-9996, and asking for the fine-dining restaurant. Another option is to book a table online. Visit the casino’s website, www.peppermillreno.com, hover over the “Dining” tab, select “Fine Dining,” then “Romanza.” The Italian restaurant’s page contains a reserve form that allows bookings to be made for five guests or fewer (for more than five guests, the table must be secured by telephone). The form asks for credit card information. While you’re on the Reno restaurant’s Web site, peruse the dinner menu, which offers quite a variety, including fettuccine with leeks and Parma ham, Maine lobster fra diavolo (a spicy seafood sauce) and wood-fired USDA prime steaks.
  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    What is the scene like at Bimini Steakhouse?

    The scene at Peppermill Reno’s Bimini Steakhouse is what you make it. Some folks simply stop by for drinks at the small bar on their way, say, to a charity event or concert being held in the Tuscany Tower. Groups fill the capacious private dining room set with orchids and tropically themed art and its own water feature. Because tables are easily rearranged on the restaurant’s upper tier, groups also frequently occupy a slice of the main dining room. Parties of four or date-night couples often request the booths on the lower tier arranged in an arc overlooking the pool and gardens. Whatever the seating, Bimini Steakhouse is convivial, lively and glowing. It’s truly a top-notch dining experience.
  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    What is the dress code at Bimini Steakhouse?

    The dress code at Bimini Steakhouse, which is located inside of the Peppermill Reno, is casual chic. For confirmation that this is a fashionable restaurant, look no farther than the fabric covering the booths and chairs — it looks like something knitted by Missoni. This being the case, many diners tend to dress up a bit at Bimini Steakhouse, if not in suits and cocktail dresses, at least in their smart casual best, with stylish shoes and accessories. That said, you won’t be turned away if you’re wearing shorts (though for Edge nightspot upstairs, shorts aren’t allowed). And if you can’t wait for that New York sirloin after a day on the greens, golf attire is perfectly acceptable, too. Folks wearing athletic clothes or looking as if they’d just come in from the pool, however, might feel underdressed.
  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    Where is Bimini Steakhouse located?

    Bimini Steakhouse is located in the Peppermill Reno’s Tuscany Tower, a short walk from Spa Toscana and downstairs from popular nightspot, Edge. So, a sugar scrub, then a steak, or a steak, then bottle service — it’s all covered and convenient. If you’re staying in the Tuscany Tower, the Reno-based restaurant lies down an airy, light-filled, marble passage that leads past the pool and gardens. If you’re staying in the Peppermill Tower or are on the casino floor, take the escalator up to the Tuscany Tower. Unlike many casino restaurants that don’t contain bathrooms so patrons must exit and walk past tempting tables and slots, Bimini Steakhouse has its own restrooms, which are a profusion of marble and are notably immaculate.
  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    What is the design style of Peppermill Reno?

    As it has grown through the years, Peppermill Reno unites several design styles. For example, there’s the Pop art energy of the crazily patterned carpets in the table games area; there’s a cool that the sleek, leathered expanse emanates in the newly renovated poker room; and in the race and sports booking area, high-tech meets old-school via the latest high-def theater screens and vintage shaded lamps. Rooms in the Peppermill Tower have a clean European feel thanks to custom crown moldings, commissioned oil paintings and dark woods and leather furniture at every turn. And with the completion of the Tuscany Tower expansion in 2009, the Reno hotel united classic casino lights and color with Tuscan- and Italian-inspired features such as Roman statuary (Discobolus greets visitors on South Virginia Street), Florentine domes and a Tuscan “village” arranged about the upper and lower outdoor pools.
  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    What restaurants does Peppermill Reno have?

