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Hot List 2010
The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe, Truckee, California
13031 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Court
Tel: 800 542 8680
Tel: 530 562 3000
This mid-mountain lodgeLake Tahoe's first new-build hotel in decadeshangs its hat on service, starting the moment you pull into its roundabout. While one bellhop whisks your snowboard to the ski concierge, another attends to your bags; and as the valet pulls your car into heated underground parking, still another escorts you to check-in. The main entry is equally impressive: Imagine you've pulled back the boughs of a giant pine and entered a posh tree house, the trunk of which is the 55-foot-high granite fireplace column. Tiers extend from this anchor like branches, creating comfy landings with plush couches (perfect spots for après-ski drinks). In the upper tier, 25-foot-tall windows offer stunning forest views and flood the room with natural light. The autumny hues found here and in the 170 spacious accommodations are nature-inspired, but there's more eco to this hotel than just the color palette. Old trees were left untouched during construction, and boulders unearthed for the foundation were used in rock walls. Guest rooms are mountain oases, with floor-to-ceiling windows, gas fireplaces, dark leather chairs and ottomans, and spa-like bathrooms with deep-soaking tubs. Completing the package is Manzanita, featuring the France-meets-California creations of San Francisco chef Traci Des Jardins.
Which room to book: Even-numbered rooms face the slopes; odd-numbered ones have down valley vistas, but if you're not on an upper level, you'll be in plain view of those disembarking from the gondola connecting the hotel to Northstar-at-Tahoe's new base village.
Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.