Perry Sanders – Monarch Casino & Resort Inc.
The best casinos aren’t known for skimping on luxury amenities or unusual experiences, but how about massive showers that comfortably fit six to eight people and bathe them not just in water, but light and fragrance?
“Well, our guests are going to love it,” says Perry Sanders, the corporate director, facilities, for the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa in Reno, Nevada, and the Monarch Casino Resort Spa in Black Hawk, Colorado. “From its onset, our company has been dedicated to providing guests the latest and most luxurious amenities.”
The special showers are just part of a $6 million gut renovation to the Ultra VIP floor that also includes saunas in every room, heated bathroom floors, player pianos, and large sectional couches and conversation pits in each 5,000- to 6,000-square-foot suite.
“Normally, we have about 90 percent occupancy, which makes it pretty difficult to get into guest rooms and complete much-needed work,” says Sanders. “This pandemic has allowed us to do additional work without disrupting.”
Other changes to the suites on the 27th floor include marble floors, wood built-ins, pool tables, 70-inch TVs, dining tables, expansive foyers and king- and queen-size beds. In time, Sanders says all 820 rooms will be renovated.
“There won’t be anything like it in Reno,” he says.
Remodels in Reno
Sanders says upgrading the guest experience at the Atlantis requires more than remodeling. He also needs to anticipate what guests want.
Late in 2020, for instance, the property completed its new cocktail experience at the redesigned Atrium Lounge. The space features glass elevators, marble tile, modern art and upscale lounge furniture. The Red Bloom Asian Bistro, with dim sum and other traditional Asian offerings on the menu, opened around Christmas and was specifically designed as an homage to the Asian guests who frequent the property.
“We’re so close to California and just a short drive from San Francisco, so a lot of our clientele is Asian. We thought Red Bloom would be a perfect addition to our lavishly diverse property,” Sanders notes.
Throughout the Atlantis property—especially on the 60,000-square-foot casino floor—changes have been made to comply with federal, state and local protocols related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Capacity has been reduced and plexiglass dividers have been installed between slot machines and at all gaming tables for increased guest safety.
Additionally, there are infrared cameras and temperature checks before entering the property, sanitizing stations between gaming tables and angled chairs to keep guests six feet apart. When a player is done at a table, that station is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.
“The plexiglass is everywhere and adds another layer of protection for our guests,” Sanders says.
Luxuries a mile high
As if the work in Reno isn’t enough, the company’s design and development team has concurrently been working on the recent expansion of the Monarch Casino Resort Spa, about 40 minutes west of Denver. The Monarch is the only property in Colorado where guests can pull into the covered and attached parking garage and walk directly into the casino, Sanders say.
The first phase of the expansion project opened to the public in November 2020, and includes the first eight floors of a new 23-story hotel tower, featuring 200 hotel rooms, four restaurants (Monarch Chophouse, 24/7, Java Etc. and The Buffet) and 5,000 square feet of conference space.
The fully expanded casino floor will total over 60,000 square feet with 1,200 slot machines and 40 table games, as well as a sportsbook. Given current COVID-19 restrictions, the casino has 15 gaming tables and 750 slot machines available for guests.
The 23rd floor features a rooftop pool, fitness center and world-class spa and opened in late February with floor-to-ceiling windows that provide unobstructed views of the Rockies. Coming soon is a fifth new restaurant, a poker room and sports betting area.
The projects in Reno and Black Hawk are big in scope, but that’s nothing new for Sanders, who has more than 25 years of industry experience.
He started his career with CRS Sirrine, which was, at that time, the world’s largest project management firm.
Sanders has managed projects from $1 million to $1.86 billion on five continents. He has an undergraduate degree in architecture from Washington University in St. Louis and a master’s in construction management from the same school.
While nobody wanted to see the resorts in Reno and Black Hawk shut down, especially because of a global health crisis, the corporate design team leveraged the opportunity to renovate several important spaces throughout the Atlantis and Monarch properties.
If you’re doing renovations in the casino business, you better go big or go home, Sanders says. At the Atlantis Reno and the Monarch Black Hawk, they went big—from the size of the suites to the size of their showers.
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