Meet Your Tahoe Merchant: Creating the ultimate experience
Special to the Bonanza
INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Dreams of a true Tahoe vacation — the kind with fresh powder skiing followed by a soak in the hot tub, of panoramic views across calm blue waters, of laughter with family and friends — become a reality with the work of Elaine Morris.
Focused solely on vacation rentals and specializing in luxury resort properties, Marmot Vacation Rentals has nearly 40 properties in the North Lake Tahoe area.
Having experience with vacation rentals in Whistler, Seattle and Lake Tahoe, Morris and her team focus down to the details to make vacations flawless for guests and they ensure to take care of “the headaches of owning a second home” for the homeowners.
“I adore the work,” she said. “Dealing with people’s vacation — that’s happy stuff. I want people to have a great time when they come here.”
One of Marmot’s recent properties, “Big Sky,” Elaine named for its 180 panoramic view of Donner Lake. The home has two master suites, a three-car garage and an open gourmet kitchen.
“It has an incredible view and we loved the open floor plan,” said “Big Sky’s” homeowner, Titi Liu.
Liu and her family bought the 4,650 square foot home in April. The Lius live in Palo Alto full time and wanted a place to spend their Tahoe vacations as well as rent out.
“Of course we really love our house and are protective of it,” Liu said of the reservations many homeowners feel about renting their property. “Elaine assured us that most renters are respectful of the property. She clearly works hard and thinks strategically.”
When the Liu family travels, whether vacationing in Italy, visiting family in New York, or taking ski trips to Park City, Titi said they prefer renting vacation homes to staying in hotels.
“We want to rent a place with common space,” Titi said. “Especially with kids we like to have a kitchen, it’s nice to be able to cook.”
“Big Sky” has a contemporary design with a large gourmet kitchen and open living room area, which is something that drew Titi to the house and something many vacationers look for when shopping for a vacation rental.
“It has a really open floor plan,” said Titi. “People can be hanging out in the living room or cooking or spending time in the dining room, and have one conversation.”
Part of Morris’ expertise is helping homeowners make their house a desirable property for renters.
She worked with Susie Williams on her 1950s cabin to create a vintage lake-front getaway in Carnelian Bay.
“We de-cluttered,” Morris said. “We took a dated property and made it super cute.”
Morris said “Silver Blue Lodge” now has a maximized view and is bright, full of character and gorgeous.
“My goal is to emphasize the beauty of the property and where we are,” she said.
Morris said when helping a homeowner de-clutter, her pet peeves are artificial plants and over-the-top cabin themed decorations.
“You don’t need a plastic plant when you live here,” she said.
Each property offers something unique and different, whether it is “Boater’s Paradise” with a boat house turned summer cottage; the vintage kitchen and appliances of “Silver Blue Lodge”; or the corner windows and panoramic views of “Big Sky” in Truckee.
“We want to make homes with more flavor, more cozy, more homey,” Morris said. “It’s about where we are and less so about the knick knacks and ‘Tahoe’ stuff.”
Marmot Vacation Rentals also offers concierge services such as dinner-on-arrival, grocery shopping, guides and tours and event planning.
Reunions, birthday parties, family gatherings and marriage proposals are some of the events that guests come to North Lake Tahoe to celebrate and Morris and Marmot hope to augment in any way possible.
“The idea is that you relax,” Morris said. “Creating memories, that’s what I’m passionate about, being a part of that.”
There is such a thing as loving a place to death, and with the growing masses visiting Lake Tahoe every year, overtourism is a top issue.