Houstonians don’t get to experience true springtime weather. You could easily wake up one morning, feel a simple breeze, and then be hit with humidity and crazy heat by noon. There’s no better time to embrace the beauty and openness of North Lake Tahoe during the spring and thanks to partners such as Southwest Airlines, getting there is as less stressful as ever before.
The airline offers direct flights from Hobby into the Reno/Tahoe Airport. Your destination to the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort and Casino is a short 30 to 45-minute drive, although my drive took a little bit longer thanks to capturing nature and the beautiful views along the way. Seriously, photo opportunities are necessary when going to Tahoe and I practically stopped every few miles to take in all of its splendor.
What the Hyatt boasts and achieves is in its variety of rooms. There are suites and cottages on the grounds, all with breathtaking views. I stayed on the 10th floor in the Sugar Pine Junior Suite, waking up every morning to surreal yet idealistic mountain views and calm. Imagine spending an entire year caught up in the bustle of everyday life in Houston only for one morning to feel something completely different! That was what those mornings felt like. I felt reawakened.
Every morning started in a spacious room with plenty of seating to enjoy a little morning coffee and even more breathtaking views, a large bathroom with a massive walk-in shower and oversized tub. The days practically planned themselves, waking up to nature and wind down at night, soaking and unwinding with a glass of wine.
Here are a few preferred methods for taking on Lake Tahoe the Houston way:
Before you arrive at the Hyatt, stop by the Alibi Ale Works – Incline Public House for a late lunch and craft beer. I’m not a beer drinker but when the waiter is knowledgeable to the point it turns into a craft tasting, indulging is a must. Don’t judge me, I drank all of them. The Wagyu Burger and fries were so good I had to ask specifically how the fries were made and sure enough – some of their craft beer ingredients help give the fries an added layer of taste.
Now, resting or checking out the casino is a strong pair of options, but once the night begins, head to dinner at the Lone Eagle Grille, located on the hotel’s private beach front. An absolute delight of a culinary experience with views of Lake Tahoe, the menu is American with a wide range of steaks, seafood and wild game meats along with a varied assortment of vegetarian favorites. Start with a glass of Prosecco and follow it up with scallops for a light appetizer. For the main course, the pork chop is a winner but there’s no “bad” pick with any of the sharable sides – and yes, I tried every single one to prove it! Although I paired my main dish with a Malbec, the staff has an extensive knowledge about all of the wines available at the restaurant, making it easy for any novice or even expert to ask which wine pairs best. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert as the Baked Tahoe, the restaurant’s signature end of the night snack, is too good to pass up.
But that’s food, what about the adventure? A day can fly by when you’re having fun but when embracing nature at the same time? It can feel like a blur full of bliss. When you awake, head to Provisions, the hotel’s all-day coffee shop and opt for breakfast to go. Indulging in the variety of drinks, teas, fresh deli, breakfast items, in-room snacks and beverages can be done but we’ve got to get a move on.
The hotel offers Tahoe To Go, a service that is a quicker, more reasonable alternative to in-room dining. Place your order by dialing ext. 54 from your room and it’ll be ready for you at Tahoe Provisions to avoid service and delivery charges. It took less than 15 minutes from my initial order to my food being ready, that’s how accurate and stress-free the service is. Provisions offers arguably the best vegetarian breakfast meal I’ve ever had with their Beyond Meat Burrito and is a great stomach settler for the road ahead. Load up on water using the refillable water stations located in the lobby and snacks because adventure awaits.
The Hyatt is so spacious, the hotel has its own bike rental shop: Big Blue Bike Rentals. Featuring a brand-new fleet of Beyond bicycles, Big Blue offers a choice of hybrid, electric and mountain bike rentals, not to mention kids’ equipment. Being from Houston (and not used to the inclines present in the area), I opted for the hybrid bike and set out for the East Shore Trail. You can find every idea you have about idyllic scenery for a trail at East Shore. Traveling down the three-mile bike path offered glimpses of how much the trail wrapped around the hotel’s curve of the lake. I saw riders cycling through the spacious bike path and pulling up for pit stops at Sand Harbor or relaxing at hideaway beaches such as Hidden or Memorial or even the vistas at Memorial Point. Even in the midst of adventure, stopping to reset seemed like the desired feeling.
Most restaurants in Houston have a hard stop for breakfast at 11 a.m. unless your appetite calls for eating at specialty restaurants. Luckily, the pancake connoisseur in me was not only able to grab a bite at the Tunnel Creek Café but also taste some of the best pancakes I’ve ever had in my life. Who knew pancakes were the perfect recharge to take in more adventure? Once everything settles, prepare yourself for a hike to Monkey Rock with Julie, the Hyatt’s Adventure Specialist. If you’re fit, the level of difficulty with the hike is moderately low. However, if you’re like me, someone who isn’t world-class fit but active, the hike may be a little challenging. It may be a three-mile hike but there’s a 400-foot gain in regards to elevation. I had to tackle the climb at a personal, steady pace. Don’t break out your fashionable shoes for this, stick to a pair of shoes with some traction and hydrate!
After a full day of on-the-go adventure, the year-round lagoon-style pool was next on my agenda. I washed up beforehand because again, manners and decency. Plus, a 90-degree heated pool with a tranquil view of the Sierra Mountains immediately put me into relaxation mode. There was no need to do any further exploration because after taking in the sights of Tahoe, a girl needed a bottle of wine and a pizza from Provision’s Tahoe To Go.
Another sunrise on day three brought on a renewed sense of taking on more of North Tahoe. The first stop was Sierra Café and a hearty breakfast with casual dining in a comfortable alpine atmosphere. The café proudly serves ingredients from the Tahoe Food Hub, which ties restaurants with locally grown and organic produce and ingredients at a fair price.
A short drive parked me at King’s Beach, a nice little detour where I could walk through the downtown corridor and discover some lakeside shopping. Not fully satisfied, I headed over to Tahoe City and explored the downtown stretch, including locally owned shops and good, welcoming people.
My mind immediately thought, ‘Today’s the last day. Pamper yourself.’ The Hyatt’s Stillwater Spa was the perfect location to smooth out any kinks in the body thanks to the use of the elements and stone massages, pure water facials, and full-body renewal inspired by the mountain fires and change of the seasons. Plus, no matter where you look, the tranquility of the Sierra Mountains makes their presence felt. Most of all, all COVID-related protocols were in place for added safety and comfort.
With only one night to go in Lake Tahoe, dining at the Crystal Bay Steak & Lobster House was the top choice. Not only did the venue have amazing eats such as the Australian Rock Lobster, it’s also one of the restaurants where Hollywood royalty such as Marilyn Monroe, Frank Sinatra and the Rat Pack used to eat! Of course I had to sit in the same cozy booth Marilyn herself sat at.
Realizing my travel and time in North Lake Tahoe had come to a close, I gained not only a greater appreciation for Hyatt and especially their partnership with Southwest but their ability to create a gateway to combine luxury and nature. Lake Tahoe is the perfect spring getaway for anyone and as you drive through Reno, you can only find yourself lost not only in your trip but the sites which surrounded your journey one more time.
A note from the Editor:
The North Lake Tahoe Community invites you to take a pledge to help reduce your footprint and to promote sustainable practices throughout the region by committing to exploring the Lake Tahoe region responsibly. For more information about the Traveler Responsibility Pledge, please visit, www.gotahoenorth.com