INCLINE VILLAGE, Calif. -- The Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe Resort & Casino here is investing $60 million in a renovation that will bring the quality of the hotel up to par with the neighborhood, probably some of the priciest mountain property in the nation.

The renovation -- expected to be completed by early fall 2003, in time for the ski season -- is transforming the hotel into a destination resort and one of Hyatt's premier properties worldwide, company officials said.

Built in the 1960s, the resort has undergone improvements over the years as the Incline Village area's property prices skyrocketed.

Part of the attraction of Incline Village is its accessibility to Reno/Tahoe Airport, a scenic, 40-minute drive from the town.

Bill Hoffman, director of the Incline Village Visitors Bureau, said the renovation promises to give the area a destination hotel it has never had before.

"We are a woodsy resort area with not a lot of development, unlike the South Shore [area of Lake Tahoe], so this is something new for us."

The first phase, which wrapped up in May, saw a $27 million redesign of the lobby, rooms, restaurants and casino. The changes are first apparent in the lobby, with its stone fireplace, beamed ceilings and leather chairs.

In this phase, 279 rooms, including suites and 24 one- and two-bedroom cottages, were renovated and now feature decor reminiscent of the "grand lodges" of the 1920s. The casino was redone in the same style.

The Lone Eagle Grille at the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe.Three restaurants at the resort were redesigned: the Lone Eagle Grille, which serves contemporary American food; the Sierra Cafe, a casual restaurant serving daily buffets; and the Ciao Mein Trattoria, offering Asian and Italian dishes.

A new restaurant and lounge, Cutthroat's Saloon, has a rustic apres-ski bar atmosphere with nine TV monitors along with a big-screen TV.

The $30 million second phase of the renovation began with the closing of the 150-room Aspen Terrace wing to make way for a complex that will consist of a three-story building with 147 rooms and suites, a swimming pool with three tiers and waterfalls, an expanded conference center, a patio dining area and a spa.

The spa, called Stillwater, the name used on Hyatt's more upscale properties, will encompass 15,000 square feet. There will be 14 treatment rooms, including a couple's massage room with a private fireplace. The facility also will consist of a fitness center and a beauty salon.

The hotel will add a Camp Hyatt for children, with an expanded video arcade.

The project will be capped by a new hotel exterior, consisting of river rock and shingles. The porte cochere will be redone and will feature two outdoor fireplaces.

Winter rates for the 2002-03 season start at $69 per person, double, Sundays through Thursdays. A Sunday-through-Thursday package is $109 per person, double, including a lift ticket at the Northstar, Alpine or Square ski areas, a breakfast buffet and a ski shuttle. A four-night package starting any night of the week is $499 per person, double, including three lift tickets, breakfast buffet and ski shuttle.

For more information on the renovation or the hotel, contact the Hyatt at (775) 832-1234 or visit the Web at www.laketahoehyatt.com. For customized, commissionable ski packages at the hotel, call (800) 510-0586.

Diamond Peak adds sparkle to resort area

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. -- There are numerous ski resorts within a 30-minute drive of the Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe. The closest is a little-known resort called Diamond Peak.

There's a reason Diamond Peak is not well known, said a spokeswoman: It is owned and operated by the Incline Village General Improvement District, a public agency funded by affluent local homeowners who want to generate a profit but not turn the area into a huge ski attraction.

There is a ski and snowboard school and free shuttle service from resorts around Incline Village, including the Hyatt Regency.

All-day lift tickets for the 2002-03 season will be $41 for adults; $33 for kids ages 13 to 17; $15 for children 6 to 12 and seniors 60 and older.

For more details, contact Diamond Peak at (775) 832-1177 or visit www.diamondpeak.com. -- L.D.R.

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