Monday, September 28, 2009

Why I love The Ritz-Carlton...

Ok, I know this seems pretty self-evident. Of course I love the Ritz-Carlton. But I had an experience in the past week that reminded me how much I love the Ritz-Carlton...AND made me very excited about the new Ritz-Carlton Highlands property that will be in N. Lake Tahoe at Northstar.

My husband Brad and I went to the Half Moon Bay property this past weekend in celebration of our anniversary. We had been there before and requested a room with a firepit that looked out at the ocean. They could not promise us this when we booked, but made a note to "try". (You have no idea how important this firepit and view were to me...)

We arrived at the property and were enthusiastically greeted with a "Good afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Tyler, Happy Anniversary". How did they know who we were before we got out of the car?

Anyway, checked in and went to our absolutely gorgeous room that had a firepit and looked over the golf course greened cliffs to the ocean below. They couldn't have made me happier. In addition, during the afternoon turn down service, rose petals were strewn all over our room and a "Happy Anniversary" card was left for us. Nice, thoughtful "touches" around every corner.

The plan: Apps then to dinner, next morning spa, then a walk on the beach, then twilight golf, then cocktails and out to dinner again. A good couple of days, right?

The spa was very relaxing and our treatments were some of the best that we have had. The beaches were gorgeous, the marine layer gave you the feel that you were in a mysterious timeless place from a storybook. For a moment while we were playing golf we thought we might be in Scotland. The lounges and gathering areas at the Ritz-Carlton were charming and the service was impeccable.

Bottom line: The Ritz-Carlton "experience" made us feel like we were the only people staying at the property and that the property was there just for us. I would not have changed a thing about our stay. (And that is saying something).

The beach may always be pretty and there may always be good restaurants, but having an amazing hotel resort to return to at the end of the night makes everything taste and look better.

About a month ago, we spent a weekend at a five-star very well-known resort for a wedding. I won't name names, but the experience was three star at best. While we were there, we said: "Every time we have stayed at the Ritz-Carlton it has been perfect". Or "This would have never happened if we were at The Ritz-Carlton". You get the point. And, we were right.

I truly believe that nobody has quite grasped the significance of having a Ritz-Carlton Highlands, Lake Tahoe property at Northstar is going to have on the North Tahoe area. There is NOTHING even remotely comparable to The Ritz-Carlton anywhere in the Tahoe area, and there are plenty of people who want to be treated the way that we were in Half Moon Bay, and in fact, only travel to places where they will get that treatment.

Sking in itself is the perfect day, coming to Tahoe has been a Bay area tradition since the beginning of time, but adding the Ritz-Carlton experience to the equation will change everything.

I can't wait for the property to open in early December and be one of the first people to be greeted in their lobby. Maybe I will figure out how they know who I am before I get in the door.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

North Tahoe Resorts Ranked in Ski Magazine Article

This is a "Reader's Pick" list from Ski Magazine about the top 30 ski resorts...

You will of course see Squaw in the top 10 and Northstar is climbing its way up at #16! The Ritz Carlton will be opening in December and will no doubt boost the rankings for 2011....

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Fall Tahoe Article in Sunset Magazine

Sunset Magazine featured Lake Tahoe for August, beautiful cover shot and a fun article.

Also scroll down to the bottom of the Sunset page to "Related Features". There are spotlight articles on activities in the area.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Flipping real estate again?

Surprised? I am. Could it be?

Yes. It is so. I have seen 2 cases of this in the last couple days. Investor-Buyers have come in, purchased a property on a short sale deal or some other situation, and they are turning the properties to sell for a profit in a fairly short time frame.

It was inevitable, I suppose...

In both cases the properties are unique enough that it may actually work, and each new seller could make anywhere from $100K-$500K more than what they paid for the properties. Or they may not be able to find buyers. Who knows? Both properties were purchased for just over $1M and are going to be listed north of $1.6M.

Now I am not suggesting that we all go out and buy low and flip....I am simply sharing the observation that some folks are doing that again. Which we have not seen up here in quite some time.

It takes patience to get some of these short sale and REO deals done, but patience (and cash liquidity) could pay off. I will be interested to see the outcome and will share with you what happens.