posted in Beyond Food

The Ritz- Carlton: Lake Tahoe (a review)

It’s really great living so close to beautiful Lake Tahoe, so my family tries to get up there as much as humanly possible.  My husband and I snuck away for a couple of nights last week to check out The Ritz- Carlton.  October is considered “off-season” there, so we were able to secure an extremely reasonable rate for this luxury hotel.

Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe

The hotel is located off highway 267 – between King’s Beach and Truckee, and it’s positioned mid-mountain at Northstar Ski Resort.  Travel the winding road off the highway and up the mountain a few miles, and you end up landing in this magical place.  It’s truly a grand sight- like a castle nestled against the mountain.  From the moment we arrived, the staff at the hotel were gracious, professional, polite, helpful and kind.

Welcome Ritz Carlton

Although we paid for our hotel stay, they did know I was coming.  So there was this fun little surprise of goodies waiting in our room.

Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe Deluxe Room

Our room was this exact one:  a deluxe with a view.  The fireplace is a must for being in the mountains, so we totally utilized that.  And there is a little balcony to sneak out onto as well.  We snuck out there often to drink wine and enjoy the mountainside views.

Marshmology Ritz Carlton

Every day from 4 to 5pm, they host a S’Mores event near their fire pit.  Of course, we had to check that out the day we got there.  They had classic marshmallows and some homemade marshmallows too.

Marshmology Ritz

That’s my husband toasting his marshmallow at the fire pit.  We took advantage of this fire pit later in the evening after dinner also to enjoy an after-dinner drink and cuddle by the fire.

Marshmology S'Mores

S’mores done- ta da!  My husband chose to make his with Cookies & Cream Hershey’s Bar instead of regular chocolate.  This was a fun afternoon treat!

Ritz Bocce Ball
There is a bocce ball court nearby and walking paths everywhere.  Can you spot the ski runs of Northstar in the background?

Ritz Carlton Hotel Lobby

Before our first night’s dinner, we found this cozy space in the lobby to enjoy a glass of wine.  The whole resort has a great mountain feel to it.

Manzanita

Dinner the 1st night was at the resort’s restaurant:  Manzanita.  The restaurant has an open kitchen, so you can see it from all over the restaurant (though it’s not noisy).  Manzanita is designed to have a mountain-feel to it, and its menu reflects that too.  They use seasonal produce and feature organic and local meats and products as available.  We sat at that table just to the left of the fire.  It was cozy and quiet.  A bottle of red wine went very well with our meal.  Highlights were the  simple Butter Lettuce Salad with Point Reyes Blue Cheese, and also the featured special:  Roasted Squab.  It was our first time having squab (a bird)- it was roasted perfectly, and it was absolutely delicious.  The twice-baked lemon cheesecake for dessert was also a delight to sample.

Autumn Porridge Ritz Carlton

The best dish of all was this Autumn Porridge.  It was basically like a butternut squash soup that was very chunky and rich and delicious.  LOVED IT.  I want the recipe!

Ritz Carlton Chocolate Chip Cookies

When we came back to our room, we were delighted to find the famous Ritz- Carlton chocolate chip cookies waiting for us.  These are some excellent cookies!

Cafe Blue

The next morning, we headed to Cafe Blue: a cool little spot in the hotel to grab coffee, juice, smoothies, pastries, oatmeal, and egg sandwiches (they also serve paninis for lunch).  We tried the egg sandwiches, which were excellent.

After breakfast, we had a chat with the concierge about hiking trails.  She sent us back to the 267 to drive a couple miles toward the lake, where we found part of the Tahoe Rim Trail.

There is the GORGEOUS view once you get to the top (it’s about a 45 minute hike to the top).

Tahoe Rim Trail View
Top of the world!  All we were missing was wine and cheese and crackers.  Next time, we’re totally bringing a picnic lunch!

Ritz Carlton Backyard BBQ

Since we didn’t have lunch on our hike, we headed to the Backyard Bar and BBQ next to the pool.  They have a smoker and a wood-fired pizza oven on site, so they serve up things like pulled pork, ribs, chicken, and pizza.

Ritz Carlton Tahoe Pool

We had the Ritz- Carlton pool entirely to ourselves that day!  We were thrilled to be in bathing suits and enjoying the warm weather in Tahoe in October.  Amazing!

Ritz Carlton Tri Tip Sandwich

We opted for poolside dining for lunch.  My husband ordered the Tri-Tip sandwich, which came with an array of interesting sauces to choose from- along with the most delicious homemade kettle chips.  I had my sight set on a good dinner, so I opted for a salad.  They also serve cocktails and beer at the pool.

Ritz

After our relaxing day at the pool, we made our way….

Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe Spa

… to the SPA!  Let me just tell you right now that I’m not a spa person at all.  I always consider it too much of an indulgence to spend on myself, so I usually opt-out.  But since we were so excited to have a couple of days to ourselves… and because we never spend any money on stuff like this… we went for it.

Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe Spa Couples Massage

We had a “Cozy Cabin Couples Massage.”  I’ll admit that it was a workout.  The massage therapists really worked out kinks and massaged muscles.  We asked for them to really work on us good, and they did!  It was great because I had so much tension in so many places.  I clearly need to get massages more often!  I also got a facial, which is something I haven’t gotten for like 20 years.  The facial was terrific, and it reminded me that I need to be taking better care of my skin as I get older!

Drunken Monkey Sushi

Our second night for dinner, we snuck off property to go to a nearby sushi place:  Drunken Monkey Sushi.  It’s a short drive away from the hotel- near Truckee.  We don’t have a lot of great sushi in Reno, but Drunken Monkey is my favorite.  Their fish is the freshest around, and they have some really interesting appetizers and other dishes too.

