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New resort, restaurants, and activities in South Lake Tahoe

Diablo's Executive Editor explores South Lake and finds fun, food, and a fancy place to stay.


Photo courtesy of 968 Spa Resort

South Lake Tahoe is out with the old and in with the new—appropriate for the season, the new economy, and the new era. So what does that mean? A new green hotel, a cool take on a venerable breakfast spot that will put some whole wheat in your short stack, a wine bar with a vending machine that spurts out only the loveliest of vintages, and a super-happenin’ Nuevo Latino restaurant inside one of the classic casinos.

At the newly opened and eco-friendly 968 Park Spa Resort, reclaimed and recycled materials went into an understated but totally stylish renovation that includes some of the most comfortable beds on Earth. A standard room, which goes for about $200 a night, isn’t huge, but the high-tech mattresses, creamiest of organic cotton sheets, and cozy blankets will have you hitting the snooze button ‘til noon. 968parksparesort.com.

Get your feet on the floor, though, and head over to Bear Beach Café. The sister restaurant of the been-there-forever Heidi’s, Bear Beach has a few more veggie breakfasts, bakery-quality whole wheat toast, and a bit of oats and whole wheat in the pancake batter. This is not crunchy-granola land by any means, but the hearty food and beautiful view of the lake will inspire you to head out and make some turns at nearby Heavenly. 3310 Lake Tahoe Blvd., South Lake Tahoe, (530) 541- 2321

After skiing, you are in for a treat. Après wine bar, in the Ski Run Center, has a sophisticated lineup of wines from California and all over the world. Après serves 24 wines by the glass, in addition to the 24 available in the Enomatic wine-dispensing machines. Taste before you buy a bottle, or just come to relax over a glass and enjoy the vibe. Après is also a good place to pick up a wine-related gift, whether you’re looking for something drinkable, practical, or just fun. apreswineco.com

Oh, yeah, and then you’re in for another treat. Latin Soul, tucked into a corner of the Lakeside Casino, is the creation of Chef Alvaro Ochoa, a native of Guadalajara who’s gone pan-Latino with his menu of out-of-control guava–habanero chile ribs, juicy rib-eye and tangy-spicy chimichurri sauce, rich achiote pork taco, tender home-made beef empanadas, and buttery corn bread pudding, to name just a few of the must-tries. And whatever you do, do not forget to get the Latin Soul margarita – two shots of tequila, agave nectar instead of sugar, and fresh lime juice.lakesideinn.com

By the way, if you’re in South Lake for the weekend, and you’ve got kids, check out the Saturday night Kids Night Out at Tahoe Gymnastics (530-544-7314).

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