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J Resort celebrates grand opening

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J Resort, formerly the Sands, began welcoming guests to the Fourth Street casino resort under its new banner in March, unveiling a $300 million renovation that prioritizes entertainment, food and art.

The grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony was held three months later, on Friday, June 9, at hotel registration.

Gov. Joe Lombardo and Mayor Hillary Schieve both gave speeches welcoming the new hotel to Reno and commenting on the legacy Jacobs Entertainment is creating with its continued work downtown. 

Jacobs Entertainment has, over a number of years, purchased and torn down a number of extended stay motels that many people called home. Although the company says it has big plans for a 20-block entertainment district spanning from Sierra Street east to Keystone Avenue, many of the lots remain vacant. 

J Resort wine. Image: Nora Tarte / This Is Reno.
J Resort wine. Image: Nora Tarte / This Is Reno.

The company bought the Sands Regency in 2017 as a cornerstone of the development.

Jacobs Entertainment CEO Jeff Jacobs was in high spirits for the hotel’s re-opening. He cut the ribbon, welcoming VIP guests to peek around the new space, which includes 500 renovated guest rooms, a renovated half of the casino floor, a non-smoking live music space called The Afterglow Lounge and several dining options.

One of the highlights is the property’s first fine dining experience, J Paul’s Italian Steakhouse, named for one of Jacobs’ six children. 

J Paul’s Italian Steakhouse is a high-end yet intimate space with plush red booths, ornate chandeliers and small tables set for special occasion dining. The kitchen is on display through a set of glass windows, bringing the action of the space to the dining room without the noise.

A private dining area is also available in the back of the restaurant.

The focus is on an Italian menu complimented by top-grade beef selections. While the dishes are reminiscent of a classic steakhouse, the menu overall enjoys a contemporary flare. 

The 24/7 eatery on site is named Hanna’s Express after one of Jacobs’ daughters. Additional restaurants, Jacobs states, will be named for his other children. He jokes that the family announcement of his first namesake restaurant garnered glares from the five remaining children, hence his continued dedication to incorporating family monikers inside J Resort.

J Resort also unveiled a namesake wine at the event. Aptly Named the J Resort Fusion Red Blend, the wine comes from Windsor Vineyards and is part of their classic series.

The label features a blue and purple hued mechanical horse rearing in front of the lighted blue J Resort.

Additional renovations are coming, including the addition of an indoor pool and spa, and remodels to the remainder of the guest rooms and the other half of the casino floor.

In addition to the amenities, Jacobs has also invested in art, featuring an array of eclectic pieces across the property. The video installment behind hotel registration is especially eye-catching and combines the theme of art with technology. 

Every inch, from the walls to the ceilings, include artistic touches. Outside, digital video art is on display on a 65-by-65-foot screen on Fourth Street.

The resort is next door to the The Glow Plaza Festival Grounds, which has events this year and features a collection of large sculptures and neon signs.

Nora Tarte
Nora Tarte
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. Nora received her bachelor's in Journalism from California State University, Sacramento before graduating from University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a master’s in Professional Journalism. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.

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