Overview: Basecamp Hotel owner Christian Strobel took a cookie-cutter roadside motel and tasked designer Elaine Cotter with an update. Now, camping nostalgia pairs with modern minimalism in 50 rooms at the Basecamp Hotel. Common spaces like the lobby lounge and optional family-style dinners make it feel like a cool, grown-up hostel. It sits between Lake Tahoe—rent a stand up paddleboard just down the road—and Heavenly, which offers gondola-accessed hiking. Options abound for roadies and mountain bikers.
Notable: Roast s’mores at the fire pit outside the bar, then revel in artwork by San Francisco illustrator Wendy MacNaughton. Her clever take on the outdoors—diagrams of typical yuppie backcountry travelers, for instance—gives the property a sense of humor.
Stay Here If: You’re a design aficionada. Even the paper bag holding your morning granola is cleverly branded.
Information: Summer rates start at $129. Accommodations range from an indoor tent housing a king bed to a bunkroom for eight. basecampmotels.com —Heather Hansman
From the Summer 2013 issue.