When my family and I go on a ski vacation, it's all about the skiing, but that doesn't mean we don't care what's offered in the village. We do! Ski villages are a great place to stay for proximity to the mountain, but also for fun dining, a great apres ski environment, and a general lively atmosphere. The Village at Squaw is no exception.
Our two-bedroom village lodging included a full kitchen, living room with flat screen tv and balcony, two bedrooms, two bathrooms (one with a tub), and several closets to store gear. We loved the gas fireplace and the fact that we could hang out on our balcony to take in the view of the slopes and watch the skiers come in at the end of the day.
With lodging, you get access to a laundry facility in each building, as well as a fitness center and outdoor hot tubs located in buildings 2-5. (If you're in Building 1, as we were, you need to walk over to Building 2 for these facilities, but you are closer to the slopes...take your pick.)
The only negatives of village lodging: the square footage of the units are smaller than some we've experienced in the Tahoe area, which wouldn't matter if you didn't have so much stuff with you when you're skiing. We wished the unit had more hooks for ski wear (or some sort of mud room entry way area). The kitchen is stocked with dishes, pots and pans, and utensils, but not basic spices, so you'll need to come prepared.
We ate in our unit most nights (a big perk of having a kitchen) but we did eat out at MamaSake (great sushi) and at KT Base Bar (nice BBQ on fair weather days). We utilized the fire pits in the village as well, to roast marshmallows. There's a small grocery store on-site for anything you forgot, but you'll want to do major shopping in Truckee.
There's a Starbucks in Building 2, and plenty of other breakfast food in the Olympic House, as well as my kids' favorite: EuroSnacks and EuroSweets in kiosks near the Funitel gondola.
As I disclose whenever applicable, we experienced Squaw village lodging as guests of the resort, for the purpose of review.
A weekend stay at the Village at Squaw is magical. Whether you’re warming your hands by the fire or drying your snow boots on the hearth, you’re sure to feel at home snuggled up on the couch watching TV with the kids as your spouse prepares dinner from a designer kitchen. I can't recommend it enough. Go,Go,Go!!!!
My family stayed in a 2 bedroom condo which comfortably fit a family of 5. Our condo featured two bathrooms with heated floors, a full designer kitchen, living room with fireplace, a dining room, and a balcony overlooking the Village. It was AWESOME! Waking up to the view from my balcony was like waking up to Christmas morning!
Lodging guests of the Village at Squaw have 24 hr. access to a heated underground parking garage. Once you've pulled your car in, you're able to access your condo without having to drag your luggage and the kids outside in the cold. Whew!
The Village at Squaw Valley offers breathtaking mountain views and is a trendy collection of outdoor shops, cool restaurants, hip bars, and art galleries. All it has to offer is mere steps away if you stay at The Village at Squaw. At meal time, my family had only to walk a few steps from our front door to reach a delicious restaurant. It was so convenient! Another great convenience was The Village’s small grocery store which was near the entrance of our condo. I loved being able to buy grocery items without having to take the car!
KID FRIENDLY WINTER RECREATION
While staying at the Village, we decided to go tubing. It was as easy as walking out the front door. Please read my review of Squaw's tubing hill. OMG, time of my life! Magic carpets rule! Depending on the age of your child, you may want to drive your car to the parking lot closest to the tubing hill. If I had to guess the distance from my front door to the tubing hill at SnoVentures Lodge, I'd say .25 of a mile.
In the Village, there's a candy/yogurt shop next to Mamasake. Your kids will love it! There's also a giant chair that my children couldn’t resist climbing. It's the Village's version of a roadside oddity and it's prime for photo ops.
By car, Squaw Valley is only a few minutes away and Alpine Ski Resort is an easy 15. If you're driving to catch a morning ski lesson at Alpine, remember to give yourself extra time for traffic.
Disclosure: I received complimentary lodging. My review reflects my honest opinions and was not influenced by the Village at Squaw or its affiliates.
I have to preface that this trip was partially compensated by Squaw Valley and arranged by Trekaroo in exchange for an honest, un-biased review by yours truly. Our lodgings, lift tickets, lessons and rentals were comped. The rest of the $$$ squandered is something that we did of our own volition, but believe me, totally worth it regardless of the free diggs! In fact we had such a good time (again, un-biased) we're thinking about buying a time share...nice work Squaw Valley!
FURNISHINGS WERE HIGH END ALL THE WAY
Our suite was large with designer paint, quality fixtures, tasteful furnishings, and a contemporary Craftsman's feel. The fully outfitted kitchen with granite counters, dishwasher, and full sized stainless steel fridge and stove/oven/microwave was impressive.
YOUR GET WHAT YOUR PAY FOR
Honestly, this the unit we were in had furnishings that were on par with some of the more ritzy hotels we've stayed in (sans kiddies, even), and totally cleaned the floor with the renowned Disney Hotel we'd just paid way too much money to book, and had been thoroughly disappointed with a week before.
There was more than enough seating for our family of four (kitchen bar with counter seating, and a dining table for 6). There was also a patio terrace that had views of the mountain and a small patio set to enjoy some fresh air. The living room had a gas fireplace with stone surround, a pull out sofa bed, and a television. We could have easily fit another family of four in here with us.
The two bedrooms were great: the master had a king sized bed, large closet, tv, and a bathroom attached. And then way on the other side (haha) the other bedroom had two twin beds and a nice sized closet, too. There was a separate bathroom with shower/tub across the way.
WARM FEET ON THE RADIANT HEATED FLOORS
When I ran the kids a warm bath, and they were super stoked about the radiant heated floors (no cold feet!), and the large soaking tub had Alexi singing, "I'm swimming! I'm swimming!" in no time. One bedtime story, and they were conked out, fast asleep in no time!
I explored the suite a little more after the kids went to bed, and noticed small touches that definitely, in my opinion, made the place stand out as "family friendly" luxury accommodations. 1. There were hooks for towels everywhere. How many hotels have you been to that ask you to "hang up your towel and save a tree," but hide the towel rack so you have no choice but to leave it on the ground? 2. Toilet paper was 2 ply. My big peeve with the last hotel we stayed at was they used crappy toilet paper (no pun intended) and you were paying an arm and a leg for it. Not so at Squaw! 3. Shampoo and soaps were nice quality, smelled great, and gentle on the kid's sensitive skin 4. There was an old-school warm air humidifier under the sink. How fantastic is that? 6. There was a small collection of board games for the kids to play with. A mean game of Connect Four ensued nightly 7. Since it was a winter resort I liked that the place had plenty of places to hang jackets and helmets, dry snow boots and gloves, and lockers to house snowboard and ski equipment.
STAFF: DOWN RIGHT CASUAL AND PERFECTLY NICE
The front desk staff was super nice, arranged for a doorman to meet us in the garage to help us with our bags, and told us we still had time to grab dinner at the restaurant we'd decided to check out while we were driving up (score!). Doorman turned out to be very cool. He joked with the kids, chased the one son down the hall, and had the other one giggling like mad; even despite the fact the kid was on the edge of a melt down from hunger. I wanted to hug the doorman before he left, but thought it might freak him out.
The only cons about the unit I could come up with were the TVs were a little dated and...well...that's all I could come up with for cons.