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Basecamp Tahoe City

Regina Winkle-Bryan • March 28, 2017

Photos: Basecamp

When Christian Strobel launched Basecamp with the Tahoe South, California location in 2012, he developed a brand that was more than your average boutique concept. He created a summer camp for adults. “It’s a base for exploration that looks to bring the spirit of adventure back into hospitality,” the founder and CEO of the brand explains.

With his latest outpost in Tahoe City (it joins the Tahoe South property along with a Boulder, Colorado location), he wanted to design a “hotel that spoke to the incredible natural beauty that surrounds the site,” he says, which is located just five minutes from the lake and at the doorstep of 22,000 acres of skiing, swimming, hiking, and the rugged outdoors.

Strobel teamed up with his friend and designer Kiko Singh to revamp a dilapidated 1960s motel, reimagining the 24-room property with adventure-seekers in mind. Gray tones and industrial fixtures imbue guestrooms with a rustic-chic aesthetic, and turquoise reading lamps and chairs add a necessary splash of color. Sturdy oak nightstands resembling firewood piles sit left and right of the beds, which are dressed in dark gray military-style canvas bed skirts.

Headboards are made in that same canvas material, depicting playful maps of Lake Tahoe—another nod to those halcyon days of youth. Some larger rooms feature dual bunk beds. Far from the rickety versions of yesteryear, these beds are set in powdercoated turquoise frames and topped with custom woolen blankets that feature gray- and rust-hued stripes.

Room 105 even masquerades as a makeshift campsite. On a carpet of faux grass sits a queen bed under a white canvas tent with turquoise lanterns aglow on either side. A light fixture comprising old-fashioned flashlights is suspended from the tent’s apex, and to complete the look, a pine picnic table and two lounge chairs are situated around a ring of stones and an electric campfire.

Basecamp’s communal areas are injected with more color and framed with a backdrop of windows overlooking the woodland setting. Recycled materials are used throughout, including the front desk that is “made from reclaimed corrugated iron that we had flattened by a bulldozer,” explains Strobel, adding that the top of the desk is a herringbone pattern crafted from salvaged wood. “Reclaimed wood has been a little overdone,” he says, “but it is so warm that we wanted to use it and apply it in a more refined way.”

In the communal area, three fireplaces—clad in blue and charcoal tile—complement gray and repurposed wood-paneled walls, while two black chesterfield sofas, a cheery red and blue rug, and the ever-ubiquitous mounted altars in the lobby, add to the coziness of the forest retreat. 

The sweeping views from the hotel’s two wooden decks glimpse over the South Lake Tahoe Mountains that encircle the lake. And as the sun sets, guests are encouraged to sit under the twinkling fairy lights, roast a marshmallow or two, and take in the glow of the evening’s bonfire.