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“Fantastic Family Ski Vacation” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

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The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe
5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   13031 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Court, Truckee, CA 96161   |  
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Ranked #1 of 14 Hotels in Truckee
Certificate of Excellence 2014
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
170 helpful votes 170 helpful votes
“Fantastic Family Ski Vacation”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2013

We just stayed at the Ritz Carlton for 3 night after the New years buzz was over. Our two tween sons could have not been happier. The rooms were superb, even though they could not accomodate our initial request for 2 Queen beds, they made our boys very welcome with comfortable roll aways. The room was not to cramped, as I first was worried about. Comfy beds, roomy bathrooms, and roomy closet. Imagine that! For all that ski gear!. Manzanita restaurant was superb and they were very kid friendly without loosing style. Breakfast buffet was amazing. The best was the concierge ski service. At first I thought it was a gimmick, but quickly realized how nice it was to have my ski's waiting for me and hop on and off without having to carry them around.It made for a very stress free skiing experience. You can ski right up and hop off to lunch without looking back, now that is a vacation, mom not having to track every piece of equipment! Loved the spa, I used it twice. Very good massages. In the evenings we hung out in the spacious lobby by the fireplaces. It was truly a relaxing holiday cant wait to get back next season.

Room Tip: we had the 'Not so desirable" view away from the mountain, but even that was nice. There se...
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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446 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (128)
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English first
San Francisco, California
Top Contributor
121 reviews 121 reviews
42 hotel reviews
Reviews in 55 cities Reviews in 55 cities
120 helpful votes 120 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 5, 2013

My husband and I spent 5 nights at the Ritz Carlton North Star over Christmas. It is a beautiful hotel and overall, the friendliness of the personnel stood out.

The property is impressive with with ski-in/ski-out and a convenient ski concierge. There is also a gym, yoga room, spa (with gender-specific saunas, hot tubs, steam rooms), outdoor swimming pools (lap & regular). In the afternoon, there is an opportunity to make smores over a fire and we had fun making a snow man.

The dispute over the gondola seems to be ongoing with North Star and the Ritz blaming each other. The reality is, the gondola was not turned on for the first few days and taking the small bus down to North Star in the blizzard was not a fun experience. The bus driver dropped us off, telling us pick up would be in the same spot. I think the reality is, they don't have an assigned pick up spot, so we had to be on the lookout to not miss the bus on the way up, as it stopped somewhere entirely different. While they say they have three busses running, we waited quite a while (more than the supposed 15 minutes) and an older man said he waited an hour. When he asked the bus driver he pretty much ignored him. Not up to Ritz standards.

The outdoor hot tubs are too far from the actual hotel. When it was snowing, we could not actually make it there without sliding and freezing, as it's a long way to go through a high cover of snow. Other ski hotels we have stayed at in Colorado usually have the hot tub right next to the hotel exit. It seems this hotel is more built for summer guests.

Unable to get to the outdoor hot tub the first few days, we had to sit alone in our gender-separated hot tubs in the spa. At least a gay couple friendly atmosphere.

We ate at Manzanita three times, the best restaurant at the hotel. Otherwise, there is the "Living room" a sitting area that is too small when the hotel is busy, and the menu is very short. If you have any kind of dietary restrictions, you are almost out of luck, e.g. gluten free, low fat.

The coffee shop is nice but a bit disorganized; no gluten-free food here. Back to Manzanita, the two dinners we had were ok. For the very steep prices, it was disappointing. There was no real holiday menu, even on Christmas day there was no turkey, ham or anything of the kind to be found. If you compare Manzanita to the restaurant at the Ritz in Half Moon Bay, there is just no comparison. If you charge me a fortune, live up to it.

Breakfast was good, although we only noticed that there was a buffet on the way out. Nobody mentioned it. They were able to get me a boiled egg after I asked, in a coffee cup. An egg holder would have been a nice touch.

The spa was nice and I really enjoyed the yoga room where they have mats, bolsters etc. and the lady working there was very helpful. The view from the room on the mountain is unbelievable.

Skiing out as great but skiing back was a bit surprising. My husband hurt himself and it was a very challenging way back to the hotel; certainly not for beginners. Not sure how they get back.
The snow was the best I have seen in Tahoe, powder!

We ended up in a Mountain View room, as all other rooms had been booked for $670 a night. Of course, you have to add $25 spa fee, $35 parking fee, and a bunch of other fees for breathing the air and walking through the hotel. The room was VERY nice, spacious, with a big bed and lovely bathroom. We looked out right on the slope. I think the secret is to be on a high level. You can't put anything in the fridge, as it is one of those automatic charging ones, but in the winter you can just put your champagne on the small balcony ledge :-). We also had a nice fireplace.
The temperature was a challenge. We like to sleep in a cold room. When you turned off air-conditioning, it was still warm. When you turned the air down it was very noisy and kept running like it never reached the temperature. We ended up sleeping with a slightly open balcony door - but it ended up snowing in and we kept opening and closing it. Not ideal!

