More visitors willing to spend are staying the night in Carson City. This base will grow, city officials say, as more upscale hotels open.
The $11 million Courtyard by Marriott just opened its newest style of hotel in the city, including flat screen televisions in every room designed in what has been described as "whimsical Tuscan," said Terrie McNutt, hotel director of sales.
The 100-room Courtyard as well as the Hampton Inn, which opened in 2005, and the Holiday Inn, which opened in 2004, have added to the appeal of the city for business visitors who will spend more money in Carson than the average visitor, said Candy Duncan, director of the Carson City Convention & Visitors' Bureau.
"The family that comes and wants a Marriott or Hampton brand is the family that won't balk at having dinner at Garibaldi's or Adele's," she said.
It's good to a have a mix of hotels, according to Duncan, but the majority of the 1,500 rooms in the city are low-priced.
This compares to about 2,300 rooms in the South Lake Tahoe area, 17,000 in Washoe County and 133,000 in Las Vegas.
The Ormsby House will add about 135 upscale rooms next year if it opens as planned and the $100 million Sierra Gold hotel-casino will add 220 rooms over two phases after construction starts next year.
The city has enough rooms now, but it could need more, especially for business visitors, when the Sierra Gold opens its conference center, according to Ronni Hannaman, director of the Carson City Chamber of Commerce.
She and others have said the city desperately needs the 13,000 square feet of conference space the casino-hotel will bring, allowing for events the city couldn't have before.
The upscale rooms are also a compliment to the city's economy because "those kinds of hotels do not come into an area where they will not be successful," Hannaman said.
The "very classy" Courtyard is designed for business visitors who have high expectations, McNutt said, and it has been accepting reservations since the middle of January.
Carson City is also competing less with south Reno for visitors now that it has the Holiday and Hampton inns on the north side of the city, Hannaman said.
• Contact reporter Dave Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1212.