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Lake Tahoe’s new Desolation Hotel bills itself as an ‘eco-luxury micro-resort’

Reno-Gazette-Journal logo Reno-Gazette-Journal 8/22/2022 Jason Hidalgo, Reno Gazette Journal

Travelers looking for high-end, eco-friendly lodging in Lake Tahoe get a new option as the new Desolation Hotel celebrated its official grand opening this week.

Billed as an “eco-luxury micro-resort,” the Desolation Hotel joins the growing worldwide trend of upscale “experiential” lodging with a focus on the outdoors and the environment. The hotel gets its name from the Desolation Wilderness near its South Lake Tahoe location.

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“We are incredibly passionate about delivering an authentic, locally conscientious, and unforgettable South Lake Tahoe experience for our guests,” says Desolation Hotel founder Chet Pipkin, in a statement. “We’re providing an immersive luxury destination that offers guests the opportunity to both relax and to get out and adventure, all while being responsible stewards of this incredible natural environment we’re fortunate to call home.”

Pipkin is also the founder and former CEO of technology company Belkin. Construction on the Desolation Hotel, which is located on the former Tahoe Villa Motel site, started in April 2020.

The Desolation Hotel’s 21 luxury suites boast several amenities designed to give them an upscale but more residential “live-work-play” feel. These include kitchenettes with Bertazzoni gas ranges, in-room fireplaces, private balconies and al fresco soaking tubs. The Desolation Hotel also has a saltwater pool, a large outdoor jacuzzi, a Port Orford cedar sauna and a fitness room.

Visitors looking to indulge and food and drink can drop by Maggie’s restaurant and bar on the third floor, which offers a 360-degree view of the Desolation Hotel’s surroundings. Drinks include a selection of Scotch whiskies as well as spirits from local producers such as Tahoe Blue Vodka. 

Food options at Maggie’s range from fresh pastas made from scratch to ethically sourced game meats and produce from local farms. Examples of dishes by chef Skyler Chauss include spinach tagliatelle topped with prosciutto-wrapped diver scallops and bison tomahawk steak.

A second restaurant, Velma’s, features seasonal light bites and is exclusively for hotel guests.

The Granite Suite deck tub at the Desolation Hotel in South Lake Tahoe. © Image provided by Desolation Hotel The Granite Suite deck tub at the Desolation Hotel in South Lake Tahoe.

For visitors who want to experience the outdoors or the local community, the dog-friendly hotel is within walking distance of various attractions. These include a private beach, hiking and mountain biking trails and local shops. Desolation Hotel is also close to skiing and family snow play and sledding areas.

“We live, work, and play in this community from our founders to many of the team members who helped us build the hotel,” Pipkin said.

Preservationist John Muir was frequently mentioned as an inspiration for the hotel’s design, which was spearheaded by Monarch Architecture and design firm Studioette. These include a muted look that seeks to emulate Tahoe’s forests as well as various sustainable design touches.

The Alpine Room kitchen and desk at the Desolation Hotel in South Lake Tahoe. © Image provided by Desolation Hotel The Alpine Room kitchen and desk at the Desolation Hotel in South Lake Tahoe.

The outdoor deck of the Desolation Hotel’s restaurant, for example, is wrapped around an existing pine tree while other trees that were harvested for the project ended up being repurposed for the hotel’s construction. Additional lumber secured offsite comes from responsibly managed forests certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

The hotel also shrinks its carbon footprint by maximizing the use of natural light and also installing rooftop solar arrays. The Desolation Hotel also has 20 EV charging stations. 

The Desolation Hotel is located at 933 Poplar St., South Lake Tahoe, California. Rates start $349 per night. For more details or to book a suite, visit desolationhotel.com or call 1-530-725-0101. 

Jason Hidalgo covers business and technology for the Reno Gazette Journal, and also reviews the latest video games. Follow him on Twitter @jasonhidalgo. Like this content? Support local journalism with an RGJ digital subscription.

This article originally appeared on Reno Gazette Journal: Lake Tahoe’s new Desolation Hotel bills itself as an ‘eco-luxury micro-resort’

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