Squaw Valley, California
At about the time the masseuse is sliding smooth, hot stones over my aching body-part of an extraordinary relaxation therapy called the Tahoe Hot Stone Massage-I realize this is a place that literally leaves no stone unturned in pampering its guests. And although I had heard the new Spa at Squaw Creek would take me to an altered state of consciousness, I am equally thrilled by how Chef Randall Kliewer teases my palate with a gourmet dinner of baked sea bass, Cakebread chardonnay from a 16-page wine "list" and peach-blackberry torte-just some of the daily specials at Glissandi restaurant.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, this AAA Four Diamond resort is the class act of Lake Tahoe. Its eclectic blend of big city sophistication and earthy alpine ambience resonates with an upscale clientele that ranges from gray-haired executives and their families to trendy, mop-haired dot-comers from Silicon Valley. The hotel, situated against a wooded hillside with views of Squaw Valley Meadow and snow-capped granite peaks, has an unconventional layout. Rooms are in a high-rise tower of black-tinted glass windows, while the lobby and all guest services, including restaurants, are in a separate, multi-tiered structure with meandering decks, waterfalls and swimming pools. The buildings are connected by an outdoor promenade of lavish gift shops and galleries, any one of which can put a dent in your Platinum Card. There are so many distractions that skiing is almost an afterthought. But it's just outside the door, where the hotel's private Squaw Creek chair connects to the main lift system. A valet hands me my skis as I head for the slopes. But-darn!-I have to click into my skis on my own.
LOCATION The ski-in/ski-out Resort is at the base of Squaw Creek Chair and 45 miles from Reno/Tahoe Airport.
DETAILS There are 403 rooms, including 203 suites, five restaurants, 11 miles of groomed cross-country trails, ice skating, dog sledding and horse-drawn sleigh rides, three swimming pools, a new spa and fitness center, seven boutiques, and shuttles to the Squaw Valley base area and Tahoe City.
DIGITS Rates run $175-$1,900. Reservations: 800-327-3353 or 650-583-6300; www.squawcreek.com.