Updated: May 21, 2015
Review: Lake Tahoe Hotels - Ferrari's Crown ResortLake Tahoe is a popular tourist destination, pretty much year round. Winter skiing is terrific in the Sierra Nevada mountain range where Lake Tahoe sits - nearby resorts include Squaw Valley, Heavenly, Northstar, and Alpine Meadows to name a few. In the summer, popular activities include water sports on the lake, hiking, golf, mountain biking, and more. Other nearby cities include Truckee, Reno, and Carson City, but most people want to stay right on or near the lake, so finding a good hotel at Lake Tahoe was our goal during a summer visit in 2009. We were planning to stay around North Shore Lake Tahoe, where there are plenty of small hotels and motels along the lake around Kings Beach, Incline Village, and Tahoe City. South Shore is home to the larger gambling casinos and hotels. In the end, we chose to stay at the Ferrari Crown Resort right in Kings Beach, situated right on a sandy beach with views over Lake Tahoe.
Map of North Shore Lake Tahoe - Hotel and Ski AreasThe Google Map below shows the location of the Crown Resort on the North Shore of Lake Tahoe (it's the blue marker right in the center by Kings Beach). You can also click on some of the other blue markers which indicate nearby ski areas. Most people come in from Hwy 80 from either Reno or Sacramento, then take Hwy 267 from Truckee down into Kings Beach. The Kings Beach area in North Shore is just 15 minutes or so from Truckee, and 10 minutes from Northstar. Other motels nearby include the Falcon Lodge and Suites, Big 7 Motel, Sun n Sand Lodge, Tahoe Inn, and Stevenson's Holiday Inn.
View Lake Tahoe - Ferrari's Crown Resort in a larger map
If you are planning a stay at the Ferrari Crown, we recommend you visit their website first (http://www.tahoecrown.com). They offer a pretty nice map showing where even single room is, by room number, so you can request a specific room if you are looking for a specific location (like lakefront or near pool) - map is here: http://www.tahoecrown.com/9284. Be sure to call with any special room or other requests, as we've heard a few complaints about internet bookings not getting the details right.
Lake Tahoe Vacation Resort - Ferrari Crown HotelLet's start with the basic information people should know when they head for North Shore Lake Tahoe. Most of this area was developed for lodging decades ago, long before the concept of "resort" was dreamed up. Mostly what you find along the lake is basic motel lodging. You can call yourself a hotel, resort, whatever, most of these places are simply motels in a very glorious natural setting, namely on the shores of Lake Tahoe. So keep that in mind as you research Lake Tahoe hotels and motels - unless you see pictures showing you a glamorous property, assume it is a basic motel. With that in mind, there are run-down motels and very nicely kept motels. I'd put the Ferrari Crown in the category of the very nicely kept motels. Rooms are clean and acceptable, but there are no marble bathrooms with fancy tubs, no Sleep Number beds with designer sheets, comforters, and pillows. The pool areas are well-kept and hot tubs look right out over the lake as well. But the "resort" also sits right next to a pretty run-down looking group of apartments. The location is delightful, right on the lake with private beach, within walking distance to a few restaurants, just a short drive to Incline Village. So that being said, while this is not a fancy "resort" property, it does rank among the nicer motel options in North Lake Tahoe.
The Crown Resort offers 70 rooms, ranging from from basic singles near the highway to 2 bedroom family suites near the lake. Some sample room rates are below:
- Lakefront rooms (directly looking over lake) run $100-$210, depending on season
- Standard Rooms are $65-$150, depending on season and location (some with partial lake views)
- 2 Room Family Suites run $125-$235 per night
- in general, rooms closest to the highway are the cheapest, rooms closest to the lake are the most expensive
Some other features at The Ferrari Crown Resort include:
- they offer a complimentary continental breakfast daily
- free high speed internet access
- two swimming pools and hot tubs
- BBQ grills on the deck by the beach you can use
- kayak and jet ski rentals right next door
- adequate free parking
- some rooms with kitchenettes
- easy beach and lake access just feet away
Ferrari Crown Resort ReviewWe made the drive down to Lake Tahoe the last weekend of June. We had booked room 363, lakefront 2 queen bed unit, upstairs looking out over the lake. Finding the hotel/motel was easy - just turn left when you hit Lake Blvd. after coming dowm from Truckee, then just a few buildings up on the right (8200 N. Lake Blvd). Within just minutes you can drive to grocery store, drug store, and many more restaurants and activities, so the overall location was perfect. Check in was quick and easy, we were able to park right in front of our room (you pull into an initial parking lot where the office is for check-in -- if you have a lakefront room, you then drive through the little arch into the back parking lot). The motel is made up of several separate buildings. The pools and hot tubs are between the 2 rear buildings, just above the beach.
Let's start with the room. This back unit has the feeling of being an old apartment building -- there are covered parking spots below, then you head up a side staircase to the several upstairs rooms. Once up the stairs, the balcony and rooms there look directly out over the beach and lake -- the lakefront rooms truly are lakefront. There are a lot of multi-million $$ homes along Lake Tahoe that pay big bucks for these views, so from that standpoint, you really are getting your money's worth here. The room was pretty basic - 2 queen beds, small table, dresser, chair, small refrigerator, microwave. There were also chairs/benches outside the room on the balcony looking out over the lake, which was nice. The room was dated but clean. If you're accustomed to staying at the 4 Seasons, you will be disappointed. If you are accustomed to traveling with your family and staying in regular little motels you find across America, you'll be fine. Bathroom was very spartan, with a window that opened right onto the back parking lot with views of some rather dank apartments, sheets hanging in the windows for curtains, a broken window, people sitting out on chairs smoking and talking on the phone in the evening. Makes you not want to open the window.. But that is the backside of the building, and the opposite windows over the lake are of course wonderful. We used one of the pools with our kids, water was a little chilly, and it actually started to rain a bit which is pretty rare up there in the summer. We saw numerous other adults and children enjoying the pool/hot tub facilities at other times.
We walked along the beach after dinner one night, down to where there was a dock. There are a number of places along the beach that rent boats, kayaks, jetskis, even parasailing. We checked out early the morning we left, office was still closed, we never did get to try the continental breakfast. But we did do a breakfast and two dinners at nearby restaurants, all of which were quite good (Jason's for 1 dinner, a Mexican place just up the street for another). Overall, for an inexpensive lakeside motel, the Ferrari Crown is a safe bet. The location is good, rooms are clean and safe and affordable, management and staff is friendly and accomodating. Just know that it is an older motel and not a fancy mountain resort. You may want to check out one of the casino hotels if you are looking for snazzier and more exepensive lodging while in Lake Tahoe, or consider renting a home if you are staying for more than a few days. One nearby activity we recommend - a Truckee River rafting trip -- great fun for a few hours with the family.
To compare our own experience, we also checked with TripAdvisor.com. Out of 45 consumer reviews, The Ferrari Crown received a 4 out of 5 rating with many positive comments about the family-friendly environment, beach and lake access, and nearby restaurants. They also liked the affordable prices, and we agree.