Crowds come to Tahoe for holiday |

Crowds come to Tahoe for holiday

Warnings of overcrowding due to the overlap of two major summer events may have given some folks second thoughts about coming to Tahoe. Plenty of visitors still arrived to fill motels and hotels for what was not only a big summer weekend but Fourth of July and the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship.

Advanced reservations started off on a slow foot for some lodging properties.

Calls to the 1-800-AT-TAHOE central reservations line started later than usual, according to Cindy Armitage, property liaison for the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, which manages the number for the Lake Tahoe Visitors Authority.

“(Individual) properties were not getting the calls either,” she said on Thursday. “It’s gung ho now. We expect it to be full.”

Tourism tallies were not available on Sunday, but if the traffic on land and lake are any indication, those properties with vacancies going into the weekend had them quickly filled.

Embassy Suites Resort was one of the properties that experienced an early lull, so much so that the hotel put together a late advertising blitz for the Bay Area, said Embassy General Manager Steve Solberg.

“The perception in the Bay Area and Sacramento (could have been) that they couldn’t get in,” Solberg said.

The reservations lag could be attributed to the early expectation of a room shortage thanks to the overlap of the Fourth of July three-day weekend with the American Century Celebrity Golf Championship. Both events draw throngs of visitors to South Shore during the summer, with the Fourth normally selling out early.

Tahoe officials have no say on when the golf championship is scheduled. NBCSports, which owns the event, sets the date based on telecasts of other sporting events.

“Both events are great times for us,” Solberg said. “We would have done very well (on the Fourth) without (the championship) and then we’d have had another weekend with celebrity golf.”

Having Fourth on a Sunday could also have slowed early reservations, he said.

“Sunday (holidays) are peculiar,” Solberg said.

At the end of last week, rooms were still available at Embassy, but reservations had picked up. Solberg did not expect them to last through the weekend.

“In the past, as many as 100 people walk in (looking for rooms) on the Fourth,” Solberg said.

Not all properties had a slow start, however, often with regulars either for the golf championship or the Fourth of July.

Harrah’s Lake Tahoe, which cosponsors the fireworks display and has a holiday party for guests, booked all its rooms early.

“We have players from all over the country, as well the weather (here) is really nice and it’s hot in the valley,” John Packer, Harrah’s director of communications, said.

Though a little slow, smaller lodging properties still filled up fast.

“We’ve been sold out for two or three weeks,” said Pete Mac Roberts of Viking Motor Lodge and president of the South Lake Tahoe Lodging Association. “Reservations maybe came in a little late this year, but they sure came in.

“It’s a tremendous holiday for the whole lodging association. The golf tournament is just one more reason to come up here.”

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