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“Nice area, nice people, but cubicles are way too small”

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Clair Tappaan Lodge
San Rafael, CA
Level Contributor
129 reviews
41 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
“Nice area, nice people, but cubicles are way too small”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 July 2013

My daughter is a life-time member of the Sierra Club and we love to hike so decided to try this lodge. It is in a great area - on Hwy 40 - just a few miles away from Donner summit and Donner Lake. The desk staff is very helpful on providing information on day hikes, etc. We hiked to the top of Boreal Ridge the first day and did the Judah Mtn Loop the next day - both trails very close to lodge. We met some nice guests helping set the dinner and breakfast tables, and in the main living room. But, we were staying in cubicles which were very small (even though we each had our own). Neither one of use slept well the first night and we elected to leave early (and they were very accommodating). I would go back if we could get a room rather than a cubicle! Prison cells are bigger! The food was good, the location great, and the women's bathroom was spacious and clean, albeit the hair dryer was very low power. It also go warm upstairs where the cubicles are.

Room Tip: do not get a cubicle
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank babygame
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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29 reviews from our community

Traveller rating
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    12
    4
    2
    0
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10
5
5
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (8)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Fremont, California
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 May 2013

I was introduced to CTL, affectionately known as just The Lodge, when I was in my teens and returned with my own children from the time they were babies. The four of them now range from 18-25 and I'm happy they talk of bringing their own kids some day. Not only is the setting gorgeous, but the camaraderie among the guests is what makes us return. Family style dining, evenings spent in the inviting common rooms, even a hot tub open to the fresh air! The kids always found new friends to hang with and looked forward to exploring all up and down the many floors and hallways. Give it a try.. It's not luxury, it's better than that, it's a return to a simpler time when people spent time together :)

Room Tip: Choice of family rooms, single gender dorms, or tiny cubicles that sleep two. In the winter ask for...
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank Erin D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Davis, California
Level Contributor
16 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 January 2013

I love to downhill ski and have a season pass at Sugarbowl, and I often drive up from Davis one day, ski all day, then stay overnight at Clair Tappaan Lodge. While not fancy, the lodge is comfortable and warm. The staff is always friendly and helpful, the hot tub great, and the food is excellent and plentiful! It's enjoyable to chat with the other guests at the meals, and I sometimes find sometime to ski with.

Room Tip: There are dorm rooms, but also "cubicles" that are small, private rooms for 1-2 people.
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  • Stayed January 2013, travelled solo
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Helpful?
2 Thank Laurie F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Louisville, Kentucky
Level Contributor
27 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 September 2012

CTL is a great place to stay for a hiking trip. There are many day hikes within a 10 mile radius of the Lodge. The food provided is plentiful and good. THe staff is very knowledgeable about places in the area to see.

Room Tip: If you want a little more privacy ask for a cubicle or family room
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with friends
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    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Ian S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lynchburg, VA
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 September 2012

When you stay at CTL you do it because it’s set amid some of the most beautiful mountains on earth and is the gateway to almost unlimited recreational opportunities, you don’t do it because of the interior amenities. The rooms are small, the lodge is noisy and funky. If you expect grand accomodations like those at the Ahwahnee then you will be disappointed.
In 1934, Sierra Club volunteers built CTL as a rustic retreat for hikers, skiers, and mountain climbers. Located near Donner Summit, the area receives the highest average snowfall of the entire Sierra Nevada Range, making it a favorite of winter sports enthusiasts. In summer, a network of nearby trails offers miles of hiking, bicycling and provides access to fishing streams, remote meadows and peaks and good swimming lakes.
The lodge has a special rustic charm. It has a spacious living room, enormous fireplace, cozy library and outdoor fire ring. A small, friendly staff cares for the Lodge. In keeping with the cooperative spirit of the Lodge, each guest pitches in by doing a simple chore that requires about a half-hour each day. The price for three meals a day and lodging is around $60 per person per day.

Room Tip: There are three types of rooms: 50 square foot "Cubicles", men's and women's dorm...
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Stayed August 2012, travelled with friends
Helpful?
1 Thank Tom B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Jacksonville, Florida
Level Contributor
153 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 August 2012

You need to understand what you are getting. This is a "lodge" in the sense of a sprawling old place in the mountains with bunk beds and communal dining, not like The Lodge at Pebble Beach. And if your expectations are right you will find a lot to like about this place.

My wife and I stayed for 6 nights in August. We snagged one of the three rooms (called cubicles because of the small size) that had a double bed so we could sleep together. Other couples rooms are upper and lower bunks. The room is barely larger than the bed, no closet so clothes stayed in suitcase and that slid under the bed.

Down the hall are a mens and womens bathrooms. They were very clean and looked recently renovated.

Breakfast and dinner are communal meals in the large dining room. Portion size and quality were very good. Dinners ranged from roast pork loin to lasagna to meatloaf. A vegetarian option was available at every meal. Breakfasts were filling ranging from French toast to pancakes to scrambled eggs. You make your own bag lunch each morning before breakfast from a nice selection.

You are responsible for a chore at breakfast and one at dinner. An example of a chore might be setting the tables or helping to prepare the salad or putting dishes into the dish washer. While we were ther everyone pitched in joyfully and it was never a burden.

What we came for was the great hiking in the area. We had five fabulous hikes in five days. Two hikes to mountain peaks, one along Lake Tahoe and two to pristine lakes where we swam. the lodge staff can give you options and directions.

Almost all other guests we met had been here before. Mostly people from CA. We enjoyed it and would come back. And lodging and meals was all about $100/day total for the two of us.

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
3 Thank SunDogandCompany
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
LA Area
Level Contributor
11 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 January 2012

I have stayed at this lodge at various times of the year for over twenty years. The lodge is an either love it or hate place. If you are a camper or outdoorsy type, then the bunk bed accommodations, central restrooms and showers should present no problem. A great time to go is in the middle of the week as like anywhere else, it can get crowded on winter weekends. There is lots to do no matter what time of year you go: skiing, snowshoeing, hiking (the Pacific Crest Trail passes near by) or just sitting by the fireplace reading. The lodge also has several huts that one can use if you are so inclined. It is a historic lodge: Ansel Adams use to stay there. Go and enjoy yourself.

  • Stayed January 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Theaternut
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Clair Tappaan Lodge

Property: Clair Tappaan Lodge
Address: 19940 Donner Pass Road, P.O. Box 36, Norden, CA 95724
Region: United States > California > Norden
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Ski-In / Ski-Out
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Speciality Lodging in Norden
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:2 star — Clair Tappaan Lodge 2*
Number of rooms: 145
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Clair Tappaan Lodge is a hostel-style mountain lodge nestled in the Sierra Nevada of California at the top of Donner Pass. Built by Sierra Club volunteers in the 1930s, the lodge is an excellent home base for year-round recreation. The friendly, casual atmosphere and affordable nightly rates (including family-style meals) make the Lodge the perfect rustic getaway to the Tahoe/Donner area. Please note, hostel-style means guests bring their own bedding, towels, and assist with kitchen chores daily. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Clair Tappaan Hotel Norden

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