Sunday, December 20, 2009

Ritz-Carlton brings luxe life to the forest

The ironically named Spud Hilton reviews my town's latest hotel. I put this in here because Mrs. G got taken to lunch at Manzanita the other day [she had a cheeseburger ("Want pommes frites with that?")] at sixteen bucks. She said the 'molten chocolate cake' dessert was divine! She said the service was terrific - they even had a kid who came all the way from New Zealand to brush the crumbs off the table in between courses! "Whadja do in the States, mate?" "I was a crumb-brusher for rich folks."

At first blush, dropping a Ritz-Carlton in the middle of the Tahoe National Forest - the land of mountain bikers, ski bums and "Hoss" Cartwright - seems a lot like wearing a ball gown to a country barbecue.

Not really. The R-C is at Northstar-at-Tahoe, a very upscale ski area and community. My first winter job here was as a bus driver over there. I learned how to drive in snow with 36 passengers. If they only knew. Heh. The driving instruction was pretty much "Don't scrub the ski racks off and try to hit something cheap". I remember dropping people off at their (mostly) second homes, which today go for about a $million dollars, which they call 'cabins'. I've always wondered what those folks did to other people that allowed them to have second homes that cost as much as my whole block. I swear the traffic light there is rigged to take precedence over the traffic on SR 267 when a rich person wants to go somewhere.

Oh, the mountain bikers there pay to use the ski lift to ride up, the ski bums there are the employees, who are also used as guinea pigs in ski school ("Point 'em downhill and go. The rest of you watch what not to do." Do not ask how I know this. The ski lessons were free.), and Hoss is dead.

The hotel chain is the poster child for swanky (take a wild guess from where the word "ritzy" originated) and is typically associated with people who order from menus without prices and who never open a car door for themselves.

Ain't life a bitch! Sigh.

Enjoy the rest of the article, but here's the money shot, at least to me:

If the roads are good, drive back into Truckee for less Disney-fied nightlife, including live music. Watch the ice.

It's a slippery road from the lush life back to reality.

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