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A South Lake Tahoe hotel roundup

2005-12-24 5 min read Snow Updates marco

This is going to be a little of an ongoing effort. I realized that I have been to a number of accomodations in SLT, and maybe it could be useful to pass on a little information about the hotels and inns of the place if you find yourself in need of advice.

The location: South Lake Tahoe is the biggest city around the lake, and is backed by the highest and largest ski resort in the area (actually, in all of Northern California). SLT, as it is abbreviated locally, is right on the Nevada state line, which means there are casinos aplenty on the other side of the “border.”

SLT is great if you are an all-around person that wants to do a lot of different things and is happy with average Joe features. The best skiing is probably found in Squaw Valley (they tend to look down on boarders, though), while Kirkwood is reputed to be less crowded and more powdery. Squaw has probably the most upscale clientele, too, so if you are into the Finer Things In Life™ (a.k.a expensive and pretentious), that’s where you want to go.

The person: I am a pretty low key, early morning riser with lots of energy once I am on the slopes. When I get down, it’s time for the hot tub, a walk through town, a glass of wine, a round of cuddling if available, and then it’s sleep, coffee, and repeat.

SLT suits me best, because it’s an all around town. It has a 24h supermarket where I can get everything I need at the time I need it. It has a movie theater, restaurants, gyms; heck, it even has schools, high speed Internet access, and all.

My favorite place in SLT yet is the Forest Suites Resort. It is located underneath the gondola, which makes access really easy, and it used to cost just about $100 for a one bedroom suite. At that price, it was unbeatable!

The suites are nice, with the bathroom accessible from outside the bedroom (in case you have guests that’s vital) and a fold out sofa that works pretty well. The kitchens are fully equipped and overall the rooms are a delight.

Amenities include an outdoor hot tub (the pool is closed in the winter), a game room, a fitness/weights room and a breakfast room. The breakfast is lackluster, but compared to everything else I got quite the deal.

A 2006 season update includes that the prices have been seriously jacked up. The weekend suite is now about $180, which is not a good rate any longer.

If you are looking for something big to house a bunch of people, the Lakeland Village is the place to go. You can choose townhomes up to 4 BR with loft, which houses about 12 people or so. The usual amenities, and a bit far off the lifts, but I got there on a company offsite, and we had a blast!

Prices for the smaller units are comparable to others, the bigger units though are a real bargain.

Morning breakfast is not bad at all, the best of the packaged hotels I have had here.

Extremely close to the village and a nice place to stay if bare bones is ok with you. No coffee maker (a deal killer for me), no weight room or other fancy stuff (indoor pool and hot tub, though), no food in the complex, and lots and lots of cheap units. You hear a lot of what’s going on, and overall the construction is quite cheap. The price is right, though, and you should definitely consider staying here.

Breakfast, by the way, is a joke. Two pots of coffee (one regular, one decaf) and the world’s greasiest doughnuts (which the hotel dubs “pastries”), served between 7:30 AM and 8:00 AM.

One of the casinos on the Nevada side of town, Harrah’s has all the comfort and luxury of a Las Vegas style resort. I checked in once and got upgraded to a suite, which was a giant affair on one corner of the building. It had astonishing views, more marble than the quarries in Carrara, and a giant jacuzzi tub. Great place to stay if you don’t mind the price! All thumbs up!

Hey! It’s cheap, it’s located close enough to walk to the Village, and they have parking. I stayed there on the night before the company offsite (when we stayed at the Lakeland Village), and it felt cheap in comparison. But it’s probably because it is cheap!

That’s a place that caters to honeymooners or other people in love. The rooms are smallish, but each one seems to have a tacky pink marble fireplace, the vestige of a renovation that left out more important stuff like the quality of construction.

The breakfast is the usual joke. Here you are invited to “A complimentary Continental breakfast including fresh croissants, donuts, Odwalla juice, and Starbucks coffee.” That’s all served in a lobby the size of a phone booth.

The rooms have a few non-standard features, like microwave ovens (very convenient). All in all, this place feels a lot like someone bought up a really cheap hotel and fixed it up the best they could with the means and patience they had, and now they are trying to upsell it.

Internet connections are free, but the signal strength can be abysmal. And they have the strangest system of surcharges, one thing they really have to do without. Check-in time is 3p, and they wanted to charge me $20 to check in at 2:50p.