Devotees of Alpine Meadows vie for rooms at the exclusive and beautiful Stanford Alpine Chalet (1980 Chalet Rd., 530/583-1550, $220–270), situated right at the base of Alpine’s mountain. With only 14 rooms, you’ll feel like a rock star when you stay here. Guest rooms are done up in simple yet elegant style, with lots of real wood; all rooms have private baths and many have striking mountain views.
Meals are served family or B&B style, at big communal tables. In the summertime, the chalet offers a heated swimming pool, sports courts, and horseshoe pit, while in the winter guests can enjoy a private ski shuttle and the warmth of a giant great room fireplace. The outdoor hot tub lures guests to its bubbling warmth year-round.
Oh, and if you happen to be a Stanford grad, you can get a discount with your alumni membership number.
From the outside, the Cedar House Sport Hotel (10918 Brockway Rd., 866/582-5655, www.cedarhousesporthotel.com, $210–330) looks just like a lodge in a town called Truckee ought to look. Think all-exposed wood exterior, landscaped with live trees, fallen stumps, and a great big rusty steel girder. But don’t let the rustic charm or the name fool you, since the guest room interiors are all about the luxury.
All rooms boast ultra-modern decor that would look great even in San Francisco or Los Angeles, such as light wood platform beds, designer leather chairs and sofas, and shining stainless steel fixtures in the private bathrooms. Choose from comfortable rooms with queen or king beds, or fancy suites with flat-screen TVs and every possible amenity. So where does the “sport” part come in? The staff at Cedar House have the expertise to help you create your Tahoe dream expedition, and if you call in advance they’ll be happy to put together guided hikes, bike rides, and rafting or kayaking trips.
For travelers who prefer an intimate inn to a big impersonal condo block, there’s the Donner Lake Inn (10070 Gregory Pl., Truckee, 530/587-5574, www.donnerlakeinn.com, $176–200). This five-room and one-cabin B&B offers simple charm in pretty, rustic Truckee. Each guest room has its own simple, homelike decorating scheme, without too many flowers or Victorianoid geegaws. You’ll find your own private bathroom with shower, a private entrance to your room, a queen bed, a TV set with DVD player, and free wireless Internet.
Unlike many B&Bs, the Donner Lake Inn even has a “family” room with bunk beds to accommodate a couple with two children. Each morning, the friendly and hospitable owners serve up a delicious full breakfast down in the dining room. Just ask them, and they’ll be happy to help you set up everything from ski days to in-room spa treatments.
For the ultimate convenience in ski vacations, you can get a condo at The Village at Squaw Valley (1750 Village East Rd., Olympic Valley, 866/818-6963, www.thevillageatsquaw.com, $260) and never leave the vicinity of the lifts. Elegant, modern condos can be anywhere from compact studios perfect for singles or couples up through three-bedroom home-away-from-homes that sleep up to eight people traveling together.
The Village condos have full kitchens with all appliances, fully stocked with utensils, and you might even get granite countertops. Each condo also has a living room with TV, maybe even a fireplace, and a dining table at which to serve home-cooked meals. Of all the posh amenities in The Village condos, the skiers’ favorite is almost always the heated tile floors in the private bathrooms and the kitchen.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition