Every epic ski day deserves a storybook ending. And since epic ski days abound in Tahoe, you may want to book a night at The Cottage Inn, just to be safe. Tucked among towering pines and cedars on Lake Tahoe's West Shore, the inn's five cottages would look at home in Hansel and Gretel's forest. Each has a unique exterior-brickwork on one, another sided with hundreds of hickory limbs. Collectively, the cottages house a day lodge, eight suites and six studios, each with a distinctive decorative theme.
One of the most popular is the Bit o' Bavaria suite, featuring Alpine décor, light pine paneling, an eat-in kitchen and a balcony with a private hot tub. Romantic Hideaway is a haven for couples, with its two-story fireplace and a natural-rock jacuzzi with waterfall. Ski-inspired appointments, a jacuzzi and a corner fireplace make Skier's Chalet an ideal retreat after a day on the slopes. The studios-including Tahoe Teepee, Stagecoach Stop and Old Fishin' Hole-are thoughtfully decorated, but don't expect a lot of elbow room, especially in the bathrooms. All rooms offer stone fireplaces and entertainment centers-although you may be tempted to ignore the latter. The fairy-tale atmosphere makes technology seem out of place.
The cottages are a snowball's throw from the lake, and guests have access to an expansive private beach and lakeside park. There's also a sauna on the premises, and guests are welcome to convene in the cozy lodge-originally built in 1938 as a summer resort-for puzzles, games, or coffee and warm cookies. Most, however, don't stick around long; they're too eager to retreat to their rooms and live happily ever after-if only for a night.
Rates range from $129-$255 and include breakfast. Guests can receive $10 off lift tickets at Alpine Meadows, Homewood, Northstar-at-Tahoe and Squaw Valley. Children younger than 12 are not allowed. 800-581-4073; thecottageinn.com.