To cap off our last night, we had an after dinner drink next to one of the outdoor fireplaces at the hotel.  It really is a beautiful place, we had an amazing time, and we felt sooooo relaxed.

Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe Winter

And because this is what it looks like in the winter, I am really, really hoping we can come back to stay in their winter wonderland.  Ski in/ Ski Out at Northstar.  That works for me!

A few details about the hotel to note:
*They have a shuttle and will bring you into Northstar Village to shop and eat at the restaurants there.  In the winter, you can ride the gondola to the village.
*The town of Truckee is a 10-minute drive away. It has fun shopping and good restaurants (try Jax at the Tracks Diner for breakfast- it’s GOOD).
*Tahoe City is another nearby town with fun shopping and food.  And it’s right on the lake, so beautiful views too.  Just past Tahoe City (in Homewood) is Sunnyside Restaurant (on the lake)- go there for lunch.
*If you find yourself over in Incline Village, splurge on lunch or dinner or happy hour at Lone Eagle Grille.  It’s right on the lake, and the view is amazing.
*There are lots of outdoor activities are nearby.  In the summer, go rafting, fishing, biking, hiking, golfing, boating, to the beach and more.  In the winter, go snowshoeing, snowmobiling, skiing, or sledding!
*If you want to enjoy a nice beach in the summer, drive to Sand Harbor– it’s the best one.  Get there early because the parking lot fills up quickly in the summer.
*In both the summer and the winter, the hotel offers a camp-like program called, Ritz Kids (9am to 4pm for ages 5 to 12).
*The Ritz charges $35/night for valet parking (they do not have self-parking, so this fee is required).

Disclosure:  This is not a sponsored post.  We paid for our own room at the hotel.  We were hosted one dinner at their signature restaurant:  Manzanita.  Some of the photos in this post were borrowed from The Ritz- Carlton, Lake Tahoe website as they captured part of our experience.

18 Responses to “The Ritz- Carlton: Lake Tahoe (a review)”

  1. postedOct 17, 2014 4:07 AM

    SUCH a beautiful, picturesque setting! Thanks for the review!

  2. postedOct 17, 2014 4:12 AM

    What a dreamy Trip!

  3. postedOct 17, 2014 5:45 AM

    What a stunning place, Lori! I need to show this to my Hubby and mark as a place to go to! Love this post!

  4. postedOct 17, 2014 5:54 AM

    What a perfect location and getaway for you two!

  5. postedOct 17, 2014 7:00 AM
    Liz

    Oh I would love to go there – so beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

  6. postedOct 17, 2014 7:16 AM

    Oh how I miss Tahoe!!! They were just breaking ground on this Ritz-Carlton when we moved away. It turned out gorgeous – just as I imagined. Looks like a great time. Now I know where I want to stay if we ever get back there.

  7. postedOct 17, 2014 7:41 AM
    wendyb964

    We live near Sacramento and love Lake Tahoe year round. Despite the poor snow quality the past few years we get the Tahoe Local Pass allowing us unlimited skiing at Northstar, Kirkwood, and Heavenly 6 days a week. One day last year it was so warm and icy/slushy (Sierra cement is an apt name) I wandered over to the spa and had an awesome afternoon. Biking the slopes or around the lake with a lake front lemon drop and lunch at Sunnyside make for a winning getaway. Yup, we’ve “done the world” travelling and never tire of our local world wonder.

    The Ritz Carlton is definitely worth the splurge. If you haven’t been to Lake Tahoe, PLEASE VISIT. You won’t be disappointed.

    • October 17th, 2014 @ 8:18 AM

      @wendyb964 It’s terrific to have it all so close, isn’t it? I always tell people who have never traveled to Lake Tahoe to plan a trip- they don’t know what they’re missing!!

  8. postedOct 17, 2014 8:16 AM
    Sydney

    What a beautiful place! Maybe I can get my hubby to take me there soon for some well needed r&r.
    Love your blog and recipes Lori!
    Oh, on a side note…I think you meant to say “famous” cookies not “infamous” cookies:)

  9. postedOct 17, 2014 9:10 PM

    We love staying at the Ritz Carlton whenever possible. What a lot of people don’t realize is how wonderfully they cater to the kids. It’s great for a family!! Looks like you had a great time.

  10. postedOct 20, 2014 11:28 AM

    The Ritz in Lake Tahoe is on our list of places to go. So glad you shared this! Saving this for future planning. Looks like my kind of place!

  11. postedOct 20, 2014 5:23 PM
    Lindsay

    This looks absolutely amazing! You had me at the s’mores pit. WOW! What a gorgeous location.

  12. postedOct 22, 2014 5:33 AM

    Just heard about this place recently! I don’t ski but I can’t wait to actually try it out in the summer! As long as I can still try the Marshmology! So fun! Gorgeous photos!

  13. postedOct 23, 2014 1:39 PM

    I was there in the winter last year – it looks so different! I never saw the pool looking like that! The services is exceptional, I just love this place. Traci des Jardins restaurants are all amazing and Manzanita is so delicious. Did you sit at the chef table?

  14. postedOct 27, 2014 12:10 PM

    This is INCREDIBLE!! I’m loving everything about this Ritz Carlton and WILL be checking it out in the future! Marshmology – love it 🙂 And my husband would be all over that sushi place!

  15. postedOct 27, 2014 1:42 PM

    Those chocolate chips cookies are calling my name! Love the S’mores station as well, are those Cookies and Cream Hershey Bars, how were they? That sushi looks great as well, what a fun weekend that must have been 🙂

  16. postedSep 29, 2016 3:19 PM

    Trying to plan winter vacation and remembered this post! Had to come back! The s’mores situation really stuck with me!

    • September 30th, 2016 @ 1:49 PM

      awesome- enjoy!

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