Having been born and raised in San Diego, CA and rarely seeing snow for the majority of my young and adult life, I had yet to experience a winter in beautiful Lake Tahoe and was determined to make it happen. My birthday was approaching and I decided that a short getaway to The Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe would be a relaxing way to prepare for the new year and a way to breathe some fresh air as the fires were raging in Los Angeles where we live. As I searched for availability, the prices skyrocketed in mid-December from $269 per night to over $1,000! Given that my wife and I weren’t looking to make this a ski trip, we decided to jump on the two nights priced at $269 before the skiers and snowboarders were preparing to descend on Lake Tahoe. I went ahead and locked in the reservation with my Chase Sapphire Reserve “hybrid” points and booked a slightly more expensive room with a mountain view totalling ~50,000 points.

Getting There:

We used 15k AAdvantage points to book LA to Reno roundtrip. When leaving LA, you could see how badly the fires were raging in the mountains…

a smoke coming out of a mountain

We were happy to get away from the poor air quality and descend into this winter wonderland:

a view of snow covered mountains from an airplane window

We grabbed a Lyft from the airport that took us close to an hour before arriving at the hotel in Truckee, CA. We arrived pretty early to check in at around 10 AM, but luckily the hotel had a room ready and waiting for us! We had also brought with us frozen Kosher meals that they were happy to store away for us and deliver to our room hot and ready for dinner.

a group of buildings with trees in front of them

View of the hotel from our room

The Room:

The room wasn’t big but was more than cozy with a fireplace, view of the mountain, and extremely comfortable bed. The fireplace turns on with just the flip of a switch and really warms up the room nicely.

a woman lying on a bed in a hotel room

a tv on a wall above a fireplace

Fireplace below the TV

a snow covered ground with trees and a blue sky

View of the mountain from our balcony

The Hotel:

The hotel had a very welcoming lounge area complete with multiple fireplaces, bars, and a large window with a view of the mountain:

a room with large windows and a table

The lobby also had some very festive decorations:

a woman standing in front of a fireplace with christmas decorations

There was an indoor and outdoor pool, which I didn’t take a picture of and no one seemed to be using in the winter even though it was heated. There’s also an outdoor fire pit where the hotel roasts s’mores for the guests every night at 5 PM. Unfortunately, we didn’t get a chance to partake in that due to Kosher restrictions but it looked like the kids really enjoyed it.

a fire pit with chairs around it

The hotel’s rendering of the outdoor fire pit

There was also a shuttle service that took us into the town of Truckee, which turned out to be really charming and quaint. There were shops and bars that we visited and walked the town for about an hour:

two glasses of beer on a bar

Enjoying some beers at the Bar of America in Truckee

The hotel also has full ski and snowboard rental services on site for anyone unable to travel with their gear. I didn’t ask about pricing since we didn’t plan to ski or snowboard on this trip. The hotel does have a gondola that takes you down the mountain to a shopping area that has a nice little ice skating rink:

a gondola with people on it

Gondola ride

a group of people skating on an ice rink

Ice skating rink just down the mountain from the hotel…ouch

At night, we called the hotel restaurant and asked them to heat up our kosher meals for us and have them delivered to the room. They not only were very accommodating, they also gave us a complimentary bottle of champagne for my birthday! Now that’s some quality service from a quality hotel.

a bottle of champagne in a bucket and two wine glasses on a table

a table with foil on it

I offered to give the bottle back since it wasn’t kosher but they replaced it with a bottle of sparkling Martinelli’s, which was a really nice gesture.

a woman sitting at a table with foil wrapped food

Driving Around the Lake:

Unfortunately, there was not enough snow yet to try snowmobiling or tubing, so we opted to tour the areas around the lake. We soon realized however, that in order to visit the neighboring areas and to actually tour Lake Tahoe itself, we would need to rent a car. The concierge was more than helpful in securing a car rental for the day and had the car delivered to the hotel for us. We drove our way around the lake and saw some amazing views and a breathtaking sunset:

a lake surrounded by trees and mountains

Incredible views from Emerald Bay. A must visit the next time you’re in Lake Tahoe.

a snow covered mountain with trees

a man and woman posing for a picture on a mountain with water and trees

We then ventured down to South Lake Tahoe and enjoyed walking along the promenade that takes you from California back into Nevada. Here you’ll find touristy shops, casinos, and some nice outdoor spots to sit, grab a drink, and enjoy the outdoors:

a group of people sitting outside a building

a hand holding a glass of milk with lemons in front of a fire pit

Enjoying a cold drink thanks to the fireplace!

And then finally, as we made our way back up the east side of the lake, we pulled over to enjoy one of the most breathtaking sunsets I’ve ever seen. The photos don’t do it justice:

a sunset over a lake


The hotel had the car rental service pick up the car from us and the next morning, sadly, we were already headed back to the airport. Though it was a short stay, it was exactly what we need to re-energize before heading back to the hustle and bustle of LA. I can’t wait to get back to Lake Tahoe and really experience all the lake has to offer in the summer. Have you visited Lake Tahoe? What was your favorite part about it?