Welcome to Backpacker’s Boutique. Every Sunday, this spot will feature a new travel blogger. Some weeks it will be a really fun interview about packing, fashion, and fitness so you can snoop inside their bags & lives a little bit and other weeks it’ll be a detailed luxury guide to a city the featured blogger/expat knows very well. E-mail me if you’d like to be featured.
A Luxury Guide to Lake Tahoe
Tell us a little about yourself and tell us why you’re an expert on luxury travel in Lake Tahoe.
Long before I became an international traveller, I was visiting Lake Tahoe on a regular basis. My parents bought a cabin on North Shore before I was born. I guess you could say it was my second home growing up, but now I consider it my first home. It’s where my best childhood memories come from and where I go whenever I am in need of rest and relaxation. I pretty much know the place backwards and forewords, including how to enjoy the luxuries Tahoe has to offer. Specifically I’ll be focusing on North Shore because it’s what I know. Plus, I believe it’s the best shore… though I might be a little bit biased. ☺
What makes Lake Tahoe a perfect destination for travelers seeking a glamorous trip?
Lake Tahoe is so much more than just the stunning nature that it is famous for. The towns around the lake cater to every type of visitor, from families to campers to luxury travelers. If you are looking for a glamorous trip, Lake Tahoe is the perfect place to get cozy in a peaceful resort tucked away in one of the most beautiful natural environments on Earth. Lakeside fine dining, sunset boat cruises, and local boutique shops are just some of the highlights of you can expect from a trip to Lake Tahoe.
What 5 star hotel is the best in your town?
The Ritz Carlton, without a doubt. Nestled amongst the towering pine trees, this luxury mountain resort features personal fire-places in each room, a spa and fitness center, a pool in the middle of the mountains, access to snowboarding and skiing in the winter, and access to hiking and beaches during the summer.
They also have five unique dining options to choose from and fire pits next to which you can enjoy a delicious cocktail. It’s the kind of resort that you could spend your whole vacation in (not that I would ever recommend doing that).
What about boutique hotels, of them all, which would you send your friends or family to stay at?
Honestly, I would recommend skipping the boutique hotels and looking into AirBnb and Vacation Rental By Owner (VRBO). Most of the cabins in Lake Tahoe are vacation homes. Whether you are looking for a small apartment or an entire luxury cabin to yourself, you can find it on these sites. This way you get the privacy of your own place and the luxury of the beautiful homes people have in Tahoe. Plus, staying in a rental cabin adds a nice homey feel to your vacation.
Are there any fun activities for the adventurous traveler?
Where to begin? Lake Tahoe is the perfect place for someone who wants to rest in luxury in the evening, but adventure nonstop during the day. Lake Tahoe is famous for its powdery snow, perfect for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing.
Still, don’t think of Lake Tahoe as a winter-only destination. During the summer you can go hiking, hang at the beach, or rent a boat, paddleboard, or kayak. Lake Tahoe is ideal for nature lovers as almost all the best activities are outdoors.
Where are the best hang outs during the day?
In summer, it’s all about the beach. King’s Beach and Sand Harbor are two of my favorite beaches on North Shore as they have a lot of shopping and dining options nearby, but they also have lots of water activities available. So you can lounge about and work on your tan, or you can rent a paddle board/kayak/boat/etc. and explore the unbelievably clear lake.
In winter I recommend Squaw Village. Besides great access to the slopes, they have a massive ice-skating rink and a bunch of cute shops. It’s worth a visit just to sip hot cocoa next to one of the outdoor fire pits.
If you have a big date night, what are the most delicious restaurants in Lake Tahoe and what are their best dishes?
One of the best ways to dine in Lake Tahoe is lakeside. One of my favorite lakeside fine dining restaurants is West Shore Café. The restaurant extends onto the pier, so you can dine by the water or even show up via boat. Their menu changes seasonally, but they have some of the best sweet potato fries I’ve ever tasted. I’m also a big fan of their seafood. Pretty much everything they make here is delicious. Make sure to start with their take on a Moscow Mule, the Meeks Mule.
For something a little more intimate, head to The Soule Domain. The cozy cabin makes a great date setting and the food is to die for. They even cater to vegans, so everyone can enjoy the mouthwatering meals here.
Let’s talk desserts- what place makes the best?
Okay, so this isn’t the most luxurious place to dine, but Mourelatos Cable Car Ice Cream is famous. There’s almost always a line and it is always worth the wait. However, if you are looking for sit-down service, head over to Jake’s on the Lake. Their hula pie is a meal of its own. It’s definitely meant to share. For those of you who don’t know, hula pie is a chocolate cookie crust with macadamia nut ice cream piled on top, covered with chocolate fudge, whipped cream, and macadamia nuts. I’m drooling just thinking about it.
Tell us all the hot shopping spots; who’s carrying the trendy local designers?
While there are plenty of cute shops around the lake, I would recommend heading to Truckee if you interested in serious shopping. Though the main street in Truckee is small, it is lined with great boutique shops. The shops in Truckee carry really unique items that you can’t find anywhere else. They also have a few shops filled with locally made goods. My favorite shops there are Artisan’s Market Place and Bespoke. Oh and the candy shop, of course.
What are a couple of the best salons and spas in Lake Tahoe?
1862 David Walley’s Hot Springs & Day Spa is a little bit south of the lake, but it is worth the drive. For $50 you get full day access to the hot springs, steam room, dry sauna, and pool. Once you’re there you can also purchase spa treatments from their extensive list of offerings. Go during the weekend and you can enjoy poolside cocktails as well!
Time for a great sunset view… where would you go?
There is nothing quite like sunset on the water. The Safari Rose is a two-hour sunset cruise around the lake that includes cocktails and appetizers. There is also the Tahoe Queen Dinner Cruise, which includes dinner, cocktails, and a sunset that will blow your mind.
Now that the sun’s gone down, fill us on the best places to go for some evening drinks or a great pre-gaming spot.
Two of the most popular places to get drinks are Sunnyside and Lone Eagle. Sunnyside has a beautiful deck next to the lake while Lone Eagle has fire pits along the beach. You’ll notice there is a bit of a theme in Lake Tahoe… the closer to the lake the better. Another great place to drink by the lake is Gar Woods, where they are famous for the “Wet Woody”. In fact, they have an entire Wet Woody menu. There really is no better way to end a day in Tahoe than sitting by the lake and sipping a cocktail. Every time I’m there, I feel like I’ve found my own little slice of paradise.
When Sarah was 16, she was jumping off a bridge over Victoria Falls in Africa, trusting one small bungee cord to hold her. Thus began a lifetime of adventure. She is now a certified travel addict, exploring the world one country at a time and recording her journey on her blog, Autobiography of an Adventurer. Whether she’s getting her feet tickled by a stranger on a ten hour bus ride through southern India or washing elephants in a river in Thailand, she’ll tell you the whole story. You can also keep up with her adventures on Instagram and Twitter as well.
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That sunset = swoon! Lake Tahoe is a special place. <3