Nakoma Golf Resort & Spa build on original Frank Lloyd Wright design |

Nakoma Golf Resort & Spa build on original Frank Lloyd Wright design

An interior shot of the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Nakoma Golf Resort and Spa oin Plumas County.
© |

Know & Go

What: Nakoma Golf Resort and Spa

Where: 348 Bear Run, Clio, CA 96106

Attractions: The Dragon, par-72, 18-hole championship course.

New 42-room lodge overlooking golf course.

Frank Lloyd Wright designed clubhouse

Full-service spa

Indoor pool and fitness facility

12 rental villas

Hiking trails, mountain biking

Costs: Dragon Green fees: Oct. 1 to season closing: $80; $60, twilight.

Stay and Play packages from $199 to $249 per night

Lodge rooms/suites from $199 to $350

Villas from $400 for a studio to $900

Information: (877) 462-5662, (530) 832-5067,

Frank Lloyd Wright, at his best, created the perfect integration of nature and the interior environment.

His Fallingwater residence design captured his genius in bringing the two together.

Tucked away in the Sierra Nevada range in Plumas County is a piece of Wright legend, the Nakoma Golf Resort and Spa clubhouse, designed by Wright in 1923 for a clubhouse to be built in Madison, Wisconsin.

The Wisconsin clubhouse was never built.

Subsequently, the original owners of Nakoma purchased the architect’s plan from his Taliesen architects, and the Nakoma structure opened in 2000.

Visitors to the Nakoma resort today will see Wright’s dramatic use of natural elements in the clubhouse, which incorporates a teepee design, and the Wigwam Room, the main dining space which is an architectural feat with its soaring wood paneled structure. Stained glass windows and a repeat pattern wood motif carry the Native American influence further. In the cooler months guests can enjoy the mammoth four-sided fireplace which anchors the center of the room. The newest testament to Frank Lloyd Wright is the 42-room Nakoma resort lodge which opened in mid-August.

Designed by Reno architects Cathexes, its dramatic, two-story glass lobby windows overlooking the golf course, and its naturalistic textural elements in the rooms pay homage to its design muse. A fun touch in the rooms is the opaque glass bathroom wall panel reminiscent of Wright’s signature art glass designs.

Stay and play golf

If you’re not a disciple of Frank Lloyd Wright, could care less about architecture, and are more interested in a relaxing getaway away from the Tahoe crowds, there’s much more to do at Nakoma besides admiring sight lines in the clubhouse.

For starters, golfers need to bring their A game. The Nakoma course, The Dragon, is notorious for being very tough, in no small part due to the challenging landscape. The par-72, 18-hole championship course offers some of the best views, overlooking the Mohawk Valley and Feather River. Designed by the late Robin Nelson, the course, while strenuous, is designed to accommodate players at varying skill levels. Each of the 18 holes is equipped with five tee boxes.

Earlier this year the course was refreshed, with new sand in each bunker, updates to the drainage system and renovations to select holes.

Being able to offer hotel accommodations has launched Nakoma into the destination resort tier, says resort general manager Dan Gallagher.

Women golfers are a fast growing demographic in this new generation of upmarket destination resorts, says Gallagher. One of the resort’s most popular venues is its ‘Dragon Lady’ promotions which feature 9 holes of golf, a golf clinic and a clubhouse drink special.

Nakoma will be open, for the first time, through the winter.

Typically, the end of October marks the windup of the golf season. At 5,000-feet elevation, the Plumas National Forest region can be a snowy winter wonderland.

To attract snow lovers, the resort has arranged a tie-in with Northstar to shuttle skiers and snowboarders back and forth.

What the resort is focusing on, however, are the cross country skiers and snowshoers who can enjoy the wealth of local trails.

Raising the bar

The resort is already seeing brisk response to its wedding business, with the new hotel, the spectacular views from the clubhouse terrace, and the stunning Wigwam Room compelling attractions. A dozen weddings are already on the books for next summer. The facility fee ranges from $2,000 to $12,000, with wedding reception dining costs from $30 to $70 per person.

Nakoma has brought in a Las Vegas hospitality veteran, Brett Rosselli, to develop a fine dining experience featuring a sophisticated wine list and higher end cuisine. Rosselli will work with wedding couples to satisfy any special requests. One weekend a couple’s family with Italian heritage wanted to make their own meatballs in the clubhouse kitchen. No problem, said Rosselli. “They were delicious.”

Corporate retreats are another target. “There are five resorts in our area. We’re upping the competition,” says Gallagher.

Any A-level resort worth its salt today has to have a spa. Nakoma is upgrading its spa which offers full service facial, body and massage treatments including a ‘Couples Escape’ featuring a private bath soak and side-by-side massage. Cost for an hour is $240.

Grand vision

Nakoma’s lodge is the first in a series of planned milestones of the Schomac Group’s ambitious 1,280-acre development. “The market now wants more than golf. They want nature and inclusive family activities. It’s not just men’s outings anymore,” says Gallagher. “We are fulfilling a need that is not accommodated by the more traditional golf properties.”

On the drawing board is a recreation center, for exclusive use by the resort guests, complete with a climbing wall and outdoor movie projector for family movies. Also planned are 48 more villas to be marketed as single family ownerships, Schoff says.

The villas will be clustered around the new rec center for a community feel, he explained. Longer term, the resort partners are selling 73 lots for development as single family homes. Currently 30 lots are on the market for sale, averaging 1 to 2 acres.

Resort executives like to say Nakoma and the Plumas area resemble Tahoe decades ago, when it was less crowded and commercial.

“Our goal is to stay consistent with the area. We want to create a little bit of a walk back in time aesthetically, but with the modern luxury resort amenities our Northern California market expects,” says Schoff.

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