Boarding Pass: Lakes
Jul 01, 2015 10:03AM
● By Dia
Summer travels in Texas usually involve making a stop at a lake or two. But ask a resident Texan what color a lake usually is, and he or she will likely say brown or grey. We have no shame in our color pallet, but wouldn’t it be nice to take the word “bland” out of your viewing vocabulary and tour some of the world’s bluest lakes?
From the shores of California to our neighbors far, far south of the border, there are must-see lakes to experience this summer – if only for their breathtaking hues.
Lake Tahoe, California
Staying on U.S. soil, the first stop on the lake tour is Lake Tahoe. What’s often thought of as a winter retreat, Lake Tahoe during the summer can be just as exciting. Boasting a 72-mile shoreline circumference, the lake shares it shores with California and Nevada. Because of its size, visitors usually pick one area of the lake to explore – one of four quadrants – and each is unique in its own right.
The North Shore, specifi ally the western side in California, is a mountain lover’s paradise. What better way to admire the blue waters of what is referred to as the “jewel of the Sierras” than mountainside? From hiking and biking to climbing and kayaking, there is plenty to do for lake lovers.
First things first, set up camp in Truckee, California, the gateway to the North Shore. And by camp, we mean reserve a room at The Ritz- Carlton Lake Tahoe resort. You did come for the view, right? Guest rooms and suites feature floor-to-ceiling windows and an in-room gas fire lace. Although the summer days may be warm and inviting, at night, temperatures can plummet to the low 40s.
Just 15 minutes from Lake Tahoe, The Ritz-Carlton resort offers a variety of water activities through the Tahoe Adventure Company, including stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. If you decide to stick close by and admire the lake from afar, there are miles of hiking trails, a Jack Nicklaus championship golf course, and an abundance of things to do for the kids, including a roller-skating rink. But the coolest thing by far is the on-site certifiedMarshmologist who gives lessons in s’mores making at the end of a busy but enjoyable day.
Lake Louise, Canada
Heading north on the lake tour, the next stop is Lake Louise at Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada. With waters that vary from crystal blue to emerald in color, you can see why this lake made the list. From high in the mountains to down in the valley of the hamlet, Lake Louise is quite a sight to see.
This alpine lake is known for its sparkling blue waters and the often surreal paddling experience that ensues upon crossing in a kayak or canoe. At the base of glacier-clad peaked mountains, the hamlet of Lake Louise has been developed with shops, restaurant, lodges and resort hotels. If mountaineering is not your thing, you can experience the view from the The Fairmont Chateau at Lake Louise.
This AAA Four Star Award-winning hotel has seven restaurants and lounges on premises. A dinner destination that caught our eye is the The Walliser Stube, which features European alpine cuisine served nightly. Choose from a variety of classic Swiss, German and Alpine dishes, or experience authentic Swiss Fondue. Indulging in the native cuisine is a must, as well as visiting the other eateries. However, your waistline will thank you with a trip to the Health Club. And pampering after a long day of lake watching via mountain climbing is easy to access at The Spa At The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise.
Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand
Under the Down Under to the east lies New Zealand, home to one of the country’s most treasured bodies of water, Lake Wakatipu. The Dart River flows into its northern end of the crystal clear lake, and the Kawarau River, beginning near Queenstown, handles its outflo . Interestingly enough, the lake has a tide that causes the water to rise and fall about 10 centimeters every 25 minutes. Local Maori legend blames the tide on the heartbeat of a huge monster living beneath the lake. But don’t let folklore keep you from enjoying your surroundings.
Settlements around the lakeshore include Queenstown, one of New Zealand’s top visitor attractions. The town has become a renowned cycling destination, providing everything from easy scenic tracks and backcountry trails to road rides and heli-biking. And if that’s not adventurous enough for you, try bungee jumping, zip lining or skydiving.
Part of the Five Star Alliance Group, Sofitel Queenstown Hotel and Spa is the ultimate in New Zealand luxury. The resort is a combination of Parisian style and Queenstown hospitality. Offering 82 bedrooms and suites, the décor is that of “French antique chic and local avantgarde design.” Other amenities of the resort include Vie Restaurant, Nue Lounge, LeSpa and Left Bank Café – part French kitchen and part tearoom. And remember the Maori legend we mentioned earlier? Although you won’t find a lake monster at the spa, you will find traditional Maori rituals designed to relax and rejuvenate.