Located about 100 miles north of Boise and 5,000 feet above sea level, McCall is a mountain town of about 2,500 year-round residents. The lovely, pristine lake, which is surprisingly warm, abuts literally millions of tree-covered acres protected in the Payette National Forest and adjoining 2.4-million-acre Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the single largest designated wilderness area in the lower 48 states. The air is very nice.
The crown jewel of the area is Whitetail Club & Resort, which opened as The Shore Lodge in 1948 and went from being a classic middle-America motel to a classy European-style retreat in 1999 and a member of the Preferred Hotel Group. It only took a $25-million renovation. The redo retained the original river rock-slabs and pine planks, but they’re now illuminated by the pin-spot lighting on the European oil paintings. Luxuriously oversize armchairs sit upon thick rugs atop the polished wood floors in a décor of soft greens, reds and golds spun by the San Francisco firm of Warren Sheets.
The property sits on some 1,300 acres of its own, including a private sandy beach and marina with boats for waterskiing along with jet skis, wave-runners, sailboats, kayaks and a tour boat. There’s the Troon Golf-managed 280-acre, 7,200-yard, par-72 golf course that leads players through forests, wildflowers and past (hopefully) trout ponds and back to the 10,000-square-foot clubhouse. U.S. Open winner Andy North was the course designer.
Naturally, with such a setting, Whitetail also offers hiking and biking trails, as well as two tennis courts, volleyball courts, a swimming pool, a 45-seat movie theater with popcorn service, an ice-skating rink, indoor/outdoor basketball, racquetball and four fully stocked fishing ponds. Should your group’s attention span lapse, you can also arrange for them to go to the aforementioned Tamarack Resort, as well as nearby Brundage Mountain (brundage.com), for snowmobiling, alpine and cross-country skiing. In the summer, river rafting, river kayaking, trout, bass and steelhead fishing, as well as horseback riding, can all be arranged. Massage services, several hot tubs and a fitness center are on-site.
The resort has a total of 13,000 sq. ft. of designated meeting space, of which the Pavilion with 5,500 sq. ft. on the lakefront is the largest. There’s also a separate two-story, 15,000-square-foot house called the Cottage. This has eight bedrooms and a six-car garage among other amenities and might make a perfect self-contained executive retreat. Golf season begins in mid-May and runs through October. Ski season goes from December to mid-April (whitetailclub.com).