Winter Wonderland

The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe lobby at night

Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe Elevates the Standard for Alpine Luxury

TRUCKEE, Ca. – From its lofty, mid-mountain perch, the swanky Five-Star Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe looks out over the unassuming Martis Valley. Every dime of the $300 million price tag is evident from the moment you arrive at the doorstep of this sophisticated ski retreat. When you pull into the valet parking aisle (which is mandatory) after a considerable climb, you’re greeted by a fashionably-dressed attendant who appears to have stepped from the pages of a J. Crew catalog. 

Proceed through the stately tree-shaped entryway and let the pampering begin. 

The Lake Tahoe Ritz is the franchise’s second-ever mountain resort, and comes complete with all of the luxury touches you’d expect and then some. Each of the 153 deluxe guest rooms is equipped with remote-controlled fireplaces, wired multimedia stations, around-the-clock room service and flat-screen televisions. The contemporary property also offers 16 suites featuring Jacuzzi tubs, 25 fractional ownership units and 23 private residences. During the winter season, normal room rates range from $350-799.

Access to the Northstar-at-Tahoe ski area is practically right at your doorstep. Mid-mountain Northstar chairlifts provide ski in, ski out service and can quickly whisk Ritz-Carlton guests away to the snow-packed slopes. Restaurants and shops at the nearby Village at Northstar are connected to the Ritz-Carlton by an inter-mountain gondola. 

If you prefer to dine in, The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe’s signature restaurant is presided over by one of the San Francisco Bay area’s most esteemed chefs. Manzanita treats guests to fine dining with flair, and is the vision of Traci Des Jardins, best known for her French-California cuisine. A warm and earthy lobby bar features cocktails, lighter fare and sweeping views of the surrounding Sierra Nevada Mountains. 

No expense was spared in creating the resort’s lavish 17,000-square-foot spa. The menu includes an Organic Marine Algae Mineralizing Envelopment and Rain Shower, organic massages and facials, manicures and pedicures, as well as spinning, yoga and Pilates. New spa services planned for winter 2010 include renewal rituals that combine spa treatments and workouts. 

The resort also offers a fitness center, heated outdoor pool and a co-ed spa lap pool, plus a pinyon pine steam room.

“It’s completely unique to have this property now in Lake Tahoe, it’s one of the first 5-Star resort developments,” Caroline Beteta, a California Travel and Tourism Commission representative, told KCRA of Sacramento. 

The exterior of the beautiful Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe 

Opened in December 2009, the Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe was the first new resort property introduced to the Lake Tahoe area in decades. A bountiful and extended winter season where some resorts exceeded their average, receiving more than 600 inches of snowfall, made it a banner year. The Ritz-Carlton certainly reaped the benefits. 

“The performance of the hotel January through April was ahead of all expectations,” Spokesperson Steven Holt told “The snow was amazing and we had a really successful debut season.”

When the winter weather lets up, guests of the Ritz-Carlton can make guaranteed tee times at two of California’s premier alpine golf courses – Gray’s Crossing and Old Greenwood. 

If you go: The Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe is served by the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, which is approximately 45 miles from the mid-mountain resort. The airport’s leading carrier is Southwest, which recently merged with AirTran and will be providing service to more locations in the upcoming months. Despite being located less than an hour from nearby ski retreats, the RTIA has never experienced a closure due to snow. 

By car, The Ritz is only 15 minutes from Lake Tahoe and the charming mountain town of Truckee. Sacramento is less than 100 miles away, and San Francisco is approximately 200 miles to the west. 

Ritz-Carlton Highland, Lake Tahoe at a Glance

Architects: Hornberger + Worstell (San Francisco, Ca.)
Rooms: 153 Guest Rooms, 16 Suites
Meeting Space: 15,000 Square Feet
Closest Airport: Reno-Tahoe International (45 minutes)
Elevation: 6,800 Feet
Address: 13031 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Court, Truckee
Phone: (530) 562-3000 or (800) 241-3333



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