Reserve Casino Hotel is here!

Central City’s largest casino remodeled, re-themed and renamed 

By Jeffrey V. Smith

The wait is over. After months of speculation, Fortune Valley Hotel and Casino is finally ready to reveal its new name, and after 20 years of legalized gaming, Central City is finally getting a casino with a level of style and class worthy of its rich history.

Following a recently completed more than $20 million remodeling project – as well as announcement delays and abundant rumors – Central City’s largest casino recently revealed its new name: Reserve Casino Hotel. The new name was chosen because casino officials deemed the name was a better fit for the new renovations.

“The word ‘reserve’ means something special, just like a reserve bottle of wine or a reserve concert ticket,” Chief Operating Officer Dean DiLullo said.

Reserve Casino Hotel gift shop features a Harley Davidson motorcycle as its centerpiece.

The completely renovated casino has enhanced the gaming options in Central City, which now has a casino featuring a level of refinement and sophistication more common in its prosperous, gold-mining heyday. The new, crisp, upscale and modern décor, however, brings the property into the 21st century and elevates the gaming and entertainment experience Colorado gamblers have come to expect in the first 20 years of gaming.

The long-anticipated changes are immediately apparent and feature a sleek, boutique-style design. All over the casino, state-of-the-art column lighting and sound systems accent the mood, contemporary furniture defines the style, and photos of performing rock musicians and music-related memorabilia adorn walls throughout the gaming area.

“We’re excited to take the gaming and entertainment experience to the next level,” DiLullo said. “The Reserve Casino Hotel is the ultimate Colorado casino experience with Vegas-style gaming that focuses on guest service.”

The largest guitar-shaped bar in the country is at the Reserve. The casino has recently added several details to the interesting bar area.

In an effort to provide an experience and theme distinctive from other casinos in Central City and Black Hawk, remodeling of the property began almost immediately after Novi, Mich.-based Luna Gaming acquired it in January 2011. New additions to the casino include a completely renovated gaming area with new slots, a new live poker room and table games like blackjack, roulette and craps. Newer specialty games like 3-card poker, bonus 6 and buffalo blackjack are also offered. The casino features mor ethan 700 of the “hottest slots, the latest progressives, and the very best in video poker.” It also claims the largest amount of jackpots paid in Central City.

The gaming area also includes “the best VIP slot area in Colorado,” the new “Celebrity Zone,” which showcases 130 of the newest slot and video poker machines available to the public and includes loose bar-top video poker machines, a big-screen HDTV and the “fastest complimentary drink service in town.”

Other renovations pay homage to the music world with rock-themed décor like the a 65-foot, guitar-shaped bar – the world’s largest in a casino – that features 14 slot machines, autographed guitars, big-screen HDTVs, a state-of-the-art sound system, comfortable lighting and friendly bartenders.

Details, like this glass chandelier, add a touch of class and style to the newly renovated casino property.

One of the main music-related assets added during the casino’s renovations is the more than 300-person Las-Vegas-style lounge named the Lava Bar, and its million-dollar audio system. The unique room features a sunken stage, dance floor, private bar, three levels of seating and a special VIP area. Several seating areas around the room feature comfortable, inviting couches and Lava lamps. It’s the best room for live music in any Colorado casino, and easily ranks near the top of any venue its size in the state.

The Lava Room was created for a variety of entertainment, comedy, sports and fight-night viewings as well as for live bands, dancing and a late-night club atmosphere. It is well equipped for watching sports thanks to plentiful HDTVs and an enormous sound system. Casino patrons can enjoy the room’s entertainment offerings, including nationally-touring bands, on most weekends. Stray Cats, Dave Mason and other national celebrities are rumored to have been booked for the casino’s official Grand Opening ceremonies planned for early 2012. Other upcoming events include country music singer-songwriter Elizabeth Cook on Jan. 14 and Denver’s beloved Hazel Miller on Jan. 20-21.

The Lava Room bar

Another notable feature of the Lava Room, and the new renovations, is the large smoker’s patio conveniently located opposite the stage. With high-end heaters, comfortable seating and a one-of-a-kind Central City view, it’s a prime spot to step outside and take in the mountain atmosphere without leaving the lavish, comfortable confines of the Reserve Casino Hotel.

Additional renovations feature a VIP media room called “The Zone” featuring five HDTVs with a headset for each guest, complimentary cocktails and snacks, and comfortable chairs; a new front desk and lobby area with a sleek design, photos of rock musicians and display showcasing the Captain America motorcycle from “Easy Rider;” a gift shop with an impressive Harley Davidson centerpiece; and numerous other changes to the décor and overall ambiance. The property’s accommodations have also been transformed into a modern boutique hotel with 118 “signature-themed” rooms and suites so guests can sleep in style.

The recent changes to the casino did not leave out food. The Reserve’s gourmet Ardore Steakhouse and Wine Experience is a Tuscan-style, fine-dining restaurant featuring a 500-bottle wine list and floor-to-ceiling glass display. In addition to serving some the city’s finest food, Ardore is set apart from other casino restaurants by its eight-person chef’s table – a secluded dining table to experience exclusive, chef-specialty dishes along with a chef’s visit. The quaint and elegant room is open Friday through Sunday starting at 4:30 p.m. See full feature on page 8.

For something affordable and fast, the brand new Market Street Café is a quick and casual dining experience set up for patrons to quickly grab food and drink. Inside Market Street is the Java Express coffee bistro; The Chef’s Kitchen, a “we serve you” food line with chef’s favorite specialty dishes; and a pizza and beer hang out called the Pizza Pub.

The renovations and rebranding were completed in an effort to craft “Colorado’s ultimate casino destination.” The idea was to provide a unique experience, and make sure every guest feel like a VIP with all the comforts and amenities of a contemporary, world-class casino.

“It’s important to us that every guest feels special when they walk through our doors. We want to get to know our guests on a personal level and provide them with services they’ll remember,” DiLullo said.

Reserve Hotel Casino’s new signs will go up Jan. 3.

The building housing Central City’s largest casino and hotel was built and opened as Harvey’s Wagon Wheel Casino in 1994. Harrah’s acquired the property in July 2001 when it purchased Harvey’s Casino Resorts. The branding remained Harvey’s. By 2003, the casino was purchased by a subsidiary of Centaur Gaming Inc. and in November 2003, Harvey’s officially closed, and Centaur debuted Fortune Valley Hotel and Casino the next day. The casino remained a Centaur property until the company filed for bankruptcy early in 2010.

The property was ultimately purchased by Luna Gaming Central City in a $10 million deal. The new owners, who also own a vineyard in Napa Valley and the Red Dolly Casino in Black Hawk, took over the casino in January 2011. Luna Gaming’s principal owner, Tom Celani, named the new intimate and casually elegant restaurant, Ardore, after his high-end wine from the Celani Family Vineyards.

The Reserve Hotel Casino is located at 321 Gregory St. in Central City and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Accommodations can be booked by calling guest services at 800-924-6646 or by visiting Reserve Casino Hotel can also be found on Facebook.

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