Tahoe City’s Basecamp hotel: ‘modern mountain with a sense of humor’
Special to the Sun
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — The Basecamp Tahoe City Hotel recently opened across Highway 28 from Safeway in Tahoe City.
It is situated on the site of the Lake of the Sky Motor Inn, which was built around the time of the 1960 Olympics, and more recently known as the Aviva Motel.
The new hotel’s owner, Christian Strobel, developed a Basecamp Hotel in South Lake Tahoe near Stateline.
His concept for this hotel was “to take an under appreciated property and breathe new life into it,” says Basecamp general manager Robbie Kalinowski.
Strobel purchased the Aviva Motel in October 2014. It shut down in March of 2015 and then they began the tough process of becoming the first new hotel to be built in Tahoe City in years.
“We were hoping to be open in the summer of 2015. Then we hoped to be open for winter time,” Kalinowski said. “We were able to push it along and push it through eventually, but it took a lot longer then we had hoped. Tahoe City is a very hard place to do development.”
Basecamp has been open just a few weeks, and while the rooms are complete, staff is still finishing up some of the details on the outside. While the shell of the original building is still intact, the remodel ended up going right down to the studs in most places.
A primary focus of the hotel is to provide comfortable space for guests to gather. It combines the friendly atmosphere of a hostel or bed and breakfast, with the luxury of individual rooms.
The center of the hotel is the lobby, which has an open floor plan with a combination of comfy couch seating and a communal dining table and small bar.
“It is designed for people to come together; we’ve already had people meeting their new best friends in the lobby,” said Kalinowski. “There are craft beers I picked out myself, wine and coffee from local purveyors, and s’mores in the afternoon.”
The Sun Room sits at the back of the property and is another communal space. It’s a quiet place to relax and enjoy lake and forest views from the floor to ceiling windows.
The hotel plans on having it available as a meeting room and for small weddings. It sits adjacent to a large deck that leads to a patio area with lake views, which when the construction is complete will be highlighted by a hot tub.
Basecamp is packed with interesting art pieces, and hand-made fixtures designed to meet a decor theme Kalinowski calls “modern mountain with a sense of humor.”
Many of the most interesting pieces were produced by the owner himself, including a light fixture in the lobby. Also in the lobby is a huge depiction of Lake Tahoe made with hundreds of feet of rope.
Basecamp’s 24 rooms reflect this same fun mountain theme. There are cartoon wall hangings depicting outdoor life, director’s chairs, and classic silver ice chests in some of the rooms.
The two family oriented rooms are unique. One is designed for a family of five, an often overlooked group at hotels, with a queen and three single beds aloft.
The other is known as the great indoor family room, which contains two connected rooms designed for a family of four. It has an “Explorers Welcome” theme with an old canvas tent feel and lots of fun features for kids.
There are also several Basecamp King rooms, which are top-of-the-line rooms perched at the back of the property with views of the lake. Finally, there are dog-friendly rooms available for rent.
“The Tahoe City Downtown Association is thrilled to welcome the new Basecamp hotel to downtown Tahoe City,” said Stacie Lyans, executive director of the TCDA. “This boutique hotel really helps to fill a niche in Tahoe City for modern adventurers looking for their own basecamp, with beer on tap in the renovated lobby, bunk beds and kids sleeping coves.
“This hotel is just another step for Tahoe City becoming America’s Best Mountain Town.”
Basecamp is reaching out to locals and getting involved in the community by providing housing for band members for Sunday night Commons Beach Concerts.
The hotel also hopes to have community events in the off-season. In the meantime, Kalinowski says to “stop by and grab a cup of coffee.”
Tim Hauserman, a nearly lifelong resident of Tahoe City, is a freelance author and cross-country ski instructor. He may be reached at email@example.com.
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While Lake Tahoe is undoubtedly beautiful from the shore or mountains, nothing beats looking at the water right under your feet.