Snow in Tahoe!

Just got back from my first-time snowboarding trip. We went up to Lake Tahoe last Tuesday, and stayed at the Marriott Timber Lodge through Friday. I am going to break this up into several blogs, as I have a lot to say about the experience.

Part 1 – The hotel/resort property
They claim to be a 5-star resort. Well, it is a hotel basically with an average size 4 foot deep pool, a few hot tubs, fitness room, steam/sauna/shower area, and each carbon copy room has a kitchen and bathroom, some have a separate dining/living room area, some do not.

Parking is valet only at $14 a day for people staying at the hotel. If you’re not staying at the hotel you can’t park there. We decided to park across the street at the Embassy Suites, which was free.

Once we got back to our hotel, we went off to find the room. It was a complete maze to try and find the room since there were only 2 elevators on either side of the building, seriously, it was a good 5-10 minute walk to the room through several interconnected hallways. The room was nice, mind you, but I wouldn’t call it 5-star quality, let’s go and say it was new, less than 5 years old, but 3 star. When we got to the room, we immediately noticed one of the lights didn’t work, and one of the smoke detectors was broken and hanging off the wall. We were done for the day so would report that the next morning. Our “welcome package” had 1 day’s worth of the normal ammenities you would otherwise find in the room: coffee, skin lotion, aftershave, etc., along with advertising about their timeshare. I wasn’t really impressed. The bed was lumpy and soft, and the pillows were so well worn we woke up with aches and pains the next morning. At least this place didn’t have bed bugs like the Marriott on Oahu in Hawaii, but I digress.

As we got out of bed, we discovered the coffee maker was broken and it spilled all over the place. The front desk sent someone up to replace the coffee maker and fix the lightbulb, but the smoke alarm stayed as is. It wasn’t really broken, per se, it was just hanging off the wall. I thought maybe they could have used a screw and a sheetrock anchor to make a hole and attach it to the wall, but then what do I know? 😉

Anyhoo.. we decided to go downstairs to see what sort of complimentary breakfast stuff they had, or didn’t have in this case. Coffee was $2 a cup. Breakfast was served in the adjacent restaurant and nothing was included. They have a DVD players in every room and a collection of movies for rent, it’s about what you’d expect for a PPV or Netflix, though for some reason I was thinking they would be complementary. At least the TV feed was decent and we didn’t have to pay extra for all those premium stations we never watch.

The kitchen in our room had a dishwasher and table setting for 6, the dish soap was included. In the closet, there was a stackable laundry washer and dryer with a few loads worth of detergent. There were no food items, no bar, no ‘honor system’ basket of goodies, snacks, etc. If you wanted something, you could go down the street to Raley’s market and buy it yourself.

We were starting to see how this place could nickel and dime someone in no time. Regarding the cleanliness of the place, well, it was mostly clean and the hotel was allegedly non-smoking. I am not going to go into unpleasant details, just a few mentions.. it smelled like sewage in front of the property, the stairs smelled like cigarettes, and each night the smells wafting from the restaurant were of stale cooked fish, other than that it was mostly pleasant.

On the good side, the walkways were ingeniously heated from underneath, so if you went outside, you didn’t worry about slipping on the ice or getting snow all over yourself, because the sidwwalk was practically dry. The new gondola up to Heavenly was literally on the property. You walk out of the lobby, you get on the gondola, and take the smooth yet breathtaking 17 minute ride up the mountain. More on that later.

I really want to say that I liked this place, but I wouldn’t stay there again unless they improved the beds and took better care in maintaining everything, as well I’d expect them to add some standard items such as a bar, a safe, and continental breakfast included.

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