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Six best mountain escapes!

As you approach the Dolomites, the world seems to shift. These are not just mountains; they are the grand cathedrals of nature, their spires reaching toward the heavens in a silent prayer. The air here sings with the promise of adventure, crisp and invigorating, each breath a draught of pure vitality. You find yourself on paths that weave through emerald forests, opening suddenly onto vistas so vast and so utterly beautiful that they wrench the heart. In the quiet of the alpine mornings, the peaks are bathed in a soft, golden light, and by evening, they glow with the fiery hues of the setting sun.

In the shadow of these giants, time moves differently. The quaint villages with their flower-bedecked chalets and cobbled streets speak of a simpler era. Here, in the warmth of a rustic trattoria, the taste of homemade pasta and the rich, hearty flavor of local wines connect you to the land and its history. The Dolomites are not just a place to see; they are a world to be experienced. Whether scaling the dizzying heights or exploring the verdant valleys below, each moment here is a step into a story, a dance with the sublime, a chance to commune with the awe-inspiring power of the wild. In these mountains, you find not just beauty, but a profound sense of being alive.


1. Something out of a fairytale

The lodge is a 500-year-old farmhouse and barn located at an altitude of 1,200 meters near the Villander Alm. This is such a unique story of the current owner, Thomas Erlacher. He bought the property 15 years ago and lived here for 10 years with no electricity or heating. He wanted to take time to get to know the farm as it had remained for many years before making any changes. Because of this approach, something truly special has been created! 

During the first Covid lockdown, he began renovating the historic building and created the lodge as it is today. It combines a traditional farmhouse with modern architectural features to create a luxury stay for guests seeking peace, nature, and an exclusive break.

Erlacher collaborated with Rudi Perathoner (from RP Architecture) an architect with whom he had previously worked, and the project took around two years. Most of the yard didn’t have a basement and the roof had to be completely insulated to make the farmhouse liveable. However, the structure of the building remained completely untouched, not only because it is listed but also to preserve its unique atmosphere. For the additions, old materials such as wood and stone were used wherever possible while the low door frames, steep staircase, and small bedrooms were retained.

They truly offer a personal experience to the guests. The lodge is operated by three very close friends; Claudia (the manager), Tom (the owner/founder), and Matthias (the guide) and they do a lot of activities with the guests — they know the area so well, that a very special experience is guaranteed. It’s a place where you can relax, with your own sauna and amazing views of the Dolomites. The barn’s steep, thatched, half-hipped roof is also a rarity as one of only five surviving roofs of this type in South Tyrol. Many guests comment that the property is “magical” and “something out of a fairytale”.

Take me there! 

2. Dolomites Hideaway

Fresh forests and mellow meadows. This family legacy, weaving a tale of a century-old farmhouse and a modern barn, lies between Collalbo and Auna di Sopra. A lot can happen here: retreat, relaxation, creative work, movement, rest, recuperation, contentment…

South Tyrol, also known as Alto Adige, is often hailed as Italy’s best-kept secret. This historic farmhouse has been transformed into a farmhouse-turned-modern-mountain-chalet. It basks in the shadows of the Dolomites, it has been beautifully renovated with a modern alpine look rather than the traditional rustic vibe. The exterior is a combination of contrasting materials like wood, stucco, and stone, complemented by a dark, slate grey pitched roof, which makes it into a stunning design; an architectural gem! 

Take me there! 

3. Luxury in Cortina d’Ampezzo 

Just a short drive from the center of Cortina d'Ampezzo, this luxurious design chalet offers a captivating mountain retreat in the heart of the Dolomites. This chalet combines traditional charm with contemporary design.  Creating a truly unique and inviting atmosphere.

The chalet is located just outside Cortina d'Ampezzo, a renowned alpine destination in the heart of the Dolomites. The little village has a very charming atmosphere surrounded by majestic mountain peaks, it offers a wealth of outdoor activities, from skiing and snowboarding in the winter to hiking and climbing in the summer. The town itself exudes elegance with its stylish boutiques, gourmet restaurants, and vibrant nightlife. Nearby, you'll discover pristine lakes, picturesque valleys, and stunning natural landscapes, inviting you to explore and immerse yourself in the wonders of the Dolomites. Both are beautiful in winter and summer. 

Take me there! 

4. Oscar Niemeyer Inspiration

A hybrid between a guest house and a nature observatory, a walk-in spatial sculpture that only unfolded its true qualities and meditative effect after you walk in. Set amid the South Tyrolean mountains. The surrounding glass facade provides the sensation of complete freedom and helps you to disconnect from stress and connect with nature.

For hours you can just let your gaze wander over the Tinne Valley and the mountains until the border between nature and living space seems to dissolve ... Light and weather, time of day and season shape the atmosphere. An extraordinary glass building by architect Martin Gruber, inspired by Oscar Niemeyer.

The glass solitaire is embedded in the topography in the middle of a fantastic landscape. Like a walkable sculpture, the building nestles to the site and only reveals the spatial structure when approaching the building. The project was designed as a counterpoint to the usual holiday architecture. The shape arises from the intention to leave a statement for a sensitive approach to the landscape. 

Take me there! 

5. A gigantic view

Where once there was a large meadow with ferns, now stands this beautiful apartment, in the middle of nature, quietly located and yet quick and easy to reach. Overlooking the entire Adige Valley; a spectacle view at any time of the day or night and Merano and Tyrol Castle are at your feet. A perfect starting point for beautiful hikes and amazing skiing. 

Aesthetic, simple, and peaceful, with floor-to-ceiling windows and a spectacular view!

What I love about this place, is that it has been owned by the same family for several decades. With each generation, the building has evolved, it started as a traditional restaurant with holiday apartments, run by Stefan’s parents. In 2007, Stefan and his brother expanded the house into a gourmet restaurant that became well-known and was awarded a Michelin star for its excellent food. Now the house has evolved with a new purpose, the restaurant has been converted into a residential home, with the two new apartments added. Stefan and Franziska live here, keeping it family-run and allowing it to have that welcoming atmosphere and that very personal touch that makes it so special. 

Take me there! 

6. Local Village Life

Be part of the local village life in the Camelico Valley

Right in the center of an isolated mountain village, Dosoledo, you'll find this charming old farmhouse that dates back to 1807. In this remote Comelico valley, one can discover off-the-beaten paths and the quiet daily life of the mountain villagers. Living history waits to be rediscovered alongside majestic nature and authentic people. This charming old farmhouse reflects all the above.

The owners Gertrud and Markus have put their hearts in souls into the renovation of this old farmhouse. Running a restoration company in Bruneck, they know all about respecting the characteristics of the past, the house being part of the Dosoledo history and still being an important part of the village social life. ‘Patrimony’ is very important for the locals in the village, and for Gertrud and Markus, it was important to respect this. 

Staying here will immediately make you part of the village, you don’t come here to be sightseeing, but to become part of village life: you’ll be going to the local tavern, bakery, and shops. For the time being, you’ll be part of this isolated mountain village, while exploring more of the South Tyrol area. 

In winter it calls for reading books, taking baths, and of course, going on ski trips and other winter activities. Summer calls for picnics, hiking, and bike tours.

Take me there! 

Ellen Grandjean