I have a moderate amount of things to tell you. My trip to Lake Tahoe, Ca with Jian turned out to be a success! We had a great time, & let me just say that once you stay at the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain, you can never go back to plain old Marriott (which in case you didn’t know, both hotels are owned by the same umbrella company). Jian & I both enjoy & prefer to stay at Marriott & Marriott affiliated hotels when we travel. We earn tons of rewards points which we can use on various amenities at the hotels, & use to get free nights. So we used out points to stay one night free at the Ritz-Carlton in Truckee, Ca.

The hotel was so swanky & luxurious. You’re right in the middle of all the ski slopes & powdery snow. We really felt like we were in the middle of a snowy wonderland. Everywhere you go throughout the hotel grounds, you will be asked for your room number (because the staff is strict about letting only hotel guests use certain amenities versus the North Star ski lift  guests), then the hotel staff will address you by name. I felt like a VIP guest when they recognized our names.  We truly felt as though we were staying in an upscale lodge-y cabin. The hotel was so beautiful. I only wished I had taken my little nephew & niece. They would have loved it.

When I go on vacation, I often forget to take pictures of my hotel room. To me, there isn’t much point. It’s a box with a bed, a dresser, a desk, & some lamps. Do you really want to see my toilet & shower? This time, I lazily tried to take some decent pictures of my room.

Our room was pretty cozy. It was not quite a suite size, but it wasn’t small by any means. I mean, hello, we had a sitting area AND a gas fireplace. We could even open the windows onto the extremely narrow “balcony” (if you could even call it that. I’d call it a sliding glass door that fully opens, so you can feel like you’re outside.). We didn’t have much of a view of anything spectacular. Unless you count the main gondola station as a nice view. We had to keep the drapes closed for most of the time because there were too many kids staring directly into our room from the gondola station.

Speaking of gondolas, yes, they are fast & efficient. However, no, I still do not like them. Against all of my fears of heights & free falling, plummeting to my untimely demise, I sat in a gondola. Jian & I wanted to see what was going on down at the North Star village, & let me tell you, it wasn’t anything spectacular. There were a few mediocre family restaurants, lots of timeshare real estate offices, & most of the shops sold over-priced outdoor gear. We were debating on whether to go ice skating or not (I’m an intermediate ice skater, & Jian is a beginner), but the ice skating rink looked more slushy than firm, like it was in desperate need of some Zamboni TLC. I will firmly say that swallowing my fear of heights to ride a gondola was NOT worth it. The entire ride down & back up to our hotel I was white-knuckle squeezing the seat cushion & cursing up a storm. Jian tried to reassure me or tried to get me to admire the view, but I just couldn’t wait to get out of our death trap. It didn’t help the fact that we stopped every few feet to let the oncoming gondola pass by us before we could move again. That was the worst part for me, all I could focus on was how much our gondola was swinging back & forth. Well, I got at least one photo out of it.

So, later that evening, we made reservations at our hotel’s more formal hotel. I wanted to join Jian in having a few cocktails, but for whatever reason (maybe it was the high altitude) I was feeling tired, so I only drank one. Our dinner was lovely. The service was fantastic, but I guess that’s to be expected at a high-end hotel. The food was not so fantastic. It was good, but nothing spectacular. The filet mignon Jian ordered was slightly over-cooked, & the greens on his dish was over-salted. I ordered a roasted duck dish that was supposed to include crispy duck skin, but the skin on my duck was nowhere near crispy. The rest of my dish was adequate, but not memorable. The only dish we were really wowed by was our appetizer. It was a pappardelle pasta & mushroom dish that was very delicious & well-seasoned.  That’s what made us happily anticipate our main course dishes, but ended up being disappointed. Our one consolation was that our cocktails were good, not too strong or watered-down. Our favorite meal was the room service we ordered. We didn’t even stay at the restaurant for dessert, so we went back to our hotel room & ordered dessert from the room service menu. We ended up choosing a plate of cookies & two glasses of milk (in which they only brought us one glass). Of all the cookies we ate, my favorite was the chocolate chip. The other cookies were too sugary sweet.

I was a little surprised that there were so many families with young children at the hotel that weekend. I was kind of expecting more young adult couples at the hotel…you know…knocking boots, since it was Valentine’s Day weekend. However, I was quite relieved that the hotel played it low-key that weekend, & didn’t go overboard with the lovey-Dover decorations or advertisements for romantic couples massages & dinners. Over all, we had a blast playing around & taking long hikes in the snow. We played a game to see who could step in a snow bank & see how far down their foot would fall into the snow. Amazingly, we only got snow in our shoes once, & it didn’t even make our feet wet. Thank goodness for Scotch Guard! Spraying that stain repellent all over our shoes really worked wonders & kept our shoes dry the entire time. We were a little sad to leave such a swanky hotel, but we’re happy to be going home to wash all the salt off our car. Until the next trip…cheers!

Today’s song of the day: