The Inn at Shasta Lake
By Kimberly Boney
Room at the Inn
By Kimberly Bonéy
Photos by Manda Reed
Ten years has a funny way of passing by in the blink of an eye. It’s amazing what can remain the same in a decade, and even more mind boggling what can change. In our first issue of the magazine, 10 years ago this month, we published a story on a local treasure that, at the time, was called The O’Brien Mountain Inn. The establishment offered luxurious, stylish and cozy accommodations for those traveling the busy I-5 corridor between Redding and Oregon.
But a few years after the article was published, the Inn closed and became a mere shell of what it once was. For the small, boutique style hotel, just off Interstate 5 in Lakehead, 10 years has brought about the end of one era – and the birth of another. From ownership and namesake to the structure and design aesthetic, the property has undergone a monumental 180-degree turn.
David and Ann Miller, Wisconsinites who had made their home in the Ft. Lauderdale area for more than 25 years, were growing tired of the long commutes and busyness of city living. “We decided to take a step off the hamster wheel,” David says. With Ann’s background in real estate and a reinvigorated interest in purchasing a hotel, the couple began their countrywide search for a new adventure as innkeepers. In October 2012, the Millers settled on the best possible option: one that was in a desirable, well-traveled, accessible location in a place they would be proud to call home.
“The low cost allowed us to buy something nicer than our budget would have otherwise allowed for, but it took us quite a bit of sweat equity and cash to get it up and running,” says David. The decision was the beginning of a two year labor of love that would restore the building to a brand new kind of glory.
The large renovation, completed with the help of WoodStone Construction in Redding, began with repairing the roof and water damage, in addition to replacing wood that had rotted. They removed walls to expand the size of the units and the bathrooms, upgrading some units with walk-in showers and jetted spa tubs. With 10 unique units, and varying options as far as rates and amenities are concerned, the Inn at Shasta Lake truly has something for every guest. After nearly four years of ownership and just over a calendar year as an operational hotel, the Millers have finally begun to see the fruits of their labor.
The Inn at Shasta Lake provides the option for nightly rentals, without a weekly minimum requirement. The Inn blends the astounding natural beauty of the outdoors, modern amenities and contemporary décor into the perfect recipe for relaxation. Guests are assured a restful experience in part because of memory foam mattresses, high-end linens and towels, and a quiet ambiance.
“We like to call it luxury in the middle of the wilderness,” says David. The Millers, who love to cook and enjoy conceptualizing new recipes for The Inn at Shasta Lake, treasure the opportunity to cater to guests from all around the world. “We’ve had visitors from Australia, China, Russia, Germany and the Middle East, in addition to local and stateside visitors. One of the things we love most is getting to talk with them, caring for them, and making them happy.”
Each day at The Inn at Shasta Lake, just after check in, the Millers host a “social hour” between 4:30 and 5:30 pm, providing each guest with a free glass of wine or beer and a chance for guests to get to know each other. The Millers recognize the importance of having the Inn be more than just a place to sleep, and have adopted the concierge concept. “We tell our guests about all of the good stuff here in the area. We want them to think of us as a base of operations to explore all that is so wonderful around us.”
Among their personal favorite local treasures is the Trail at Bailey Cove, one of the many trails well-maintained by the Forest Service. Shasta Dam, which provides superb views of “The Three Shastas” as a part of the free tour, is a gem the Millers don’t take for granted. For more experienced hikers, the Millers recommend a trip to Castle Crags. Shasta Caverns is a perfect family excursion.
During the busy summer months, the Inn at Shasta Lake has no problem filling all of its units. Frequent I-5 travelers have The Inn at Shasta Lake on their radar, not only for vacationing with their families, but for a clean, comfortable and luxurious night’s stay in a beautiful locale, without the stress of mountain driving.
As the summer wanes, the volume of travelers does too, presenting the perfect opportunity for locals to take full advantage of a stay-cation – without the cost or energy involved in hopping a flight. Although it’s not unheard of to get snow in Lakehead during the winter months, typically visitors are likely to experience temperatures between 35 and 50 degrees. The waterfalls are sure to maintain a steady flow and the cooler temperatures make for easier hiking.
As active members of the Shasta Lake Business Owners association, the Millers work closely with other businesses, including the marinas, local restaurants, shops and even other cabins and hotels, seeing other lodging options not as competition, but as integral parts of drawing more business to the area. “We’ve always believed that ‘all boats float at a higher tide’,” Miller says. And with lake levels higher than they’ve been in years and local ski parks slated to reopen this season, 2016 seems like the perfect year for sailing high.
18026 O’Brien Inlet Road, Lakehead
(530) 863.7645 • www.theinnatshastalake.com