All About the Extras
The daily resort fee of $30 per room covers guestroom wired or wireless high-speed Internet access, local telephone calls, toll-free telephone access, daily newspaper, shuttle or Highlands Gondola services within Northstar Resort, spa amenities (yes!), the fitness center, adult pool, daily group exercise and in-room coffee.
Nice perk: Check out is at noon, but if you want to savor a longer day at the lake or on the slopes, you're welcome to shower and change in the Highlands Spa and head home comfortable and happy.
The Concierge will provide childcare names and contact information to guests upon request.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe offers a full-service Business Center available for copies, faxes or use of computers. Internet access is also included in the $30 per day resort fee. The Business Center is open 24/7. You'll also find a Technology Butler who explains and helps with the available technology, a Conference Concierge available for meetings and special events, and on-site audio-visual services to meet a guest's audiovisual needs
Equipped with state-of-the art cardio and weight machines. Disposable head phones on hand to watch television or listen to music on the cardio machines. Towels and ice water are also available for guests. Kids between the ages of 12 to 15 years may use the fitness center facilities only when accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is located 15 minutes from Lake Tahoe, 45 minutes from the Reno, Nevada airport, two hours from Sacramento and four hours from San Francisco. The North Lake Tahoe Express provides daily airport shuttle service to and from North Lake Tahoe and the Reno-Tahoe Airport. Reservations are required. The South Lake Tahoe Express is another clean, reliable shuttle that provides service to and from the Reno-Tahoe Airport to South Lake Tahoe. Reservations are required.
Valet Parking is $39 per night. Self parking is not available. You'll find a long list of taxis on MagicYellow.com. Private car and SUV service to and from the airport can be arranged through Reno Tahoe Limousine Service.
The Art of Smart Timing
The quiet months (i.e. best deals to be found) at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe are September through November. May is also a quiet time to visit before the rush of Memorial Day.
Peak season: December through March when the skiing gets good. Mid-week is an outstanding time to visit if you want to ditch the crowd.
Winter ski season generally runs from December into March depending upon the snowfall. Holidays and school breaks are, of course, crowded times to visit the Ritz. Weeks directly following holidays are usually quiet.
July is a cool time to visit in the summer to see the fireworks on 4th of July spraying directly over the lake or catch the beloved Shakespeare Festival at Sand Harbor running usually mid-July through mid-August.
And, last, the beauty of fall in Tahoe. Visit in September when you can often squeeze in beach days without the crowds. October is awesome thanks to those glorious trees that put on quite the show in extravagant yellow and crimson.
For Mom and Dad
The Northstar-at-Tahoe golf course is an 18-hole, par-72 (men and women) course that will both challenge golfers' skills and give them an abundance of natural beauty to enjoy. Providing a rugged, wooded landscape with wavy bunkers and putting greens, this active golf course is a joy to play.
This course offers four tee locations and carries a rating of 72.4 from the Northern California Golf Association. The Mountain nine demands precise, tight play through tree-lined fairways and across small greens. Also offered is a golf pro shop and clinics and lessons for all skill levels.
Highlands Spa and Fitness Center
The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe spa boasts a 17,000-square-foot spa and fitness center with 16 treatment rooms, a sauna, a great steam room (one for the women, another for the men), a multi-head shower system (insist on directions; I couldn't figure it out), a large, comfortable whirlpool and separate men and women lounge rooms complete with a fireplace, iced water and light snacks.
For the mom on the loose check out the Drift to Sleep treatment with 120 minutes of massage that'll reduce you to melted butter. (This could be the world's best gift idea for a mom.)
But if you're looking to bring back a little of what the kids escaped with years ago, definitely take a trip on the Couples Journey. I peeked into the beautifully appointed treatment room for couples and was just a little jealous to see a gleaming copper tub big enough for two, side-by-side treatment beds and a fireplace all overlooking a beautiful alpine view. If he's not the spa type tempt him with what awaits: a gentle scrub and a deeply relaxing aromatherapy scalp with full-body massage. All enjoyed together. (He'll become the spa type.)
One of the perks of being a Ritz-Carlton guest is that you can use the spa amenities without purchasing a treatment. Lounge in the steam and sauna rooms, prune-out in the whirlpool and soak in all of the relaxing, mellow vibe you can handle.
The two swimming areas include a secluded lap pool and a relaxing slope side pool paired with a whirlpool and childrens' play pool (all kept nice and toasty in the winter). The fitness center provides disposable headphones, televisions and music on all of the state-of-the art cardio machines.