We stayed at the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe during the President’s Day weekend as a family of four… two adults, and two smaller kids. Let’s get this out of the way … this hotel is *expensive*. But what you get for staying here is maximum time on skis at the fantastic Northstar ski area. It’s skiing with very little of the hassle that comes from a busy ski resort.
Here’s what you get as a skier at the Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe.
- Location. It’s located a little above Northstar’s “mid-mountain” where all the lifts start. You can ski down on your own from the hotel’s back patio, or take the snowmobile down. At the end of the day, you take the snowmobile back from mid-mountain up to the hotel. I’ve never waited more than five minutes for the snowmobile in either direction.
- Ski Valet. They store your boots and skis for you right at the back patio. No schlepping equipment. They’ll even help you put your boots on, and lay out your skis on the snow. It’s nice at the beginning of the day, but even better at the end … when you really don’t feel like carrying equipment around.
- Ski-in, Ski-Out. I didn’t understand this concept until I stayed here. Being able to leave the hotel on skis and just get going, is a huge time-saver, and considering how much lift tickets can cost, it’s always good to maximize snow time.
- Ski lessons start at the hotel. It was still crowded, but it’s nice to be able to check-in and get going right from the back of the hotel. Avoids the chaotic check-in at the bottom of the mountain.
- The “TrueNorth” ski shop. You can get tickets, rentals, and lessons right here.
- Minimal crowds. I won’t say it’s not crowded because the mountain can be busy, but it’s the best you can get in terms of not having to wait … rentals, gondolas, tickets, lessons.
Beyond the skiing, this property is still a Ritz-Carlton and delivers on the service and property expectation of the brand. The staff members through and through exhibit high levels of courteous, friendly, and attentive service. They are good with kids, and really do look to provide their guests with the best experience possible. And there are a lot of staff … it’s great to get help whenever you need it.
We had a regular room on the fourth floor. It wasn’t a huge room, but it did deliver on expectations with a well furnished and clean room, floor to ceiling windows with a sliding door to a shallow patio, and a nice bathroom with a huge deep tub. The one thing I would say is that the air is very dry … probably due to the altitude and the heater/AC system. You can request a humidifier from housekeeping, and I would recommend it.
In terms of dining, we used the “Mountain Blue” snack shop for breakfast and the Lobby Lounge for dinner. Mountain Blue has some pre-made hot food (things like egg burritos, egg-and-cheese sandwiches, etc.), drinks, and some simple snacks. Not a huge selection, but it worked for us, especially with the kids. The prices are ‘fair’ all things considered, and it probably is a lot cheaper than eating at the main restaurant. The Lobby Lounge is just that … a bunch of sofas and chairs where you can gather with family after skiing and enjoy light food and drinks. It was very crowded when we were there, but it’s also very nice to linger and be with other families enjoying time together. Both Mountain Blue and the Lobby weren't "gourmet" by any stretch, but it was fine for what it is.
A few other thoughts:
- There’s an “Indoor Campout” package for kids. Basically you get a tent, and a little featherbed and blanket inside. It was great for my kindergartener because he made it his own space, and didn’t have to sleep in our bed. Perfect for a room with only a king-bed.
- During these peak holiday seasons, it’s definitely more of a family / kids resort than a quiet adult / couples place. This isn’t a place to get away from noise
In summary, the Ritz-Carlton is a luxury hotel that enables you to maximize the enjoyment of a ski vacation, but you do pay for the privilege. The property is new and very nice, the service met my expectations of the brand, and the dining and amenities were more than sufficient for our family’s needs. I hope to be back again!
- 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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- Also Known As:
- The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe Hotel Truckee