Originally published June 21, 2012
New information/photo added July 12, 2012.
****New Gaming information below.
The Reserve Casino Hotel
321 Gregory St
Central City, Colorado
In the space previously occupied by Central City’s long struggling FORTUNE VALLEY Casino Hotel, THE RESERVE Casino Hotel is making a stand – just a minute from the west-end of Central City Parkway, which is an entry point into the gaming, mountain-town of Central City, Colorado – 45 minutes from Denver. Fortune Valley struggled for years against the “big-boys” on the other-side-of-town (a five-minute drive) in Black Hawk. The big-boys were, at that time, The Ameristar and The Riviera.
Central City had the lock on mom & pop gaming until neighboring gaming-town Black Hawk started building Las Vegas-style casinos down the mountain. Then Black Hawk was getting the lion’s share of business – so… Central City – of Colorado Opera fame – fought back with a new road direct from I-70 into Central City: Central City Parkway (four-lane, 8.4 miles) which is an easy drive from I-70. It’s a safe(r), mountain-valley type, scenic road that passes by old, gold mines and gold/green pasture – and in the winter-time bypasses the sometimes dicey (when snow or other winter conditions are present) Highway 6, paralleling Clear Creek. Now Black Hawk is fighting back: building a four-lane road up/down Highway 6, but that’s another story for another day. I’ll report when the road is finished. The two main entrees into the area are: Highway 6 approaching from the east, paralleling Clear Creek, entering the east end of Black Hawk – at The Riviera! And from the west on Central City Parkway, down from I-70 east passing a few casinos then passing in front of The Reserve! As one can see, both are strategically located – hence the Highway Wars fighting for **the richest square mile on earth.
The Reserve sent me a hotel-room-comp with a chit-for-a-small-amount-of-playing-cash, food discounts and more. I graciously accepted the offer and took a break with the free room.
The hotel has been rethought as a vintage rock & roll showcase with scores (no pun intended) of 60s, 70s music-posters, such as The Grateful Dead, Jimi Hendrix, Mothers of Invention etc. as well as (authentic) celebrity-autographs on guitars, like Eric Clapton’s, as well as someone’s Gold Record. I recall seeing a photo of Willie Nelson, can’t remember if it was autographed. Willie items are certainly appropriate since Willie Nelson used to live just over the hill near Evergreen, Colorado back in the day. I don’t think the guitars or the gold records are authentic, but was told that there is provenance with the autographs. Besides dozens of guitars, there are also American bike replicas like Captain America’s/Peter Fonda’s) American-Flag motorcycle from the great film classic, EASY RIDER. And to boot there is a huge 15-20 seat tabletop, video-poker bar shaped like a guitar, appropriately called The Guitar Bar (see below.) The Reserve is definitely an authentic, vintage rock & roll casino hotel. It’s a little bit like the Hard Rock in Las Vegas, but just to the extent that there are rock memorabilia everywhere. The theme seems to work and it seems to be the real deal. 60s and 70s groups like POCO, THE FABULOUS THUNDERBIRDS and FOGHAT are currently booked in The Lava Room.
“Colorado’s Only Casino Showroom”
“This 300 person showroom is home to National music acts, local bands, comedians, UFC viewings, sports parties and club type feel in the evenings.”
“The Lava Room is fully equipped with a state-of-the-art sound system, HD TVs at every turn, dance floor, private bar, sunken stage with three levels of seating and standing area, specialty VIP sections, and new outdoor patio conveniently located opposite of the stage.”
The Reserve’s website shows basic room-rates from around $90.00 to $180.00. On the upper-end, suites run $140.00 to $200.00.
The rooms are definitely rock & roll: done-up in ***black/orange, yellow/black etc. That took a while to digest, but knowing the black/orange, black/red are all about the “color of fire” makes sense. The important things are that the rooms are clean and secure with flat-screens, coffee-makers, iron/ironing boards, hair dryers, shampoo/conditioner etc. and ice-makers/vending machines just down the hall, small refers and acceptable carpeting. It seems as though Fortune Valley was not in perfect condition when The Reserve took over. All in all it’s acceptable lodging, in my opinion. The beds are extremely comfortable.
