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The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe

Bruce Wallin

Parking valets at the new Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe, abscond with your ski equipment the moment you arrive at the resort. To retrieve your gear, simply stroll down from your room to the mountain-concierge desk, where the hotel’s ski valets will fetch your boots, strap your buckles, and escort you to your skis and poles waiting on the slope outside. The attendants stop short of pushing you down the hill, but the Ritz-Carlton’s location—above mid-mountain at California’s Northstar-at-Tahoe ski resort—obviates the need for a nudge.

Opened in December adjacent to Northstar’s Big Easy chairlift, the 170-room Ritz-Carlton Highlands is one of the few hotels in California to offer true ski-in/ski-out access. Après-ski enticements at the hotel include a 17,000-square-foot spa, family and adult pool areas, a living room (shown) with multiple fireplaces, a high-tech Sony PlayStation arcade, and a restaurant by San Francisco chef Traci Des Jardins.

The Ritz-Carlton connects via gondola to Northstar’s new base village, which offers several additional dining options as well as an outdoor ice-skating rink that becomes a roller-skating rink in the summer. Northstar also opens some of its chairlifts and trails for hikers and bikers during the summer. Interested Ritz-Carlton guests can visit the mountain-concierge desk, where the attendants will assist with maps, tickets, and all the necessary gear. The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe, 530.562.3000, www.ritzcarlton.com

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Photo by Janos Grapow