Getting Here

10101 West River St Truckee California 96161


The Redlight Historic Bunk Hotel & Speakeasy is located in downtown Truckee, across from the Greyhound bus, Amtrak train and TART (local bus) stop.


By train, check the schedule for Amtrak. Amtrak’s California Zephyr passes through Truckee once / day on both eastbound and westbound routes that cross the United States. The basic routes are shown below if you are coming from the San Francisco Bay Area. You can also take the Zephyr from Chicago, Illinois to Truckee. There are stops in Denver as well as Salt Lake City.

Eastbound (From San Francisco Bay Area to North Lake Tahoe): The Zephyr leaves Emeryville at 9:10am and then Sacramento at 11:09am. The train arrives at the Truckee Depot at 2:38pm. There are several other stops in between the bay area and Sacramento.

Westbound (From Reno to North Lake Tahoe): The Zephyr leaves Reno at 8:36am and arrives in Truckee at 9:37am. The train continues on to Sacramento, arriving at 2:13pm and Emeryville, arriving at 7:25pm. There are several other stops in between the bay area and Sacramento.


By Bus, check the schedule for Greyhound. There are several buses that go to and from Truckee both eastbound and westbound. Some of the buses combine with Amtrak’s bus and trains.

Reno-Tahoe International Airport:

Arriving by air to Reno-Tahoe International? This is about a 40 minute car ride to Truckee. You can also take the North Lake Tahoe Express directly to Truckee. Call for reservations and schedules: (866) 216-5222. Best to reserve in advance.

Local Transportation:

TART is the local bus system. The schedule is online here. See the “Truckee Local Route”. The closest stop is the TRUCKEE DEPOT.

There are a few taxi services and Uber works in the area as well.

Redlight Truckee Hotel

Redlight Historic Bunk Hotel & Speakeasy

10101 West River St.
Truckee, Ca

(530) 536-0005

Redlight Story

There are few photos and little information about the history of the Redlight, but there is plenty of information on the history of Truckee itself. The land that the Redlight was built on was first owned by Charles Crocker, the railroad tycoon. The Redlight has always been some form of lodging with saloon and said have been a brothel. In the 1880’s, the first rendition of the Redlight was built as the Tahoe Saloon and Lodging House.

Soon after its first version, the building was renamed Flor D’italia. In the early 1920’s, the building along with the adjacent buildings burnt down and the Redlight was rebuilt in the late 1920’s, probably completed in 1928 by the Sassarini family. This version stood on the same footprint as the original version, but appears to be shorter in height, with a flatter roof and without the square-winged facade.

It had 2 wood burning stoves and all private rooms had shared baths down the hall. In the mid-1900’s, the building had a metal roof installed over shingles and was covered in blue asbestos tiles, a common siding at the time, and remodeled to have more of a frontier-style including a wagon wheel installed in the middle of the upstairs front porch. In the 1970’s, it was purchased by Lad Lavicka.

Lad added a sauna and porch to the back part of the upstairs, repaired parts of the building and re-opened the Alta Hotel primarily for skiers vacationing from the bay. Lad also offered ski rental packages.Later, the Alta became a men’s boarding house with a balloon / party supply shop in the front of the building. With little maintenance done to it, the building deteriorated until it was remodeled again in a 3+ year process and completed in 2016.

In 2011, the building was very run down. The images and description that follow, show some of the remodel process to get the Redlight to how it looks today.


The Renovation

The Alta Evolves into the Redlight

The Alta Hotel is renovated. The building  begins very deteriorated. There are holes in the walls, the windows, portions of the building are sagging and there is lots of rot. The floors slope up and down throughout the building, the heating barely works, the plumbing leaks and the pipes are stopped up. The electrical is a proper fire hazard and the wind passes through the walls. But we have a plan. Following 1 red tag and 18 months to get permits in order, we are finally ready to build – right before winter.

Basement Excavation and Addition

With parts of the basement already excavated by previous owners and the building sitting of very little of original rock, cinder block and rudimentary concrete foundation and footings, the building is shored up with temporary supports and the digging ensues.


With the back half of the building excavated, forms are prepared with below grade, blind side waterproofing. After, we pour a thick foundation wall with grade beams and then an insulated, radiant-heating slab.

Framing, Sheeting, Plumbing and Slab

With the foundation walls in place, the risk of flooding and soil collapse is minimized. The next step is framing the exterior, sheeting, prepping the roof deck, under-slab plumbing, under-slab insulation, vapor barrier, rebar, radiant heat tubing and foundation insulation. Then, we pour the slab.

Middle Construction

After the slab is in place, the interior walls and shear are put in place as are the beams. Plumbing, electrical and forced air ducting go into the joist and stud bays and the walls are insulated. Windows are installed, the roof deck is coated. The asbestos tiles are removed and the siding repaired.

Some of the shiplap interior wall boards were from the remains 0f other buildings – probably buildings that were victims of other Truckee fires. These boards were flipped over so the wallpaper tacks were against the studs. We found one stud that had a notch in it – probably a rafter from another building. The pictures in the section below show boards from the facade of a business in downtown, though the letters of the sign are illegible.

We chose to insulate all walls and floors (over 300 bales) with dense-packed cellulose so to dampen sound as best as possible. For the foundation walls as well as the roof, we used closed cell polyurethane boards.

There are 3 separate heating systems in the building – 2 forced air furnaces and radiant heating for the basement. We use a couple swamp coolers with the windows open for the summer.

Rebuilding Windows

Old windows repaired. Although 99% of builders would replace the windows, we decide to repair all existing double-hungs. Although some new windows are installed, the majority of the old windows in the building are removed, steamed, scraped, straightened, repaired and rebuilt. The top sashes of the double-hungs are fixed and the lower sashes kept operable.

Because we use only one operable sash per window, we are able to insulate the cavity that holds the upper sash window weights.

All double-hungs are outfitted with spring-bronze weather-stripping (including the meeting edge) and brass weight chains.

Finish, but Never Done

After framing, electrical, plumbing, ducting, insulation, sheetrock, mud, the bar, tile, fixtures, and things we don’t mention, nor take pictures of, there is still more to do.

After 18 months to get permits and 2 1/2 years toiling, the Redlight makes a soft-opening in mid-2016. The Redlight remains a constantly evolving work of art. Come stop by for a drink. The speakeasy is open. Stay the night.