by Wendy Irvine
The Resort at Squaw Creek, with 405 luxury hotel rooms, sits five miles from Lake Tahoe, at the very base of world-famous Squaw Valley Mountain. This casual but chic resort verges on becoming my all-time favorite north shore stay. If I had to rate Squaw Creek on a scale from one to 10, I’d give it a perfect 11.
To begin, the resort’s lobby is extremely impressive, boasting soaring floor-to-ceiling windows for a breathtaking view of Squaw Mountain. My kids played on the lobby chess boards for hours while I kicked back in front of the roaring fire inside the giant stone fireplace. Normally, I’m not one to hang out in a hotel lobby, but this one was obviously created for guest relaxation, rather than to serve as a thoroughfare for guests checking in and out.
I was pleasantly surprised that Squaw Creek offers many of the same amenities you’d expect to find in a fine resort, without having an exhausting “sprawl” feeling. Whoever designed Squaw Creek did a superlative job in creating a multi-layered resort with a large grouping of pools, hot tubs, a spa, a salon, restaurants, boutiques and shops, all snuggled together. There’s no cramped feeling at all.
Our Editor Loves
- Fully equipped kitchens
- Kids' program for ages 4 to 12
- Private lift to ski area
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Speaking of guest rooms, these have their own kitchens. I wouldn't go so far as to call them "fully equipped" kitchens, but they're darn functional and are a far cry from being kitchenettes. We had a small stove, a pull-out drawer dishwasher, a microwave, a toaster, a refrigerator, a coffee maker and all of the pots, pans and essentials. We loved it.
The newly remodeled rooms are stunning, have a lodge feel and are immaculately clean. The bathrooms are roomy, and the mountain views are heartbreakingly beautiful.
Even though we were visiting during the last week of October, my kids raced for their bathing suits after overhearing that the Squaw Creek pool is kept at a toasty 84 degrees year-round. Sadly for my kids, the pool with the 120-foot waterslide is only open in the summer, but my apparently pool-starved boys loved splashing with the other visiting kids, who couldn't seem to squeeze in enough pool time themselves before returning home.
Squaw has a great Mountain Buddies program for kids (4 to 12 years of age and potty trained) in the summer with full-day, half-day and evening sessions that get them outside and keep them active.
Squaw Creek also boasts a private ice rink, a golf course and its own private chairlift, which takes you to the main Squaw Valley USA ski area and a ski-in, ski-out location. The ski concierge handles your ski gear, leaving you free to grab a hot chocolate or head to your room for a shower.
For Mom, the Spa at Squaw Creek sits next to the spacious fitness center that allows guests to work out to one of most picturesque views in the world: Squaw Mountain. The spa delivers a relaxing lounge with frothy magazines, hot tea and ice water (and not a kid in sight, I might add). There are also steam rooms in the mens' and women's bathrooms, as well as 10 treatment rooms where you can request a bevy of treatments from hot-stone massages to anti-aging peels. In the Spa Creek Salon, you can request manicures, pedicures and waxing services.
Squaw Creek offers several dining spots, but I particularly enjoyed Sandy's Pub, which is the most comfortable sports bar I've ever encountered. We enjoyed our meals (kids chose from a great kids' menu) and cocktails, and games played on the six big-screen TV's that are sprinkled throughout the room. However, the televisions operated without the intrusiveness of most sports bars, allowing people to have conversations.