Hotels in Reno 2017
Most hotels in Reno are casino hotels, and because they have little business on weekdays, you'll easily find offers under $30 a night. Remember that you have to pay a $10 tourist fee as well.
The most popular motel among Burners is the Grand Sierra Resort and Casino. It is a huge casino hotel with a big pool, which is infamous for Burning Man after parties. There's things you can't take with you on the plane, so you might as well indulge in all of it there .... Although their cafeteria is atrocious, they have a small shopping corridor where you can get the basics. These are the only shops within miles, as the hotel is isolated. A great plus is their business center, with employees competent enough to not lose the package you sent to the hotel (good luck with that elsewhere).
The Sands Regency has been a Kostume Kult favorite for years. You can find the same amenities as at the Grand Sierra, although on a more intimate scale. Their pool is real cute, and adequate. Food is the least bad with Mel's diner on premises. More importantly you're in downtown Reno. Within walking distance is a decent Chinese Restaurant who's name you'll remember as Golden Shower. The cafe at the Nugget in the historic district is a fun destination, for their "Awfully good, awfully large" burgers. When we were there in the wee hours of the morning, I'd never seen such a cast of colorful characters. I felt like I walked straight into a Hunter S. Thompson story.
Being able to park your huge rental truck is an important consideration. Forget Circus-Circus and other hotels with indoor parking. Both the Grand Sierra and Sands are good for trucks.
I love the Best Western at the airport. No slot machines! Its a well-run, civilized family hotel. Obviously not the right place for your Burner afterparty, but if your fried brain needs serenity, this is the place.
If you want a breath of fresh air in downtown Reno, the Truckee River is just a few blocks from the Sands. Turn right for the nicer part. Reno got put on the map by our first transcontinental railroad, which runs along the Truckee up to Donner Pass. The Truckee River is a "sink", which means it never reaches the ocean. Lake Tahoe, which is currently at record water levels, drains through the Truckee into Pyramid Lake, where the river ends in evaporation. I much recommend getting a permit online from the Reservation's visitor center, camping or RV-ing overnight before getting in line, and having a taste of the Pyramid Lake water which is neither sweet nor ocean. Try catching one of the legendary 60 lbs. trout.