Of all the hotels featured here, this one might have the biggest personality. Its design is an example of how a modest, honest approach can shine brighter than a bag of silver dollars. Every inch of the interior, including the rooms, is made from repurposed items, including couches made of old bed frames and carpet spun from recycled milk jugs. Even if you don't spend the night, it is worth popping into its coffee bar for a drink to see the colors and flair of the decor. Point to something in the room, and it no doubt has a story attached to it, which the staff will be happy to share. More to come from this hotel and its ecological approach in a separate piece. Rates start at $99/night.
The fact that Lake Tahoe Resort was formerly an Embassy Suites is apparent the minute you step in from its inside/outside balcony design, but recent renovations to the lobby and the guest rooms have energized this 400-room property. The hotel now has premium and standard rooms, the former offering better amenities including Egyptian cotton sheets and bedding, bathrobes, and bath rugs. Location puts you literally on the state line between California and Nevada, right on the main drag across the street from the casinos and gondola. Rates start at $164/night.
This sprawling, affordable 266-room property is similar to the Landing in that some of its rooms offer lake views, it gives guests direct access to the beach, and it has a great restaurant, the Boathouse, on site. Grab a drink and some appetizers during the sunset, and be sure to take a walk through the property and along the beach. Expect a brand new lobby this summer to go along with refurbished guest rooms. Rates start at $108/night.
[Photos: The Landing/968 Hotel/Tahoe Resort Hotel/Beach Retreat and Lodge]