Tiny hotel, big recognition

For the second year in a row, a 40-room hotel in Truckee ranks second only to the Ritz-Carlton on U.S. News and World Report’s list of the 45 best hotels in the Lake Tahoe area.

cedar hotel

Jeff and Patty Baird’s tiny Cedar House Sport Hotel came out ahead of properties with much bigger budgets: Resort at Squaw CreekHyatt Regency Lake Tahoe and Harrah’s Lake Tahoe. The magazine evaluates industry rankings and assesses how travel experts and guests feel about each hotel before making its list.

Asked how Cedar House did it, Patty Baird told me: “Instead of training our staff on canned phrases and so forth, what we try to do is to anticipate what that guest wants before they even know they want it. … We want to show you why we live here. We want to show you our Tahoe.”

Back when Baird and her husband owned a construction design company, things would slow down in the winter, so they would go and ski in the European Alps, always staying at a tiny hotel where the owners ran the place and lived in it. They now live on the Cedar House campus, and CEO Patty Baird’s desk sits right near the hotel’s front desk.

Despite light snow and an economic downturn, revenue for the couple’s PB&J Hospitality, the parent company for their hotel and the on-site Stella restaurant, has grown by 10 to 18 percent for the last few years. Baird attributed the growth to a business strategy focused on giving consumers a reason to visit regardless of the weather. They added Stella in 2010, two years after opening the hotel, and Chef Jacob Burton has foodies coming from around the world for cooking boot camps and lunch lectures. At the same time, they constructed an event center that has been popular for corporate retreats and weddings. Then, in 2011, the Bairds acquired the adventure company Tahoe Trips and Trails to create wilderness immersion programs.

Source: Sacramento Bee

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