Hotel Review: Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe

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During the winter months, the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe offers ski-in/ski-out access to the Northstar ski resort. During the summer, the resort has hiking, biking, stargazing, and even a “S’moreologist” at the fire pit. The resort has 170 rooms and suites, and the sixth (top) floor is occupied by the residences. The rates in the summer are only a fraction of the cost of the winter rates, so I decided to try out the resort first during the low season. I reserved a room at the best available rate online, then called to upgrade to a Club level room using one of the annual Ritz-Carlton credit card confirmed upgrades.

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Entering the lobby, I felt like I had stepped into a cozy mountain retreat. I could only imagine how amazing it must be during the wintertime.

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There was a complimentary tea and coffee station.

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The host at check-in was welcoming, confirmed my Club room reservation, and asked which view I preferred. He said during the winter, people prefer views of the mountainside. During the summer, he thinks the better view is of the other side facing the valley. I chose the valley view, and he said we wouldn’t be disappointed. He gave me the room key, and gestured for me to take an apple and enjoy some tea/coffee before heading to the room.

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On the way to the room, I saw a fun touch for the younger set (or young at heart) – an arcade. I continued to the elevator and went up to the 5th floor, where our room was.

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Once inside the room, the bathroom was directly to the left. It was clean, and was stocked with plenty of towels, cotton balls, and Q-tips.

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There was a double sink, and I was happy to find amenities from the pleasantly mild smelling Bulgari’s white line.

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The walk in shower even had a wall mirror and small built-in raised corner for shaving.

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The extra deep tub was just right for a hot soak.

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The room had a cabin feel, and was intuitively designed.

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A flat screen TV was positioned over the fireplace, which could be activated with the touch of a button.

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There was plenty of closet space, and there were double robes, slippers, and mirrored closet doors.

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There was a desk, and one of the drawers had a tag on it to indicate that when the drawer was opened, it flipped down to reveal a charging area. Clever.

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The gondola still runs during the summer, so people can get down to the Village which has restaurants and shops. I could see it in the distance, swinging this way and that. The front desk host was right, the view from this room was spectacular.

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The do not disturb sign was a bit whimsical.

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Each Ritz-Carlton Club Lounge is different, but the complimentary food and drinks for guests staying on the Club level are a main feature of all locations. Many offer an extensive breakfast buffet, lunchtime array of sandwiches, afternoon tea with snacks, and in the early evening there are cocktails and appetizers. Later on in the evening The Club has chocolates and cordials.
Entering the lounge for the afternoon presentation, I saw a table piled high with treats. There were house made cookies and sweets of all sorts.

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The lounge was large, and as soon as I rounded the corner I was greeted warmly by a member of the staff. She introduced herself, and the other two lounge attendants. Ever so helpful, she even provided a little tour to show what they had on offer that afternoon.

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Everything was fresh, and anytime I needed anything a member of the lounge staff was right there to assist. I made a dietary inquiry, and the attendant even said she’d pass on my preference to the chef so that when I returned there’d be something that fit that request.

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There was even a kids station, which I may or may not have enjoyed as well.

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Later in the evening, I stopped by to take a quick look at the offerings. There were plenty of delicious choices, and even a dedicated chocolate table of fondue, brownies, and cookies. True to the attendant’s word, the chef had prepared something that met my inquiry from earlier. Another lounge attendant was present this time, and I got the same greeting. Friendly handshake, introduction, and impeccable service.

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I retreated back to my room, and spent some time there before going to sleep for the evening. Once I crawled into bed, I could immediately tell that the bed was not the typical Ritz-Carlton bed. It felt lumpy, dipped down in some places and felt hard in others, and the sheets were not soft at all. We both tossed and turned. The next morning after a long night of very little sleep, I decided to figure out what the heck was wrong with the bed. I pulled off the sheets and saw that a huge featherbed covered the mattress. The mattress was not a pillow top, nor was the featherbed a soft fluffy one, but rather a crunchy/synthetic chunky thing. I’m not sure what the thread count was on the sheets, but they were almost scratchy, and not just over starched.

