Flying With Faber: Ritz-Carlton Tahoe Offers Unparalleled Splendor
Monday, August 7, 2017 at 12:32PM
Stuart J. Faber

By Stuart J. Faber

Lake Tahoe Winter (Courtesy Ritz-Carlton Tahoe)Every time I take off from Lake Tahoe Airport (KTVL), I do so with some apprehension. Have I accurately calculated my weight and balance? What is the density altitude today? In the past few decades, several pilots, more experienced than I, apparently did not take these precautions. Tahoe Airport is a beautiful field. On final approach over the clear blue lake, gorgeous vistas pass by. Taking off, you will generally face rapidly rising terrain and an unforgiving stand of mountains. At an elevation of 6,262 feet above sea level, Runway 18/38 is 5,541 feet long. GPS and LDA-DME approaches are recommended only during the day. The FBO is Mountain West Aviation, 530/542-2110.

I heartily recommend a trip to the Ritz-Carlton Lake Tahoe. You’ll be closer to the resort if you land your plane at Truckee-Tahoe Airport (KTRK). Some years back, the name “Tahoe” was added, perhaps to let you know that they are only a 15-minute drive to the Ritz-Carlton. The airport is 5,901 feet above sea level. Runway 11/29 is 7,000 feet long and Runway 2/20 is 4,650 long. GPS approaches are available. The Truckee-Tahoe Airport, 530/587-4119, can give you flight planning information. Sierra Aero is a full service FBO located at the Truckee Tahoe Airport and provides aircraft maintenance, inspections, flight training and aircraft rentals. Visit online at or call (530) 359-8751. Enterprise, (530) 550-1550, and Hertz, (530) 550-9191, rental car facilities are located on the field.

If you are contemplating a commercial flight, Reno-Tahoe Airport (KRNO) is about a 45-minute drive from the resort.

A Resort of Unparalleled Splendor

The Ritz-Carlton Tahoe (Courtesy Ritz-Carlton Tahoe)The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, situated mid-mountain in the Northstar California Ski Resort Area, features ski-in, ski-out access, ski valet services and an inter-mountain gondola connecting guests between the nearby Village at Northstar and the slope-side hotel. Within a 15-minute drive of Lake Tahoe and the historic town of Truckee or a 45-minute drive from the Reno/Tahoe International Airport, this year-round destination resort includes 170 stunning guest rooms and suites, 23 private Ritz-Carlton Residences and 11 Ritz-Carlton Club fractional ownership units.

The developers and managers of this resort have exercised admirable judgment, restraint and dignity by imposing minimal intrusion on this magnificent wilderness. In a subtle marriage with the earth, the building appears to sprout majestically from the ground as it takes its place among the surrounding towering pines. The wood and stone exterior, finished in earth tones and crowned with gabled roofs that resemble a forest canopy, gently harmonize with the wilderness.

The unique and beautiful guestrooms at the Ritz-Carlton Tahoe. (Courtesy Ritz-Carlton Tahoe)The guestrooms and suites are not your traditionally designed hotel living quarters. The rooms are finished with robust woods, textured fabrics, native stone, a gas fireplace, floor-to-ceiling windows and residential furniture. Flat-screen 37-inch TVs (you won’t have time to turn it on), large work desks, spacious closets and in-room coffee render these accommodations more like private villas than hotel rooms. Marble bathrooms have dual sinks, soaking tubs and separate showers.

Special touches and amenities throughout include outdoor fire pits on the slope-side terrace, a Mountain Concierge providing ski, mountain biking and hiking valet services, True North, the on-property ski, snowboard and mountain equipment retail and rental store, an executive business center, year-round heated outdoor pool, hot tubs and a kids wading pool.

The exclusive Club Level, located on the fifth floor, serves five daily food and beverage presentations including continental breakfast, mid-day light meal, afternoon snack, hors d’oeuvres and desserts. Cocktails are served throughout the afternoon and evening. The guestrooms, suites and lounge offer panoramic views of the ski area and the surrounding Sierra Nevada mountain ranges.

Activities For All Seasons

The hiker’s paradise. (Courtesy Ritz-Carlton Tahoe)Whatever the season, there is no shortage of things to do. In the winter, Alpine skiing, dog sledding, ice skating, snowboarding, snowmobiling, snowshoeing or snow kiting. In the warmer seasons, fly fishing, golf, hiking, biking, sailing, scuba diving, whitewater rafting, boating, hot air ballooning, sailing, or just doing nothing. Be sure to bring your pooch. During my recent visit, I saw folks with doggies of all sizes and shapes.

The resort is steps away from the mid-mountain Northstar chairlifts for ski-in ski-out access. There are more than 2,900 acres of beginner to advanced ski and snowboard terrain on the Northstar-at-Tahoe ski slopes. World-class children’s and adult’s ski and snowboard school provides instruction.

The Spa

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, a 17,000-square-foot Spa and Fitness Center, houses 17 treatment rooms, a private lap pool, private sauna, steam room, whirlpool, hot tub and lockers for men and women. A solon provides hair styling, manicure and pedicure services.

The Fitness Center has state-of-the-art cardiovascular and weight-training equipment, a fully integrated wellness program including a variety of fitness classes, and a heated co-ed Spa lap pool overlooking the slopes. 


The Old Greenwood golf course. (Courtesy Ritz-Carlton Tahoe)Within 15 minutes of the resort, golfers have a choice of two championship courses. Old Greenwood is a Jack Nicklaus designed course and Golf Academy is rated No. 4 among American’s finest by Golf Digest.

Just Opened: The Lake Club

Still not enough to do? The brand new Ritz-Carlton Lake Club adds an extraordinary dimension to the resort. On the shores of Lake Tahoe, guests can luxuriate within a tastefully designed waterside venue with an accompanying host of amenities.

