I have always wanted to star in a Wes Anderson movie. Although I am pretty confident I will never make it as an actress, not even an extra, my big break came at Basecamp Hotel in South Lake Tahoe. Newly opened in June 2012, this extremely popular hotel can be best described as summer camp for adults.
Much like the artistic magic Mr. Anderson weaves through every one of his films, Basecamp Hotel created beauty out of brokenness, failure, decay, and even ugliness. Built on the site of an infamous party hotel that couldn’t pay the bills, falling into horrible disrepair and becoming a refuge for the local homeless, Basecamp founder Christian Strobel and designer Elaine Cotter envisioned the potential for a stylish spot where people could come together in a home away from home.
Fifty different rooms, all with a similar outdoor themed style, range from a standard king to the bunk lined Explorers Room where you can hang with 7 of your closest friends. The Great Indoors room, my personal favorite, instantly transports you onto the set of Moonrise Kingdom, complete with canvas tent over the king size bed, faux campfire, lanterns, camp chairs, picnic table, igloo cooler, faux grass flooring, and a beautiful wooded path scene fully covering the hotel room wall.
Not surprisingly, Basecamp caters to the adventure set, people who want to get after it outside and explore what Tahoe has to offer. No detail is overlooked, such as locking ski, snowboard, and bike racks just outside your hotel room, with bike tool stations scattered throughout.
When you have finished one of the year round outdoor activities South Lake Tahoe has to offer, such as hiking and biking the hundreds of miles of local trails, paddle boarding, or shredding the 4,800 acres of skiable terrain at Heavenly only one block away from the hotel, you can return to the cozy hotel lobby for happy hour with hot chocolate and local brews on tap. Three nights a week, Basecamp staff even serve an alpine style dinner of raclette and fondu. Relax in the hot tub or sit with friends around the outdoor fire pits and toast s’mores while telling stories of the days adventures.
Take note- Basecamp Hotel is not for those of you looking for a peaceful getaway. With rooms catering to families and large groups, there is always something going on. I fully expected to open my hotel room door to see the tracksuit clad Tenenbaum kids practicing fire drills up and down the stairs.
I paid full price each time I stayed at Basecamp Hotel so they have not influenced me in anyway to write about the property. I simply appreciate that it is an affordable hotel, within walking distance of Heavenly, and close to all the amazing outdoor activities that South Lake Tahoe has to offer. Basecamp has such a great vibe, is filled with nice people, and really caters to the outdoor set. A write up in the New York Times and many other publications means Basecamp is no longer one of Tahoe’s best kept secrets. But just as Max plainly states in Rushmore, “Well, I was in love with her first.”