The snow is flying across the Sierra Nevada Mountain range and the highly anticipated Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe opened today to much fanfare, during a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony this morning at 10:30 am. Northstar-at-Tahoe has received over thirty inches of snowfall at the summit in the last 48 hours, setting the stage with near perfect winter conditions for the launch of this world class destination ski resort, the first resort of a luxury hotelier in the Lake Tahoe area. The forecast predicts that even more snow will fall.
Following five years of design, construction and development phases, The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe opens mid-mountain in Northstar-at-Tahoe resort, offering the finest ski-in, ski-out experience in California if not all the world. “This is truly a first of its kind experience for North Lake Tahoe” said Allen Highfield, General Manager of The Ritz-Carlton resort. “It has been incredibly exciting to see the final details fall into place, the training of the Ladies and Gentlemen and their enthusiasm to welcome our first guests.” The Ritz-Carlton has created over 350 jobs this year in Northern California, providing highly respected hospitality jobs and excellent training.
Simon F. Cooper, President and Chief Operating Officer for The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. personally joined Allen Highfield for the cutting of the ceremonial ribbon and the welcoming of the first guest. “Lake Tahoe has always been a destination known for its pristine natural beauty and skiing, now it will also be known as home to a world-class resort,” said Cooper. “The arrival of our brand and the opening of The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe further enhances the guest‘s service experience at Northstar-at-Tahoe.”
The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe is the first new-build resort development in the Lake Tahoe area in decades. Anticipated to be the premier Northern California contemporary mountain retreat, the $300 million project, situated mid-mountain in the Northstar-at-Tahoe ski area will feature ski-in, ski-out access with mountain concierge services. Manzanita, the resort’s signature restaurant has been created by San Francisco’s James Beard Award Winning chef Traci Des Jardins. The Highlands Spa is a 17,000 square foot spa and fitness center with treatments and therapies themed around water and the woods. The new Highlands Gondola also opens today and will connect guests between the nearby Village-at-Northstar and The Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe resort. Perched slope-side within a 15 minute drive of both Lake Tahoe and the historic town of Truckee, the year-round destination includes 170 guest rooms, 23 private Ritz-Carlton Residences and 25 Ritz-Carlton Destination Club residences.
The hotel is the contemporary legacy of the great mountain lodges built at the turn of the 20th century, inspired by the iconic Ahwahnee in Yosemite and the Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood. The hotel was designed as a series of linked pavilions tucked into the contour of the hillside with a grand octagonal lobby at the center. The rusticity of the building has been tempered and modernized through the use of contemporary materials such floor-to-ceiling windows in the Living Room that provide dramatic views and natural light. Great care was taken to protect the natural form of the landscape and to integrate the building seamlessly into its forest setting. Landmark trees were selected and tagged important so that construction crews could work around the forest as opposed to clear cutting the site.
The Ritz-Carlton Highlands will be one of the first major five-star caliber mountain resorts to seek LEED certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. Beyond the pedestrian-friendly design of the site, some of the environmental features include underground parking instead of outdoor asphalt lots, the use of recycled steel, and the incorporation of energy efficient heating and cooling systems. The Highlands Gondola acts as public transportation connecting the resort to the Village-at-Northstar below.