A Viking-Inspired Lodge on Big Bear Lake Gets a Chic Update
Get cozy beside the fireplace in lakefront rooms — or standalone cabins — at Marina Riviera
Big Bear made the news for its record-breaking snow this winter, and while the mountain town has long been a favorite and easy-to-hit weekend destination for Angelenos and Southern California residents, accommodations haven’t exactly leaned design-forward. But thanks to Casetta Group — the boutique hotel management brand behind Casa Cody in Palm Springs and soon-to-be-opened Hotel Lucile in Silver Lake — there’s a new place to stay that is both cozy and stylish, a modern mountain retreat for travelers who appreciate extra touches.
Historic properties and buildings with a story are Casetta’s forte, so it made sense that the Viking-inspired lakefront lodge, originally designed by architect John Woods, caught their eye. Welcoming guests since 1968, the now-reimagined Marina Riviera nods to the building’s mid-century bones but leans Scandinavian ski chalet chic with a light timber-clad exterior. Located on the south shore of Big Bear Lake, the entire property enjoys stellar views — whether you’re watching the sunrise from your balcony or evening alpenglow along the water’s edge.
Boutique-Style Rooms and Cozy Cabins
Charming, high-touch interiors are a Casetta trademark, and the group has worked its signature magic across the 42 guest rooms. Inspired by Big Bear’s woodsy surroundings and the classic ski lodge, design firm Electric Bowery went with moody fall hues and pops of color from layered linens (yes, they’re Parachute, and yes, you will want to take them home), accent pillows and throw blankets. The vintage flora and fauna-inspired art and cozy stove fireplaces play well against all the natural woods and stone.
Premier kings with fireplaces are on the third floor, while standard kings and ADA queens are on the second. The first floor houses double queens and “third-wheel” rooms — perfect for friends or small families, as they have a queen bed and twin bunk. Eco-minded amenities include tree-free PlantPaper toilet paper, certified-organic MoonCloth Designs bath products and lovely Finery kimono robes, which are available to purchase from the front desk or the online Casetta shop. Although there might not be any in-room coffee-making amenities, the 24-hour concierge team can whip up several hot drinks, including cappuccinos and hot chocolates.
For a little more privacy — and because sometimes a weekend getaway in the mountains feels more appropriate when spent in a tiny home — the hotel has six cabins across Big Bear Boulevard. Designed by Hausman Creative, the residential-style layouts comprise two bedrooms, one bathroom and a full kitchen equipped with everything needed to whip up a multi-course meal or the essentials. There are separate living rooms with fireplaces and some pretty comfy-looking couches. Independent travelers who appreciate more space — but also like easy access to hotel amenities and concierge service, both just a text or short stroll away — will be very happy spending a weekend or longer in one of them.
Dining Options Are Coming
Not only does Marina Riviera sit on a piece of prime lakefront real estate, but it’s also within a five-minute walk of The Village at Big Bear Lake, which means there’s no need to drive once you wrap up hiking, skiing (during the season, a complimentary shuttle runs guests to the slopes at Big Bear Mountain Resort) or sightseeing for the day. With the hotel’s lobby (guests currently check in downstairs at Room 201), bar and restaurant still to come, The Village has several great options for eating out. Standouts include island-style Tropicali, recently voted the number-one poke spot in America and number-one restaurant in California by Yelp, and the casual counter-serve Café Crêpe. For excellent Italian, La Pergola Trattoria is open nightly for dinner and for brunch on weekends. To stock up snacks and sundries, stop by the Bear Cupboards Market.
There are enough outdoor activities — hiking, climbing, lake-swimming, etc. — to fill all the weekends between now and Labor Day. And when the nights cool down, expect to slide into your robe and crack a can of Nomadic wine beside the fire with a game of Scrabble (ask the front desk about borrowing board games). Those lakefront views will be hard to beat.
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