Grand Residences by Marriott at Lake Tahoe (A Marriott Grand Residence Club Property) Part 1

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My good friend, Katy, has a three year old daughter (featured here), and their family loves traveling the world as much as mine.  Since (sadly) I can’t visit every location or hotel, from time to time she shares some of her experience traveling using miles and points at some locations I haven’t yet had the chance to visit.  Here is her post about a recent stay at the Grand Residences by Marriott at Lake Tahoe.  This is a part of the Marriott Grand Residence Club, but they make units available to non-owners on a space available basis.

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Arriving in Lake Tahoe:
As we arrive in South Lake Tahoe area to start our holiday family ski trip we were greeted with the sweet smell of smoke…and lots of  it.  It turns out the U.S. Forest Service’s Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit does prescribed slow controlled burns during the winter months.  It just so happened to start a few days before we arrived.  The Marriott staff explained that they really don’t know when this will happen either until they themselves start to smell the smoke. They said they received a lot of complaints about it, but guests were pretty understanding it was obviously out of their control.   You could not smell the smoke at all once you were gaining altitude towards the ski slopes, but it was rather strong in the village the first day we were there.
Check-in at the Grand Residences by Marriott at Lake Tahoe:

Upon arrival the front desk agent was helpful and made check-in easy.  We had a problem with our reservation since I had made a reservation for the first four nights of the trip, and then a couple months later we chose to add one more night to the trip.  The same two bedroom layout was not available (there was only a penthouse layout what included a loft area), but I made it anyway hoping we could see if they could keep us in the same room.  I called the reservation line on our way up to Tahoe and they graciously allowed us to stay in the same room.  They even charged us the amount for the regular two bedroom unit rather than the penthouse price for that last night. They did not have to do this since there is a 24 hour cancellation/change window and I was past it when I finally got a chance to contact them.

The hotel is large and as I explain later, is actually one part of three Marriott properties located around the gondola in Heavenly Village.  Technically it is a ski-in, ski-out hotel, though in Heavenly Village you have to take a gondola to actually get to the ski lifts.  The view is definitely beautiful going up but it is a slight pain having to take a gondola just to get to the lifts themselves compared to some true ski in/out locations.  Also, whether you are skiing or not, you do have to pay for the gondola ride.

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Katy Ski Heavenly

This particular hotel had a vast lobby with various sitting areas, TV’s and game (chess, checkers) stations throughout.

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Make sure to visit the concierge as you check in.  They have coupon booklets and random other discounts for places throughout the South Lake Tahoe area.  Next to the concierge desk was an area full of brochures of what to see and do while in the area. We found these useful and ended up taking advantage of a few of them, which I will go into detail about in a later post.

The Suite:

This property has lots of different room types.  There are technically three different Marriott properties all located together around the gondola in Heavenly Village.  The other Grand Residence is a one, two, and three bedroom property while the Marriott Timber Lodge, and our property, were studio, one, and two bedroom properties.

In our property alone there are over 400 units since units can be split up and created in various ways.  Our two bedroom could end up being a one bedroom (two queens) unit with two baths, or a one bedroom (king bed) with two baths.  Our two bedroom condo had a separate living and dining area, fully equipped kitchen, three closets, three full baths, two couches – one can be made into a sofa-bed, and flat screen TV’s located in each room.

The master bedroom came with a king size bed and a full bath with soaking jacuzzi tub and shower and fireplace.

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The second bedroom had two queen beds and a full bath with a soaking tub/shower combo. This room was a bit more spacious than the master bedroom.

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The living, dining  and kitchen area was a great size for our family of five adults and one toddler, and we were never in each others way…except in the kitchen which is pretty small, but served its purpose.  The sitting area had two couches (the larger being a sleeper sofa) plus the windows had two loungers under them.  My brother actually slept on one of the loungers because he has a bad back and really needed a harder “mattress.”  He kept sleeping there every night because it was so comfortable.  The loungers had built in drawers under them for storage, and the TV was on top of a dresser with a good amount of drawers for more storage space.

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The kitchen came fully furnished with all the needed utensils, plates, pans, silverware, etc.  As a mom who over-plans for any possible situation, I brought some extra kitchen utensils and essentials just in case, but there was no need for me to have done all that.  We did grocery shop and load up a cooler to save a little extra money before we came.

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This area of the unit also had a full bath with a bathtub/shower combo.  There was a closet and even a nook with a bench to put your ski stuff in so it stays out of the way of the living area.  The condo had two balconies and overlooked the pool area. It stayed pretty noisy until late at night in the pool area.  The hostess clued us in that they have a lot of complaints about rooms near Base Camp Pizza restaurant as music is usually played in that area late into the night.  The quieter areas seem to the rooms located near the parking lot.

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I was able to see what the one bedroom unit looked like and the bedroom was not much different but the sitting/kitchen area was quite a bit smaller. The other difference was the one bedroom not only had a a sofa-bed but it also had a murphy bed built into the living room wall.

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Living/Kitchen area of a one bedroom unit

Prices:

Prices for these rooms/condos change drastically during peak season. Our two-bedroom condo was $240 a night during the week of December 14th.  Once we left on the 19th, the price after a few days was rising to $850 a night.  The internet is free, valet parking $26 per night (no self-parking option).

The studio rooms starts at 35,000 Marriott points for the night.  Read this thread for a good sign-up bonus if you are interested in getting a Marriott credit card.  Since this is a timeshare situation, if you plan to pay in cash instead of points, you may be able to get a better deal from an owner than directly from the hotel.

Some Amenities:

There are laundry rooms on site.  The room was located within close walking distance to our room and there are several on each floor. We did not end up using the laundry facilities on this trip, but it would be helpful on a longer trip.

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The pool are was not a huge factor in our visit during the winter, but our daughter did go down there once…then didn’t ask again the rest of the trip!

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The pool was supposed to be set in the 80’s but I still don’t think she enjoyed the chill from the air after getting in.  However, my brother and dad utilized the hot tub quite a bit.  Since our room was next to the pool we got a good glimpse at night, and it does get pretty lively after the sun goes down.

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There are saunas and steam rooms located inside the spa on-site.  Again, my brother used them regularly but I didn’t.  I skied from morning until the lifts closed, and then all I wanted to do was eat and go to bed.

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The workout room was stocked with lots of equipment and weights in case you didn’t get enough exercise on the mountain!

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There are definite perks to being a guest at this Marriott while skiing in the area.  The Powder House and Heavenly Sports, as well as many other rental stores, give a discount to Marriott guests if you mention you are staying there. Be aware that while you can take your ski boots in the hotel, they do not allow you to bring your skis and snowboards in and out.

In part two of this review, I will discuss discounts, ski rentals, skiing this area and what activities we tried.

My three year old almost ready to hit the slopes!

My three year old almost ready to hit the slopes!

Overall Impressions:

This property was in a fantastic location and met our family’s needs perfectly for the stay.  The price was very reasonable considering how many people were able to stay in the condo, and we would absolutely return there in the future.

Stay tuned for part two!

Comments

  1. That entire Marriott complex made up of Grand Residence and Timber Lodge is absolutely awesome. It can’t get any better for skiers with the gondola entrance sitting right between the two.

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