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Upon closer inspection of the mattress, I found a tag. It was manufactured in 2009. 5 years is a long time for a Ritz-Carlton hotel bed. I figured that management knew the beds were old, and had tried to compensate with an extra large featherbed on top. I didn’t work well though.

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Mystery solved, I headed to the club for some breakfast. The reception from the lounge staff was the same. Cheerful smiles, interactive and attentive. Honestly, I’ve never had such a truly wonderful experience with club lounge staff. Usually they are cordial if you need something but slip away into a back room after that. The ones here were actively engaged with guests and consistently replenishing and cleaning. They really seemed to enjoy working there, and made the atmosphere relaxed and comfortable.

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Breakfast was well stocked. Fresh fruit, meats, breads, yogurts, etc. After talking with one of the attendants about the beds, she mentioned that they were actually slated to be replaced the next month (July).

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When checking out of the hotel, we told the front desk host the truth. It was a fantastic hotel and room and we’d received amazing service, but that the bed had been uncomfortable for both of us. He thanked us for staying and apologized for the bed.

I loved this hotel, and was so disappointed that the bed was a let-down. I wanted to give this property a 5 star rating and return in the winter, but with a crucial part of any stay being the bed, I don’t want to return until they are replaced.

Ritz-Carlton Rewards Tier 4 property. 60,000 Ritz-Carlton or Marriott Rewards points for a free night.

Ritz Carlton Lake Tahoe

Update: After staying at this property, I was contacted by the hotel management. They assured me that the beds are indeed being replaced soon (this July), and offered me a free night stay in a club room once they have all been changed out. I consider this a good resolution and look forward to returning.

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Good To Go

+ Lounge service is top notch
+ Great location
+ Fireplaces in suites

Good To Know

- Beds are old and uncomfortable
- No self park, valet is $35 during summer, $39 during winter

How many Magic Stars did this hotel stay earn?

 4/5 Magic Stars
  1. Boraxo
    Reply

    Great review right down to the bedding details. It’s too bad this property went from 50k -> 60k points, that’s a bit high given the wide disparity of winter rates which can range from $300-$800/nt for ROH standard room. The parking charge is a huge gouge even by resort standards – compare to Hyatt Incline or even Hyatt Maui.

    • Melinda
      Reply

      Boraxo, thanks for reading! I agree re parking, no where else around the hotel to park so there isn’t really a choice and it’s expensive.

  2. ProTavelGuy
    Reply

    I love this property – have stayed several times – only in the winter…why go in the summer? Club staff is great indeed, but mattress being manufactured in 2009 doesnt mean it was put into service in 2009 – the property is not even but a few years old. The hotel “contacted you” after your stay? or responded to a letter / complaint you lodged over the mattress (who takes a picture of the tag?), – they just dont write and issue comp club room nights on a whim. I love travel bloggers, but some people go too far with doing travel in off-season to pay “fraction of a rate” and then complain over petty (imagined?) items to get freebies – i know – been in the industry for over 20 years.

    • Melinda
      Reply

      Thanks for reading ProTavelGuy! I was actually surprised that the hotel contacted me. In conversation with one of the employees in the Club Lounge during breakfast I mentioned that I hadn’t slept well and she said she had heard that before; the mattresses were due to be replaced soon. I took the pics of the tag/bed for readers to see, because Ritz beds are usually amazing. When asked about my stay during check-out I mentioned that I hadn’t slept well but had heard their mattresses were being replaced soon which was good. He knew what I was talking about immediately. I did not lodge a complaint, write a letter, or inform anyone that I was a travel blogger, and certainly didn’t expect anything free. In fact, I never inform properties that I’m a travel blogger, so I can receive exactly the same treatment as any other guest which makes for honest reviews. The hotel must have realized there was an issue with the beds for many guests, in order for them to be replaced. The day after I returned home (long before I posted this review) I received a call from the hotel saying that as a frequent guest of Ritz-Carlton properties they wanted to invite me back once they had new beds. I’m guessing it was the helpful Club Lounge folks that proactively passed on a message to the person who contacted me. Not necessary, but just another example of how great the customer service is at this property!

  3. Hotel Review: Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe | Gradegood
    Reply

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