For inexpensive year-round rooms, check in to the Ambassador Motor Lodge (4310 Manzanita Ave, South Lake Tahoe, 530/544-6461, www.ambassadorcapritahoe.com, $72–100, children under 16 free with adult). With its private beach access and associated water recreation options, rates are a touch higher in the summer months and bargain basement in the wintertime.
Guest rooms have that basic motel feel, but a few soft touches make them appear prettier than the average bargain chain room. Amenities are also reminiscent of low-end chain motels; you will find coffee and a coffee maker, a TV set, and a private bathroom, but little else in the way of extras.
The good news is that the Ambassador is on the lake for summer visitors, and only a short walk to the Heavenly gondola for winter guests.
© Liz Hamill Scott from Moon California, 2nd Edition