I am starting to think that the Fairmont is overtaking the Ritz with their service. Last year we stayed at the Fairmont Whistler, and they had some free offering in the lobby every day, like chestnuts or other treats. The Ritz had hot cider late in the afternoon, one day it was almost cold. The first few days they had cinnamon sticks but once more people arrived they did not refill them. That was a nice touch.

It happened to be my husband's birthday during our stay. A few days before our arrival, we got contacted by a service representative of the Ritz. It always makes me laugh, as by that time, most people have everything booked up; it would be too late for Xmas dinner reservations etc. One should really get contacted right after booking. Anyhow, I decided to get my husband a massage and mentioned his birthday. Kevin, the representative, offered to send a free cake to our room as a surprise. He said it would be there by the time we get in.

The day before we arrived, I remembered that my husband eats gluten-free, and send a note to Kevin, asking if it was too late to send something else. If it was, no problem. Turns out Kevin had an out-of-office response for the time of our arrival. Well, my bad.

We arrived, and no cake was in the room. A few days later, Kevin emailed me, asking if everything went well and he was sorry he could not send anything gluten-free as he only got the note. I responded saying, unfortunately. nothing had been sent at all (and I had told my husband and we were excited to get SOMETHING free from the Ritz). Well, I never got any response after that. Disappointing!

Overall, I am not sure I would come back. It's just so overpriced. For almost $800 a night, I do expect a lot and it was just not enough. For the same money, I could rent a VERY nice large cabin in Tahoe, which is what well probably do next time. We picked the Ritz to be spoiled be luxury and great food, but it was just ok. Beautiful setting but the rest underdelivered.

Room Tip: Try to get a high floor or you won't see anything. They call Mountain Room also Preferred Room.
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Corona del Mar, California
19 reviews 19 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 3, 2013

We did not stay at the Ritz but we played there as we were at the Constellation at Northstar and they share services. Staff is superb and the food at Manzanita is terrific! Mitchell treated us like kings/queens (manager of Manzanita) and we would go back just to eat at his fine restaurant as long as he was still there!
Fitness club perfect and the spa staff/facilities A+++

Room Tip: View of the valley is the best
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Madison, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 2, 2013

Held a corporate meeting in June and had a wonderful experience. Very peaceful and relaxing for the group. The staff was awesome, rooms beautiful, food wonderful and views stunning. The group feedback was "please let us come back again soon".

  • Stayed June 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles, California
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 26, 2012

I've just returned from an unforgettable weekend trip to the Ritz Lake Tahoe and can say that I wish I was still there. Situated mid-mountain in Northstar, you can't beat the location. This, coupled with perfect snow and the Ritz Carlton service experience was what created the trip of a lifetime. Additionally, try the Manzanita restaurant on premises: great local food and fairly extensive wine list. A skier's dream.

  • Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
18 reviews 18 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

We stayed at this hotel in the beginning of November, before the ski season started. The hotel was quite empty and maybe because of this we got a great corner room overlooking both the ski slope as well as the pool area. The room had a great fireplace and was up to Ritz Carlton standards. Spectacular views.

During our stay there was a fire alarm which went off around 6am causing us to rush outside in the cold. The staff however were there with hot coffee to keep us warm while he fire department cleared us to re enter. I thought that they may have offered us breakfast or some other offer to make up for the cold early morning intrusion, but it was not to be.

It really is a beautiful location with well appointed rooms and very good service. The hotel is about 8 to 10 minutes from the lake if you want to take the time to explore the beautiful Tahoe area with its breathtaking scenery.My one issue is that the restaurant selection was a bit limited, but maybe is was because we were pre season.

I look forward to returning to this hotel sometime during the season. Lake Tahoe is a beautiful place, and the Ritz Carlton is an ideal place to enjoy it from.

Room Tip: The corner rooms are excellent
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore, Singapore
13 reviews 13 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2012

I stayed here after staying at the Marriot Grand Residence at South Lake Tahoe. I got stuck in a snow storm on the CA267 on the way there - a scary experience for someone not familiar with driving in such conditions. The car was sliding from side to side and we had to pull over to the side. I had snow chains but did not know how to put them on - for visitors from places that don't snow - make sure you have snow chains or a 4WD with snow tires. An amazing American Chinese lady stopped to actually help me to put them on (yup, in the middle of a snow storm). Called the hotel initially to tell them my predicament but the best they could suggest was to give me the number of someone who could help me chain the car up.
That was the not-so-nice part but it proved a blessing in disguise as this was the first big snowfall in days which meant great skiing for my sons aged 14 and 8. I must say that the ski valets are amazing. Andille in particular was full of enthusiasm and would rush to meet my sons to get their skis from them.
It's almost ski out and ski in (you have ski down a short distance to the lifts but you can ski back to the doorstep (and are met by the ski valets). Getting kitted out with rental ski gear and lift passes was effortless and seamless as it was all done at the hotel. They also arranged a great coach in Randy Bell for my sons.
If you don't ski, you have to trudge down about 100 yards to the ski lift area. The hotel has a snow mobile standing by to give you a lift from the hotel to the ski lift area too. The slopes near the hotel were pretty quiet so it was nice for skiing. Overall the hotel was also pretty quiet - I saw perhaps only about a dozen other guests on any one day. There is some downside to this - the breakfast buffet wasn't operating and the hotel car that brings you down to the village wasn't as frequent as perhaps I had anticipated it to be. Note that you are a bit of a captive in this luxury fortress mid-mountain. The gondola to the village wasn't running (I read anotheer reviewer who said that it hadn't been for almost a year for financial reasons) so the only way to get down to the village (a 15 minute drive away) is either to drive yourself (rather tiresome) or take the Hotel's Cadillac SUV. They told me that it would run every 15-30 minutes and so I took it down to the village. I waited over 30 minutes at the village to return later on and had to call (twice). The car duly came in the 15 minutes or so it takes to get down. I guess it wouldn't have made sense for the driver to make 15-30 minute loops with no passengers on some of the runs - so if it's quiet, it's best to call the hotel to tell them you've been waiting than wait indefinitely for the car to get you back up.
Northstar village is small. cosy and modern but things probably get kicking in the evening and night. There were a couple of restaurants. I ate in the hotel for my 2 nights there and the food at Manzanita was divine (I'll review that seperately) but it would have been nice to have a bigger choice of other food outlets easily accessible (as one reviewer mentioned - no matter how nice the food, you'll probably like a change after a while).
Check in and out was very quick and everyone ever so nice. I had two rooms facing the mountains (odd numbered). If you want to face the ski slope, you'll need an even numbered room.
They have smores at 4pm every day and it was wonderful for visitors to experience this. It was quiet so there were almost as many hotel staff setting things up as guests.
The room was luxurious - what you'd expect of a Ritz Carlton but the bed didn't really suit me - it had this underlay which made me feel as if I was floating on something squishy whilst asleep. I preferred the matress at the Marriot's Grand Residence - someone should have a mattress menu just as they have a pillow menu. The fireplace was nice in the room but beware the ledge - my wife, son and myself knocked our feet on the fireplace ledge at some time or other. I liked the complimentary water and the twice a day housekeeping.
Overall, great experience to be pampered but of course it comes at a cost. Will try to come back to stay here.

Room Tip: Ask for an even numbered room if you want to face the ski slope
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  • Stayed December 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Address: 13031 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Court, Truckee, CA 96161
Phone Number:
Location: United States > California > Lake Tahoe (California) > Truckee
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#1 Family Hotel in Truckee
#1 Romantic Hotel in Truckee
#1 Business Hotel in Truckee
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:5 star — The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe 5*
Number of rooms: 171
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Featuring a mid-mountain location on Northstar California, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is the first and only AAA Five Diamond mountain resort in California. Highlights include luxurious guest rooms and suites with in-room fire places and floor-to-ceiling windows; ski-in/ski-out access on Northstar California with ski valet services; a 17,000 sq ft slopeside spa with treatments themed around water and woods; extraordinary dining in Manzanita featuring rustic California cuisine with mountain resort influences; a signature "Marshmology" experience each evening at the fire pit featuring the “Art of the S’more"; and a comprehensive children’s program allowing parents to make the most of their Lake Tahoe vacationDuring the winter season, The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe’s mid-mountain location provides for ski-in / ski-out access to Northstar California, consistently touted as one of the nation’s best family-friendly ski resorts. With a slope-side location on Northstar’s “Big Easy” run, the ski-in/ski-out access can be enjoyed by skiers and riders of any level. When you are ready for a day on the mountain, simply head down to mountain concierge where the ski valets will assist you with your boots and escort you to your skis and poles waiting on the slopes. Northstar offers world-class grooming and provides a plethora of family activities in the Village at Northstar accessed from the hotel by an intermountain gondola. At the heart of the Village is a 9,000 sq ft ice skating rink surrounded by cozy fire pits and a variety of options for shopping, dining and entertainment. During the summer months, Northstar transforms into family-friendly playground offering the region’s best mountain adventure. Families and their four-legged friends will love hiking the easy loop to Sawmill Lake. After a day on the mountain, guests can gather around the fire pit with The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe Marshmologist for complimentary s’mores, enjoy cocktails on the resort’s heated outdoor terrace or enjoy a game of bocce in the backyard. ... more   less 
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