North Lake Tahoe’s Unique Hospitality and Spectacular Setting

A shining northern star
Dest Open Lake

Photo courtesy Resort at Squaw Creek, North Lake Tahoe

While Lake Tahoe’s South Shore is known for bright lights and late-night revelry, North Lake Tahoe, the 30-mile area from Sand Harbor to Meeks Bay, is the “quieter” side of the lake. With two dozen shoreline beaches, 12 world-class ski resorts and old rustic charm at guests’ disposal, North Lake Tahoe offers myriad lodging choices—from simple to simply luxurious.

Located on the California/Nevada state line and just a one-hour drive from Reno International Airport, the area’s convenient location makes North Lake Tahoe a great choice for a long weekend—or a week-long spring ski trip. Recently, we visited four luxurious yet laid-back lodging options for a true northern experience.

Granlibakken Tahoe

Dest Gran Street

Lodging in one of the cabins allows access to onsite “village” amenities like the outdoor heated pool, hiking trails and sauna. Photo by Tor Johnson, courtesy Granlibakken, Lake Tahoe.

At an elevated 6,350 feet and engulfed by Sierra Nevada pine trees, this secluded spot first began as a secret ski, toboggan and sledding hilltop in the early 20th century. In 1940 it was discovered by ski jumper Kjell “Rusty” Rustad, whose vision led to the private 74-acre lodging it has become today. Literally translating to “hill sheltered by trees,” the Granlibakken provides a rejuvenating getaway with private yoga classes, a meditation center and a slew of hosted wellness retreats.

While R&R is the fundamental ideology behind the lodge,  there are thrill-seeking activities, too, with the on-location Aerial Adventure Park that includes ziplines, ropes courses and climbing walls within the trees.

Dest Gran Firepit

Round up some old friends—or make new ones—with communal activities from toasting marshmallows to sledding hills. Photo by Tor Johnson, courtesy Granlibakken, Lake Tahoe.

Eat, Play, Stay

Cedar House Pub and the Gran Spot Grill provide casual dining on the property. Guests are invited to downhill/cross-country ski or sled on the Granlibakken hill that initially drew visitors.  A profusion of sleeping options are available (read: eight different floor plans), from cozy two-person bedrooms to three-bedroom townhomes with fully equipped kitchens, private decks and fireplaces.


Resort at Squaw Creek

Dest Squaw Room

Each of the bi-level Penthouse models includes a resort-style kitchen, living room and picture windows overlooking the alpine peaks. Photo by Jeff Dow, courtesy Resort at Squaw Creek, North Lake Tahoe.

The 1960 Winter Olympics were hosted in Squaw Valley—and for good reason, with more than 450 inches of annual fresh powder, over 270 trails and the longest-extending ski season available in Tahoe. For immediate access to the snow-filled terrain, the expansive yet intimate Resort at Squaw Creek is ideally located at the base of the mountain.

Dest Squaw Fire

Skiers and riders can treat themselves to a little après near the outdoor fireplace. Photo courtesy Resort at Squaw Creek, North Lake Tahoe.

With its three heated pools, stargazing tours, cross-country ski area and 6,000 skiable acres, the property also caters to those looking for a leisurely holiday with the luxury spa, local boutique shops and various cocktail tasting events throughout the year.

Dest Squaw Fog

Wine and dine slope-side, where meals are prepared with seasonal produce and herbs from an on-site garden. Photo courtesy Resort at Squaw Creek, North Lake Tahoe.

Eat, Play, Stay

Six eateries are located on the property, from steakhouse dining at Six Peaks Grille to comforting tavern meals at Sandy’s Pub. Hit the slopes for cross-country, downhill or backcountry trails—all accessible with an Ikon pass. Retreat to one of the 405 rooms ranging from fireplace suites to multi-level penthouses.


Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort

Dest Hyatt Fire

The rustic interior of the Lone Eagle Grille includes a stone fireplace serving as the focal point of the dining area. Photo by Mimi and Coy, courtesy of Hyatt Regency, Lake Tahoe.

The only five-star hotel on the Nevada side, the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe has perfected old-meets-new with its location in the historic Incline Village. Guests are greeted with a glass of bubbly or apple cider upon arrival and can choose from multi-room cottages, spacious suites and standard hotel rooms overlooking the sapphire waterfront and ridgelines. Access to a private beach and treatments at the Stillwater Spa complete the pampering treatment. And for some gaming fun, an on-site casino is located on the main floor.

Dest Hyatt Living

The premium Lakeside and Beachside cottages can entertain up to four visitors each with their spacious 875-square-foot floor plan. Photo by Mimi and Coy, courtesy of Hyatt Regency, Lake Tahoe.

Eat, Play, Stay

The new East Shore Trail is easily accessed with drop-off and pick-up by the hotel valet. For a table with a view, the Lone Eagle Grille at the hotel is situated lakeside to take in unobstructed views of the shoreline and topography. The hotel provides 422 minimalistic-chic rooms, boasting 35 suites and 24 walkout cottages for a greater sense of lakeside hygge.


The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe

Dest Ritz Ext

An exterior view of the property at dusk from the perspective of Northstar Ski Resort. Photo by Chris Cypert, courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.

The Ritz-Carlton is synonymous with luxury lodging—and guests arrive expecting top-notch service, superb dining choices and lavish interior decorating and architecture. The Ritz not only meets expectations but exceeds them, with additional elite amenities including a specialty mountain concierge service delivering guests’ skis slope-side, a 17,000-square-foot mountainside spa and a champagne bar beside an outdoor fire pit.

Dest Ritz Fire

The second-floor “Living Room” invites guests to grab light fare and libations by the 55-foot-tall fireplace. Photo by Chris Cypert, courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.

The biggest draw? The hotel sits mid-mountain, with a ski-in and ski-out gateway to Northstar Resort (part of Vail Resorts’ Epic Pass) with 100 trails, 3,170 skiable acres and eight terrain parks.

Dest Ritz Bar

The outdoor patio hosts a champagne bar and other fun treats. Photo by Chris Cypert, courtesy The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe.

Eat, Play, Stay

Unwind in one of the 153 deluxe rooms and 16 executive suites. Or, splurge either on the Ritz-Carlton Suite or Residential Suites that are multi-bedroom. Dine at Manzanita, where technique-forward preparation of simplistic, local ingredients orchestrated by executive chef Diogo Porto are in store. Convenient slope-side access is offered to Northstar Resort, or take the gondola down to Incline Village for an afternoon of ice skating and après.

Categories: Mountain Travel