The alpine area known as Lake Tahoe, which surrounds its namesake body of crystal-blue water, has something of a split personality. Located 200 miles from San Francisco and 30 miles from Reno, it straddles California and Nevada in the Sierra Nevada mountains and harbors two distinct vibes. While the South Shore is home to the flash of casinos and the buzz of nightlife, the North Shore has a relaxed atmosphere that suits families and weekend warriors seeking respite and refined living. Make the 70-plus-mile drive around the lake, and you’ll find a diversity of noteworthy residences, including those along the lakefront in Incline Village, which holds some of the North Shore’s, and greater Tahoe’s, most expensive private homes.
Those looking for the country-club lifestyle flock to the North Shore area, where a number of developments have put down roots close to the slopes of the Northstar resort and not far from Truckee. The latter—a true mountain town once known for its logging industry—has filled its historic buildings with interesting restaurants, galleries, shops, and cafes, catering to locals and visitors alike. And the former, Northstar, began its evolution nearly a decade ago with a base village that now serves as a lively hub of restaurants, shops, and residences situated around a skating rink. Northstar’s owner, Vail Resorts, continues to make improvements, including such recent additions as more gladed ski areas, snowcat and backcountry tours, and Tavern 6330′, a casual restaurant and après-ski spot.
When the snow falls, Tahoe’s vacation-home owners can head to any of the area’s 14 ski resorts; and in the summer, they can hike or bike the wilderness trails and engage in water sports on the 193-square-mile lake. It is this mix of mountains and water that makes the area an attractive destination year-round. Those seeking such a retreat may wish to consider the five residential resort communities profiled on the following pages. All are in proximity to Truckee’s conveniences and Northstar’s world-class slopes.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Lake Tahoe
In 2009, the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, opened mid-mountain at the Northstar resort. This year, having emerged from the economic downturn with new owners, the hotel made its 23 private residences available for sale. Today, 14 remain on the market. The three- and four-bedroom penthouse-style residences range in size from 1,554 square feet to 3,407 square feet and are located on the top floor of the six-story hotel and within a private third-floor wing close to the spa. Priced from $1.2 million to $5 million, the homes offer open layouts and afford slope and valley views via floor-to-ceiling windows and outdoor terraces. Other notable features include vaulted ceilings, stone fireplaces, and reading nooks. While the residences are delivered to buyers unfurnished, they are staged by the San Francisco–based designer Jay Jeffers, of Jeffers Design Group, who is known for his sophisticated “California Mountain” aesthetic, and the Truckee-based firm Spirit Interior Design, which brings organic materials and colors to the units.
Owners enjoy a host of perks, including priority access to the hotel’s Highlands Spa and its Manzanita restaurant. Dedicated concierge services and a private elevator are also at their disposal. A heated gondola ferries residents from their 7,000-foot elevation to the village at Northstar’s base.
The Ritz-Carlton Residences, Lake Tahoe, 530.562.3114,
Set on 2,177 acres, Martis Camp is the brainchild of two developers—DMB Pacific Ventures and the Highlands Companies—that planned for the private resort community to function around three recreational areas: a ski mountain (Northstar California), a Tom Fazio–designed golf course, and the Family Barn, a laid-back social hub offering bowling, an art loft gallery space and studio where residents can take creative classes, a 44-seat theater, an outdoor swimming pool, an indoor basketball court, and a soda fountain. The architecture firm Swaback Partners, based in Scottsdale, Ariz., Designed the harmonious mix of community buildings, which feature the development’s signature apple green color, thick logs, natural stone, and eyebrow windows. The LEED-certified structures incorporate unexpected materials, such as siding made from reclaimed pickle barrels.
Construction and sales commenced in May of 2006, and the first 117 of 671 total lots had been released and sold by winter. In 2007, Martis Camp leased a block of land that runs up Lookout Mountain to the main Northstar slopes. Ski runs were extended, a high-speed quad was built, and the community gained a coveted ski-in/ski-out connection.
Today Martis Camp is 70 percent sold, with 324 custom homes either built or under construction. The remaining real estate options include custom homes priced from $2 million to $10 million and homesites priced from the $600,000s to $2 million. Some of the lots offer ski-in/ski-out access.
