Lake Tahoe, Nevada
Remember when Donna Summer was the reigning chanteuse of neon lights and breathless nights? Back then she kept the world on its feet with her sassy, boogie-till-you-drop dance music. But even the Queen of Disco needed R&R on occasion. For those times, in a style befitting a queen, she bought a stunning piece of land and built a Tudor castle on a peak above Lake Tahoe.
After Summer and her sound faded from the airwaves, the estate became a guest house for high-profile celebs and, later, a remote recording studio for the likes of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Today, The Castle is a B&B, but it's far from your ordinary inn.
Perched on Kingsbury Grade, near the Nevada portals of Heavenly resort, this baronial, romantic retreat is fit for the most royal lords of the boards. When you see the regal chambers, however, skiing may not be the first thing that crosses your mind. Guinevere's Bower, popular with honeymooners, is a huge suite that has a canopied, four-poster bed, a stone fireplace and a deck with majestic views of the lake ($255-$295 per night). For a less princely sum, you can retire to either of two smaller quarters-Sir Lancelot's Suite or King Arthur's Retreat, both of which have jacuzzis and are appointed with antiques ($165-$235 per night).
Of course, a castle would not be complete without proper innkeepers. And so you have Fran and Mike Wilson, ex-pats from Britain, who mind the manor. Fran's breakfast specialties, served in-room, include Eggs Excalibur, a layered repast of toasted English muffin, smoked salmon, poached egg and hollandaise. And don't leave without trying the lemon curd, pure ecstasy in a jar. It has just enough zing to get you out of the comfort of your room and onto the slopes.
Contact: The Castle at Summer Place, P.O. Box 2077, Stateline, NV 89449; 775-586-8338 or 888-891-8338; www.castleatsummerplace.com.