The thing that’s more than acceptable is the little cafeteria/restaurant that serves, in my opinion, one of the best all-things-considered breakfast-buffet ever. $1.99 w/players card gets you: scrambled eggs – in several varieties, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, ham/sausage/bacon, hash-browns, fruit, muffins, bagels with a schmear and all of the rest of important basic American breakfast fare. The buffet is very compact compared to the bigs, but it’s really very adequate. I’ve not sampled the lunch or dinner yet but will in due time. Even if I stay at a different hotel, I’m sure I’d do The Chef’s Kitchen for breakfast.
Here are the current prices and hours:
Breakfast: Monday through Friday, 7am – 11am, $5.99 – $1.99 w/players card
Lunch: Monday through Friday, 11am – 4pm, $7.99*
Dinner: Sunday through Thursday, 4pm – 8pm, $10.99*
Champagne Brunch: Saturday and Sunday, 7am – 4pm, $10.99*
Specialty-Dinner: Friday, Steak & Shrimp and Saturday, Prime Rib, 4pm – 8pm, $10.99*
*No discount with players card
There is also a little sandwich shop called Java Express that offers several Panini sandwiches for $5.99;
they also serve salads for about $4-bucks, beverages and Pizza slices ($1.99 or $.99 w/players card)
and whole pies for $5.99 and $10.99, or Calzones $7.99. Beer is available here by the glass or pitcher.
The Reserve also sports a fine-dining Tuscan steak house. Ardore, the Italian restaurant at the casino and hotel, features a 500-bottle wine display. This upscale restaurant is open Friday – Sunday evenings. Dinners are $16.00 – $23.00 – visit the website for complete menus. “Tom Celani is one of the owners of Reserve Casino Hotel, and has a commitment to provide Ardore Tuscan Steakhouse-Seafood-Wine Experience with the highest quality wine, food and guest service. Celani Family wines are featured in Reserve’s gourmet room, named after the Celani Family vineyards prestige wine Ardore.”
****I really can’t comment on the gaming since I really don’t know the casino yet other than saying that they have the standard electronic slots, including video-poker, Keno, Double Bonus and all of the Micky Mouse machines that are so prevalent today. Live tables include poker, blackjack, craps and roulette. ****New gaming information below.
**”The Richest Square Mile On Earth:” “The Colorado Gold Rush began in 1858, leading prospective miners and settlers to discover modest gold deposits in the South Platte River and Cherry Creek in the modern-day Denver area.” “In May of 1859, a major gold strike was found close to Clear Creek in the Rocky Mountains, and Central City was born. By July over 10,000 people lived in the new town of Central City and the surrounding areas.” “By the end of 1859, between $1-1/2 & $2 million in gold was estimated as having been discovered, and the region quickly became known as “The Richest Square Mile On Earth” read more…
***After spending another comped night at The Reserve, I was delighted to find that they also have more tastefully decorated rooms like the room with Robin-blue walls in the photo below.
****Well I finally tasted the gaming at The Reserve, and it tasted pretty damn good. Usually I don’t like to comment on gaming since it can be a dicey situation if someone reads an article and looses cash. I’ll just lay it out as it was, but please don’t “bank” on the information leading you to winning hands. I searched for a particular type of machine. I like to play Video Poker and Keno machines, usually in small denominations like pennies or nickels. I found a machine and it was smoke’n. In a two-hour stretch, I hit several four-of-a-kinds, one of which was four-4s which, as you may know pays pretty good. This was a Multi Game slot with variable coin choices of $.05, $.25, $.50 and $1.00. This could be a fluke or as is usually the case I just happened to be in the right place at the right time. Whatever the reason, it’s always better to win than to loose. I reserve the right to not reveal the slot or the location – other than saying that I was on the lower floor. Are the slots in the Colorado mountains finally loosening up a bit?
On my last trip up to Central City I snapped this cool (and wet) photo with my little Canon SD 1200 IS. A very welcome rain was saturating the mountain-side. FYI: Those mounds of golden-hued earth are tailings from the gold mines.
Some photos are from The Reserve. See more photos on The Reserve’s website.