Martis Camp’s residents benefit from an abundance of amenities. At the base of Lookout Mountain, a plush ski lodge features a giant two-sided stone fireplace and provides equipment rentals, tuning services, ticketing, lockers, and dining. The Camp Lodge, a massive clubhouse perched on a promontory, offers formal and casual dining options, a fitness center, a spa, an outdoor lap pool, and a golf shop. Outdoors, a 20-mile system of trails awaits those individuals who enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, and cross-country skiing.
Martis Camp, 800.721.9005, www.martiscamp.com
Lahontan Golf Club
Alpine forests and serene meadows with views of the Sierra Nevada and Northstar’s Lookout Mountain form the backdrop for Lahontan Golf Club. For this private community’s members (two different memberships, golf or social, are offered), life revolves around two Tom Weiskopf–designed courses—an 18-hole championship layout and a nine-hole par-3—a lodge, a spa and fitness center, and a recreation hub.
Construction at this sister property to Martis Camp began in 1997. Lahontan encompasses 509 homesites on 906 acres, and approximately 244 homes have been completed to date. The architecture leans toward a traditional mountain style, as dictated by the development’s aesthetic guidelines.
While Lahontan is 100 percent sold, the community currently has 10 homes priced from $1.3 million to $6 million and 24 lots priced from $95,000 to $995,000 available for resale.
Residents gather at Lahontan’s dining and lounge areas—which are housed in a rustic cedar-shake-style lodge with exposed beams and a sizable stone fireplace—and at its recreation center. The latter, called Camp Lahontan, holds courts for boccie, badminton, basketball, shuffleboard, tennis, and volleyball, as well as three pools. It sits on the shores of the Gooseneck Reservoir, at a trailhead where residents can embark on hiking and biking excursions in summer and cross-country and snowshoeing jaunts in winter.
Lahontan Golf Club, 530.550.2400, www.lahontangolf.com
The Village at Northstar and Northstar Mountainside Residences
East West Partners, creator of many ski-resort developments in the United States, broke ground at Tahoe’s Village at Northstar in 2004, paving the way for what is now a vibrant community of restaurants, shops, and 213 condominiums encircling a large ice-skating rink. Although the Village condos are sold out, units do become available for resale from time to time. Such offerings can range from one-bedroom units starting at $399,000 to five-bedroom townhomes priced at $1.895 million.
Now in development by East West is the Northstar Mountainside Residences, a mid-mountain ski-in/ski-out community located near the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe. The new Mountainside project includes Home Run, a neighborhood of 16 three- and four-bedroom residences priced from $1.895 million to $2.595 million, and Martis 25, a private community of 25 1-acre homesites (for custom builds) priced from $749,000 to $2.595 million.
Owners of the new residences receive membership to the Tahoe Mountain Club, which includes the Schaffer’s Camp restaurant and the Tree House activities center. The latter will feature workout facilities, a game room, and a swimming pool when it is completed next summer.
Northstar Mountainside Residences, 530.550.2010, www.northstarresidences.com
Constellation Residences at Northstar
Built by the Ritz-Carlton Development Co. in 2009, Constellation is a collection of 17 turnkey residences. The units occupy the same building as the Ritz-Carlton Private Residence Club, which connects to the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Tahoe, via an enclosed sky bridge. To date, 10 of the 17 homes have been sold.
The available units include two-bedroom homes measuring 1,665 square feet to 1,878 square feet and priced from $1.36 million to $1.48 million and three-bedroom homes measuring between 1,860 square feet and 1,877 square feet and priced from $1.515 million to $1.57 million. All come fully furnished, with Viking appliances, granite countertops, hardwood floors, radiant-heated stone floors in the bathrooms, and generous living spaces with fireplaces and balconies.
Constellation owners enjoy the amenities of the Ritz-Carlton resort, including twice-daily housekeeping and concierge and ski valet services, and ski-in/ski-out access puts them on Northstar’s slopes straightaway.
Constellation Residences at Northstar, 530.582.6077, www.constellationatnorthstar.com