Ski-in/ski-out has never been so simple as it is at the new Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe (530.562.3000, www.ritzcarlton.com) in Northern California. Opened in December, the 170-room property sits atop a rise overlooking the Northstar-at-Tahoe ski resort’s mid-mountain chairlifts, a location from which it would be easy enough to hit the slopes on your own. The Ritz-Carlton’s mountain concierge, however, makes the process effortless—retrieving your gear, strapping you in your boots, and escorting you to your skis and poles, which are pointed downhill on a groomed slope that runs past the resort’s main swimming pool.
The pool area provides an ideal place to recuperate after a day on the slopes, as do the Ritz-Carlton’s fireplace-filled living room and 17,000-square-foot spa. Dining and entertainment options are no less inviting, most notably the resort’s fine yet informal restaurant led by San Francisco chef Traci Des Jardins. The Ritz-Carlton also offers direct gondola access to the newly revamped Village at Northstar, which is home to several additional restaurants as well as bars, boutiques, and an outdoor ice-skating rink. ($250–$4,000)