For our first summer in the mountains there was only ever one hotel on the list – The Rosa Alpina Hotel & Spa. Located not far from the Austrian border in a small mountain village of San Cassiano in the Dolomites of Northern Italy. A super fan of the Sound of Music, I couldn’t wait to create my own version of the Von Pixies!
We flew into Innsbruck 90 miles south of San Cassiano driving through thunderstorms and lightning. With my heart slightly in my mouth we crossed a border and wound through innumerable twists and turns up the mountain pass. Eventually ending at the quaint village which sits at the foot of Mount Lavarela. It was definitely an exhilarating drive and gave us a newfound respect for the mighty mountains we were soon to explore.
On arrival we were immediately greeted with a big smile and umbrella and escorted into the warmth and comfort of the hotel. A Relais & Chateaux property Rosa Alpina has been owned and run by the Pizzini family since the late thirties. The hands-on and intimate feel the owners create along with their faultless attention to detail sets it apart from any other. The wonderful candy bar in reception enjoyed by the kids -and big kids – would have scored it a ten alone!
The 51 rooms and suites are tastefully decorated in traditional Ladino style: a white, cream and pale wood colour scheme with hints of colour through textiles and accessories.
We opted for a suite, the two bedrooms were on the mezzanine level with the living space and bathroom downstairs. The girls were over the moon with their own mini room complete with a Rosa Alpina bear and t-shirt each as a welcome gift. Whilst Mr S and I were treated to a lovely bottle of South Tyrol red wine.
The balcony looked onto the beautiful alpine mountains. And believe me, many a rooibos tea was consumed on that terrace whilst resting the tootsies after a day in the mountains.
After an active day there are plenty of spaces to relax within the hotel. The lobby is perfect for lounging, the log fireplace is surrounded by cosy chairs and snuggly blankets. If you fancy a tipple or two it can be enjoyed in the stylish piano bar. And I can’t deny the pianist provided a fair few giggles with his eighties reportoire!
I also indulged in a few cheeky, creamy hot chocolates in their elegant looking sitting room furnished with traditional Tyrolean chairs.
The characterful chalet style hotel also houses a a cinema room, where children or adults can choose from a wide range of DVDs and relax in front of the wide screen. Plus a kids room with an indoor climbing wall was a big hit with the girls. Once they conquer the mini one they can set their sights on the larger one (with ropes and harnesses) in the gardens.
Oh and lets not forget the spa. It is home to a gym, an indoor heated pool, Finnish Sauna, jacuzzi and luxurious treatment rooms. For a small unassuming hotel from the outside this place has it all! And I can testify their hot stone massage is a real treat.
Now to the road to my heart – the glorious food. There are four restaurants at the Rosa Alpina. A rich and healthy breakfast is served at Limonaia with views of the forest. Bread and croissants are freshly baked, the jams are home-made and you can have your eggs anyway you like it. The perfect start to your day. For informal and casual dining the Wine Bar and Grill, is where you can enjoy wood-fired pizzas, homemade pastas, rich salads, grilled meats and vegetables.
My lucky ladies were invited into the kitchen to make their own heart shaped pizzas.
Another example of how great the staff are with children.
The intimate fondue restaurant is a must too. It offers meat or cheese fondues with a chocolate finale to finish if you can fit it in.
For a gourmet treat you have the two Michelin star Restaurant St. Hubertus where chef Norbert Niederkofler’s serves food only sourced from the Dolomites region for his award winning cuisine. You can read more about my exquisite experience at the restaurant in a later post.
And if all that wasn’t enough the hotel has two remote private mountain cabins at 2000 metres which guests may rent. One is a day base and the other is set up for overnight stays. With limited electricity and cold water it can give you glimpse at being at one with nature. They do however deliver food for you to cook or send a chef to do it for you. And as if by magic in the morning, breakfast will appear along with mountain bikes to make your way back down – I mean how amazing is that!
One of the best things about travelling to the Dolomites in the summer are the bargains on offer as technically it’s considered their off-peak season. I’ll have to be honest the real gems are not well publicised. Its up to you to trawl through the hotel websites and hunt them down. Rosa Alpina had an amazing offer on at the time we travelled where we received a five nights stay for the price of four. Included were two credit vouchers for € 50 for two dinners the Wine Bar & Grill restaurant, a five course tasting menu for two people at the 2 Michelin star St Hubertus restaurant and a €60 Euro credit voucher per adult for a luxury beauty treatment of your choice. It didn’t take long for me to confirm my reservation once reading that special offer!
We had a wonderful stay at the Rosa Alpina. It was the perfect choice for our family holiday in the magical Dolomites. Special thanks has to go to Alexandra on concierge, who provided us with daily child friendly walking routes. Also Susie the babysitter, who taught the girls some Italian words through the games she bought (amazing!). I can’t recommend this place enough. I know that I’ll be back again. And that’s coming from a person who usually thinks life’s too short to visit the same place twice!
Where’s the best place you’ve stayed on holiday? Let me know in the comments box below.
Hotel & Spa Rosa Alpina| Strada Micurá de Rü, 20 | 39036 San Cassiano in Badia | Italy
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