Hidden-Gem Resort Near Casinos & Ski Slopes
With lightning-quick wrist flicks, Chef Alvaro Ochoa chops an artichoke. He’s been slicing and dicing for more than 23 years, a veritable one-man culinary institution at Lakeside Inn and Casino on Lake Tahoe’s spectacular southern shore. The artichoke feeds into a pot, cozying up with blue-crab meat and roasted poblano peppers to fashion a dip for plantains, yucca chips, and garlic breadsticks. Innovative and affordable, Latin Soul restaurant speaks to the resort in which it’s housed, a gem among the glitzy lights of Stateline’s casinos and the glimmer of the nearby ski slopes.
From the outside, the resort recalls a mountainside chalet; sloped roofs collect the winter snowfall, and the Sierra mountains peak and dip in the background. Inside, lodge-inspired décor accompanies guests to a handful of restaurants and bars, including The Coffee Bar, a cozy spot stocked with Alpen Sierra brews and throat-thawing rum-runner cocktails. Visitors can retire to standard rooms, each replete with one king-, two queen-, or two double-size beds topped with cranberry, turquoise, and plum quilted bedspreads. Wood-paneled walls and lemon-colored furniture lend rooms a casual, vintage style. A seasonal outdoor pool and a hot tub, open year-round, beckon to swimmers and loungers looking to soak or unwind.
The resort’s intimate gambling environs, declared 2011’s Best Casino, Friendliest Casino Employees, Best Happy Hour, and Loosest Slots by the Tahoe Daily Tribune, are a haven for locals and vacationers alike. Daily Texas hold'em tournaments populate the poker room, and newcomers can audit a class at the University of Lakeside, which instructs on the finer points of games such as blackjack, craps, and creative nonfiction every Wednesday night. After cavorting in the casino, travelers can toast to their winnings with a complimentary pitcher of beer.
South Tahoe: Natural Splendor Meets Glitz & Gambling
South Tahoe sparkles during the day and then again at night. Day trips to Emerald Bay State Park make for fantastic photo opportunities of the lake as it shimmers within a bowl of glacier-carved granite. Autumn in Lake Tahoe affords some of the best mountain-biking opportunities in the country, and winter brings in the ski bunnies with nearby slopes that provide complimentary shuttle service to the hotel. Snow-shoers and hikers can take in the staggering Glen Alpine Falls, which cascade 65 feet down the rock face and provide sightseers with beautiful views, natural sounds, and free legal advice. Evening jaunts out on the town among the glimmering nightclubs and casinos pave the streets silver with slot-machine earnings.