With one of the world’s most beautiful lakes as its backdrop, The Lake Club was meticulously designed to fully optimize its proximity to the water’s edge. Awash in natural light through The newly opened Lake Club. (Courtesy Ritz-Carlton Tahoe)floor-to-ceiling windows, the Club’s breathtaking views of Lake Tahoe and the distant snow-covered mountains unite the indoors and outdoors. Artful use of natural materials such as granite and teak wood provides warm, welcoming and sophisticated counterbalance to the clean, contemporary lines of the sleek steel and glass structure. Use of native plants and trees includes aspen, bearberry, creeping wild rye, Jeffrey pine, lupine, mountain mahogany, rabbit brush, and sagebrush. The plantings are placed in tight linear patterns directly around the building to complement its modern geometric architecture.

The Lake Club incorporates an indoor gathering area and bar, a ground-floor dining terrace, an upper-level dining deck with lakefront views and an expansive lawn extending to the water’s edge. Elevated yet casual dining on the lakefront includes Gourmet Bento Boxes and a complete lunch menu. Signature cocktails include the “Mai Tahoe Tai” and “Basil Bloom” and children’s beverages include milkshakes, root beer floats and Shirley Temples.

Water activities include stand-up paddle boarding, kayaking, wave runners, luxury boat rentals, parasailing, waterskiing, wake surfing, charter fishing, and formula yacht and sailing charters. Guests have direct beach access to Lake Tahoe and a private boat pier, outdoor spa, inviting fire pit, plus luxurious shower and changing facilities.


Backyard Bar & BBQ (Courtesy Ritz-Carlton Tahoe)You can select virtually any type of sustenance from fancy upscale cuisine to a succulent burger. Multiple dining options including Manzanita, the resort’s signature restaurant featuring artfully crafted selections, merging classical techniques and a modern culinary philosophy. In addition, Café Blue has indoor casual counter service with premium coffee beverages, fresh pressed juices, paninis and pastries. With sweeping views of the Sierra Nevada Mountains and ski slopes of Northstar resort, the Living Room and Highlands Bar serve light fare and beverages.

My favorite is The Backyard Bar & BBQ which serves smoked ribs and chicken, beef brisket sandwiches, garden veggies, cheese and BBQ chicken wood-fired pizzas, house made sides and a selection of desserts. Wherever you dine or hang out, you’ll feel comfortable dressed in your best or just casual.

Meeting, Social Gathering & Wedding Space

For any get-together from a pilot’s club meeting, a grand destination wedding to a corporate retreat, the resort houses more than 15,000 square feet of flexible indoor/outdoor function space.

The Ritz-Carlton Ballroom is 6,600 square feet. The Pines Ballroom is 3,000 square feet. In between are several smaller rooms. A host of outdoor venues have scenic views of the mountains. For winter functions, outdoor terraces have snow melt heated floors.  

Group Team Building

The Ritz-Carlton offers Impact Experiences for groups to contribute to the Lake Tahoe community. Impact Experiences are social and environmental activities ideal for groups that want to engage in efforts that support child well-being, hunger and poverty relief, and environmental responsibility. Groups can give back to the community while receiving a memorable and enriching experience that extends well after their stay ends.

Impact Experiences offers on-property activities at the resort that can be incorporated in the meeting agenda during lunch breaks, receptions and coffee breaks, such as:

• Partnering with the resort’s culinary team to prepare the ingredients for a regionally adapted dish for donation to a local hunger relief organization

• Assembling school supplies and art materials in backpacks for donation to students whose academic success is threatened by poverty

• Collaborating in teams to assemble emergency preparedness kits for shipping to a disaster relief facility or community organization

• Designing and creating greetings and birthday cards for children in a local pediatric healthcare facility or children’s organization;

• Impact Hour, a platform for leaders from The Ritz-Carlton non-profit partner organizations to showcase how they are successfully addressing social and environmental issues

Kids Program

The Ritz Kids Program has introduced new, themed activities aimed to create compelling experiences that are based on four key pillars: water, land, environmental responsibility and culture.

“The kids who participate in the Ritz Kids program will experience an array of environmentally focused activities that are designed to stimulate their creativity and generate interaction with our surroundings and the larger environment in which they live,” said Joseph Mattioli, general manager of The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. “It is our hope that the kids in our care will have fun while also learning new things about the incredible surroundings, culture and locale of our resort.”

Kids will learn about the nature of rivers, the wonders of water and the creating of sustainable ecological communities. They will develop an understanding about the sources and production of the things we eat. Games, hands-on activities, and arts and crafts will provide opportunities for children to learn about each of these and other topics that vary daily:

• Forest Ecology: Children explore the forest and its inhabitants through programs such as Forest Tag, Web of Life Game, Guess Your Animal and making a drawing or painting of the forest 

• Art and Nature: Nature inspires many artists, and in this activity kids observe and hear these expressions in both visual arts and music. They observe and listen to nature. They also create their own art, music and dance

• Trash Bash: When we throw something away, where is “away?” What really happens to our trash? Is all trash created equal? Children discover answers to these questions

Participants will begin their session by gathering in the recently remodeled Ritz Kids room. Children inspired decor includes bean-bag chairs, an LCD high-definition television and kid-sized craft stations.

The Ritz Kids program, offered daily by reservation, is designed for children ages 5 to12.

This resort skillfully blends elegance with down-to-earth comfort. The place glistens with style, class and beauty-all without a hint of stuffiness.

The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe is the official name of the resort. Contact them at 13031 Ritz-Carlton Highlands Court, Truckee, CA 96161, 530/562-3000.




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