    Peppermill Reno has 10 restaurants. Among the quick-bite spots, Café Espresso offers coffee drinks, pastries and panini; the Sports Deli does New York deli-inspired standards like Sabrett’s hot dogs or jaw-stretching corned beef piled between rye; and the non-smoking Pub serves bar grub such as wings, nachos and fish and chips. Café Milano is the newest incarnation of the Reno hotel’s coffee shop (the establishment that began it all at the resort). Biscotti’s menu covers breakfast, lunch and dinner in a soaring Tuscany Tower space. Oceano, with its sea life “swimming” from the ceiling, features seafood and all-you-can-enjoy sushi. Island Buffet is the Peppermill’s take on a casino institution, the all-you-can-eat spread. For fine dining, there’s the gorgeously appointed Chi restaurant serving modern Chinese food (ask for the special menu of Cantonese dishes); Romanza dishes Italian and Italian-American favorites with a twist; and the aroma of wood-fire steaks and chops comes from Bimini Steakhouse.
  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    What are the rooms like at Peppermill Reno?

    Rooms in Peppermill Reno’s Peppermill Tower were renovated in 2011. The units feature appealing touches such as custom crown moldings, high-definition flat-screen TVs (as does every room in the resort), oil paintings commissioned by Peppermill during one of its expansions, curved shower rods to make tubs and showers roomier, city or mountain views, and toiletry recycling through Clean the World, one of several green efforts at the casino hotel.

    The 600 rooms in the Tuscany Tower all are suites. Rooms offer views of the Sierra Nevada or the Tuscan “village” composed by the resort’s upper and lower pools, the terraces of Edge nightclub and Spa Toscana, Roman statuary and the soaring façade of Bimini Steakhouse. Standard Tuscany Tower suites come in pairs with a vestibule that can be locked for privacy if members of the same party want to rent both rooms. The Tuscany Tower also has veranda suites that extend onto a walkway or pool deck.

    All Tuscany Towers suites feature large sitting areas, custom dark wood furniture, double pillow-top, king-sized beds, large mirrors trimmed in dark wood braids and huge bathrooms combining a double vanity, make-up bench, separate water closet, walk-in shower and a deep-soaking tub. At night, the Reno hotel’s pool-facing suites are afforded views of flickering fire pits and lighted mosaics on the bottom of the upper pool.
  • On February 10, 2014
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    Where is Peppermill Reno located?

    Peppermill Reno is located about two miles south of downtown Reno on a southern stretch of Virginia Street, the city’s main artery. The resort is also less than a 10-minute drive from Reno-Tahoe International Airport and about a 45-minute trek from Lake Tahoe and the recreational attractions of the Lake Tahoe Basin and the Sierra Nevada mountains. The property is convenient to south Reno office parks and to companies such as International Game Technology and Microsoft Licensing, GP in the south area as well. U.S. 395 and Interstate 80, which joins Northern Nevada with California, also are a short drive away from the casino hotel.
  • On November 12, 2013
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    What kinds of massages are offered at Spa Atlantis?

    Spa Atlantis provides seven massage options to its guests.

    With hot stones (offered at either 60 or 90 minutes), warmed rocks are placed on chakra energy points, while the Swedish massage (offered at either 60 or 90 minutes) helps improve circulation and stimulates muscles and joints. If you want the therapist to hone in on deep knots and trigger points, try the 60-minute target massage. But if you have contracted muscles, you will want to consider a 60- or 90-minute deep tissue massage. The aromatherapy massage provides healing to the body when flower and herb oils are worked into the dermis. And there are also 60-minute prenatal/postnatal massages designed to ease discomfort before or after giving birth.
  • On November 12, 2013
    Johnathan L. Wright answered the question: Johnathan L. Wright

    Does Spa Atlantis offer couples treatments?

    Spa Atlantis offers five indulgent treatments for couples. The Ultimate Couples Rasul Retreat — rasul is a traditional Arabic cleansing ritual — is the signature 160-minute body treatment. Enter the rasul chamber with your partner, where you massage oils onto each other’s bodies; sachets placed over vents aromatize the room. A rain shower washes away the oils, after which the duo slip into a fragrant floral bath, then finish with side-by-side aromatherapy massages.

    The 110-minute Island Escape for Two features sugar scrubs, a coconut oil bath and Swedish massages. The 175-minute Desert Passage treatment begins with deep tissue massages and a soak with tropical flowers and oils, continues with facials for her and him, and then concludes with spa pedicures. There also are couples massages, including the Infinity massage and soak in a couples suite with adjustable beds fitted with microfiber sheets.