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Travel & Art
Historic Sierra Nevada Lodge Revamp in Mammoth Lakes
2013-04-08 11:53:25
By Carole Dixon

It’s not too late for a last minute spring-break ski trip. After a three-year multi-million dollar renovation, Sierra Nevada Resort reopened recently in Mammoth Lakes. As part of the refurbishment, six chalets and 15 cozy fireplace suites were newly constructed. Located adjacent to the Sierra Nevada Resort, the chalets are spacious, bi-level townhomes with views of Mammoth and the surrounding village. Luxe details of the fireplace suites include a resort-style kitchen complete with granite countertops, sleek new bathrooms featuring waterfall showers and deep soaking tubs. The spacious three-bedroom chalets feature full kitchens with butcher-block countertops and wood burning fireplaces. In addition, the rustic resort offers 64 deluxe rooms, complete with luscious pillow-top beds and sound-proof windows.  

The hotel was originally built in 1967 by Jerry Buss, former owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, and quickly became THE place to stay and a favorite getaway for many Hollywood stars. The Resort was frequently visited by the likes of John Wayne, the “Rat Pack” and Jerry Lewis, who spent their evenings at Duke’s Bar, a favorite local hangout. A piece of this Hollywood beginning is still preserved in the Resort lobby by way of a 1905 antique piano once owned by Clark Gable.
Current, the lodge is independently owned and operated by the Demetriades family, Nancy Demetriades conceived the Sierra Nevada Resort’s modern new design, which features 149 rooms and a hand-hewed alpine bar in the lobby which has a cozy-country mountain-lodge feel with large fireplaces complete with the resident golden-retriever mascot ‘maverick’ lounging around on the hand woven rugs.

One of the coolest amenities we have ever seen was not just the convenient on-site rental shop, but the ‘cocktail hour’ boot fitting in the lobby off the bar. You can sip a Chardonnay or sharp whiskey libation while your boots are being fitted. Just pick them up in the morning before hitting the mountain, then return your equipment right at the ski lodge to avoid lugging everything back after a day on the slopes. For après ski, consider taking a dip back at the lodge in the largest hot tub in Mammoth that can seat up to 24 people.

The best part of Sierra Nevada Resort is their three stand-alone restaurants that also deliver to your chalet or fireside suite. Jimmy’s Taverna, launched in December 2012, and is an authentic taverna decorated in blue hues with ceramic plates hanging on the wall and serving whole, Mediterranean-style grilled fish in the wood burning oven.
Owner Jim Demetriades and his wife Nancy worked together to bring their Greek heritage into their third dining concept. Demetriades says, “We wanted to share the experience of the traditional taverna with guests and locals alike. Dinning in Greece brings people together to enjoy each other’s company and to eat and drink well, and that’s what we hope Jimmy’s will offer Mammoth Lakes.”

Start your meal with Chef du Cuisine, Dympna Roman’s house-made grilled pita served with freshly made Greek dips. Mezedes (or Appetizers) include Domades, or stuffed grape leaves; Calamarakia, grilled calamari stuffed with Kefalograviera and Feta, grilled fennel and tomato coulis. Other traditional entrée options include Moussaka, traditional casserole of spiced lamb, eggplant, potato, and yogurt béchamel; the Taverna Gyro, lamb, steak chicken or vegetables with caramelized onions, feta cheese, piquillo peppers, oregano Greek sea salt fries. Guests can also opt for a Greek menu classic, Souvlaki, which includes grilled vegetables, Cretan rice, tzatiki, and a choice of filet mignon, organic chicken, or lamb loin.

Some of the best desserts we’ve had outside of the European country  include house-made Greek yogurt with fresh fruit and honeycomb; Baklava with phyllo, assorted nuts, fresh honey, lemon syrup served with vanilla ice cream; Galaktoboureko, vanilla bean custard, phyllo crust, lemon lavender sweet spoon.  Order a glass of licorice flavored Uzo as a digestive.

A seasonal cocktail menu was co-created with acclaimed mixologist of Red Medicine in Los Angeles. Highlights include Gold Rush, Redemption Rye, honey and lemon; Blood and Sand, Bank Note 5 year, Cocchi di Torino, Cherry Herring, orange juice; Vesper, Jewel of Russia, City of London Gin, Cocchi Americano.

For an Asian fix, Red Lantern looks like a basement in the Imperial palace with large hanging red lanterns, of course, and excellent Chinese dishes including some of the best comfort food dumplings, salt and pepper prawns or stir fried veggies.

Another option is Rafters Restaurant featuring modern American cuisine serving breakfast, lunch and dinner with an Italian influence. After a day on the slopes, try the smoked duck fettuccine or spinach and potato gnocchi. We think it's safe to say that you might come for the mountain activities, but you'll want to say for the food.