The Best Hotels and Vacation Rentals to Book in Truckee, California

Donner Lake Village provides panoramic views of Donner Lake with the Sierra Nevada rising around it
Donner Lake Village provides panoramic views of Donner Lake with the Sierra Nevada rising around it | Courtesy of Donner Lake Village / Expedia
Photo of Anna Kaminski
Writer19 November 2021

Framed by the Tahoe National Forest, the Sierra Nevada mountains and the deep blue of Donner Lake, there’s an Old West air to this venerable railroad town that’s an easy drive both from Sacramento and Reno, Nevada. Historical attractions such as the well-preserved downtown and Donner Memorial State Park aside, proximity to Lake Tahoe is one of the biggest draws of Truckee. In winter, skiers flock to the nearby downhill and cross-country ski resorts, while summer brings mountain bikers, hikers and rock climbers. Book the best lodgings through Culture Trip. They’re all here…

Cedar House Sport Hotel, for ski-lodge chic

The exterior of the Cedar House Sport Hotel, a wood building that incorporates recycled and unrefined materials
Courtesy of Cedar House Sport Hotel / Expedia

Distinguished by its innovative architecture, this boutique ecolodge takes its eco credentials seriously. The building itself incorporates recycled and unrefined materials, with “rain chains” diverting water from the roof garden into the low-flow plumbing. Room decor is “European ski lodge chic,” with platform beds, chocolate-colored accent walls and extra perks: iPod docks and complimentary chocolate chip cookies. Aimed at active travelers, the hotel provides complimentary bicycles, while the restaurant – Stella – serves wholesome fusion dishes, with ingredients sourced from producers within 100mi (160km) of Truckee.

Ski-slope proximity at Truckee Donner Lodge

Vast, carpeted room feature eye-catching lime-green wall, fireplace and views of trees outside at Truckee Donner Lodge
Courtesy of Truckee Donner Lodge / Expedia

Just west of town, off the I-80, the handy location of this unfussy former Holiday Inn helps you beat other ski bunnies to the slopes in the morning. Vast, carpeted rooms feature eye-catching lime-green walls, microwaves and minibars, appealing to busy vacationers with an eye for contemporary decor, and there are desks for those who need to catch up on emails in between trips to the slopes or mountain trails. Some of the rooms overlook the kidney-shaped pool.

Donner Lake Village, for fun on the water

Giant living room space with central fireplace and expansive panoramic views of Donner Lake at Donner Lake Village
Courtesy of Donner Lake Village / Expedia

Picture the scene: you open your patio door and are faced with expansive panoramic views of still blue waters and the Sierra Nevada looming behind the lake. Conveniently located just off the I-80 on the north shore of Donner Lake, this condominium-style resort draws water sports enthusiasts in the summer; they have boats and kayaks for rent, and if you’ve got your own craft, you can launch it in their private marina. Not all rooms face the water – but it’s so worth paying extra for the privilege.

Business meets leisure at Hampton Inn & Suites Tahoe-Truckee

The lit-up outdoor jacuzzi and pool area at night at Hampton Inn and Suites Tahoe-Truckee
Courtesy of Hampton Inn and Suites Tahoe-Truckee / Expedia

A couple of miles east of downtown Truckee, this lodge-style hotel on Hwy 267 is particularly handy for Truckee Tahoe airport. If you’ve stayed in a Hampton Inn before, you’ll be familiar with the set-up: spacious rooms with dark-wood furnishings, complimentary American breakfast and a spectrum of facilities both for vacationing families (pool, bike rental) and business travelers (business center, desks). If you want to soak your tired muscles after skiing, splurge on a king room with its own hot tub.

SpringHill Suites by Marriott Truckee, for car-owners

Stylish contemporary lounge space with fireplace and exposed beams at SpringHill Suites by Marriott Truckee
Courtesy of SpringHill Suites by Marriott Truckee / Expedia

Walking distance from downtown Truckee, this colorful all-suite hotel sits just off the I-80 – super-convenient if you’re driving to the ski slopes. (Top tip: if you’re a light sleeper, it’s best to pick a front-facing room.) The suites feature either two queen beds or one king, and the decor is refreshingly contemporary, with blue statement walls and bold splashes of color in the form of contemporary art. Thoughtful touches include plenty of sockets for all your tech, and sofas-turned-trundle-beds for those traveling with kids (or an extra adult).

Long-term lazing at Comfortable Stockholm Vista

Cozy seating area in front of fireplace with views of mountains at Comfortable Stockholm Vista
Courtesy of Comfortable Stockholm Vista /

This three-bedroom holiday home is a large wooden chalet with a first-floor deck, a short drive from Donner Lake, downtown Truckee and Tahoe Donner Golf Course. The position’s perfect for nearby skiing, and with its large windows framing forested vistas, it’s ideal for longer-term rentals, sleeping up to nine people. In winter, you can gather round the crackling flames in the large fireplace, while balmy summer evenings invite barbecues on the terrace. In a nutshell: just the ticket for self-sufficient self-caterers.

Hansel House, for natural surroundings

Multi-level house with floor-to-ceiling windows and the half-moon deck with forest views at Hansel House
Courtesy of Hansel House / Expedia

Another excellent option for self-caterers – this split-level three-bedroom house is surrounded by spruce trees in a wooded area north of Donner Lake. There are no TVs, no distractions, nothing to interfere with your appreciation of the woodland surroundings, with floor-to-ceiling windows and the half-moon deck on the first floor giving you unfettered access to nature. Several fireplaces and multiple terraces add to the appeal, along with a large, fully equipped kitchen and dining area, and en-suite bathrooms in each of the individually styled rooms.

Cosy confines at Pine Needle Meadows

The exterior of three-bedroom wood cabin of Pine Needle Meadows
Courtesy of Pine Needle Meadows /

If you’re looking for something a little more conventional, this cheery three-bedroom family home in the quiet Ponderosa Palisades neighborhood should fit the bill, southwest of downtown Truckee. The cozy living area is decked out with sofas in eye-popping primary colors, while the bedrooms – all with plasma-screen TVs, some with love seats – are tranquil spaces decked out in neutral shades. You can also fire up the grill on the outdoor terrace with no fear of the cold (there’s a handy space heater).

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