The Truckee Hotel (10007 Bridge St., 530/587-4444, www.truckeehotel.com, $55–187) offers a fabulous period ambiance for reasonable nightly rates. The hotel has been welcoming guests to the North Shore for more than 125 years.
Rooms show their age with a gentle, shabby grace, and high ceilings, claw-foot tubs, and little Victorian touches delight visitors who appreciate a little history along with a comfortable bed. Part of the historic “charm” includes third- and fourth-floor rooms without an elevator on the premises, so prepare to climb and to haul luggage up narrow flights of stairs.
One reason the rates are so reasonable here is that most of the 37 rooms have shared hall bathrooms. These are clean and comfortable, with either a shower or a bathtub and a lock for privacy. The few rooms with private baths are pricier.
All rooms come with breakfast each morning. The Truckee Hotel building also shelters Moody’s (the best restaurant in town) and sits only steps from historic downtown Truckee.
Be sure to listen to the friendly staff at the Truckee Hotel, especially when they tell you to move your car around to the back parking lot on winter evenings. If the police find your car blocking the snow-removal equipment in the dead of night, they will tow you without a second thought.
Mother Nature’s Inn (551 N. Lake Blvd., Tahoe City, 800/558-4278, www.mothernaturesinn.com, $56–127) strives to bring a Tahoe camping experience inside, while still providing the creature comforts travelers expect in indoor accommodations. Guest rooms have a distinct theme based on a wild creature, and you can expect plenty of decorative tchotchkes in keeping with your room’s animal totem.
You’ll also find lodge-style furnishings and linens arranged in cozy and somewhat cluttered arrangements. All rooms have private baths, refrigerators, and coffee makers. Pets are welcome for a small additional fee. The inn is only a few steps from the shores of the lake and the conveniences of downtown Tahoe City.
If you prefer to rent a condo with full kitchen facilities, especially for a longer stay, call the Donner Lake Village Resort (15695 Donner Pass Rd., #101, Truckee, 530/587-6081, www.donnerlakevillage.com, $140–170), situated right on the shores of Donner Lake. You can choose from regular motel rooms without kitchens, studio condos, and one- or two-bedroom condos. Inside your room, you’ll find all the amenities of a nicer motel, including tea and coffee, private bathrooms, phones, and TVs with DVD players. But once you get a peek at the lake in summer or the mountains in winter, you won’t want to stay inside for long.
Donner Lake Village has its own marina with rental ski boats, fishing boats, and slips if you’ve brought your own watercraft. A bait and tackle shop across the street from the resort can hook you up with all the fishing equipment you need. And all the nearby North Shore ski resorts beckon in wintertime, an easy drive from your condo. After a long day out on the slopes, the fireplaces in the common rooms overlooking the lakes seem like the perfect location for a relaxing après-ski nightcap.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition