Sleep in Forestis: A Dolomite Dream
Sleep in Forestis: A Dolomite Dream
There’s so much to see and do in Italy it can be hard to choose where to visit when you’re on a limited schedule. From historic cities and medieval hilltop towns to postcard-perfect beaches and island gems, narrowing down the options can be challenging.
This is a vast region, covering 1,1419 square kilometers (548 square miles) and five Italian provinces, including Bolzano. The town of Bolzano, South Tyrol’s vibrant capital, is often referred to as “The Gateway to the Dolomites,” nestled between Trenton to the south and Innsbruck to the north. Here you can immerse yourself in centuries of Italian, Austrian, and German influences and a rich history that surpasses even ancient Rome by some 3,000 years. This is also where you’ll find the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology which holds Europe’s oldest mummy, the 5,000-yearold Iceman, with a visit here not to be missed. Just 58 kilometers (36 miles) northeast is one of the province’s crown jewels and the ideal place to base yourself for enjoying it all: Forestis Dolomites.
Where to go in Italy
If being surrounded by lush meadows, sparkling alpine lakes, and soaring peaks, many of which reach nearly 10,000 feet, sound like your kind of heaven, the Dolomites should be on the top of your list. While they may not be the world’s highest, few would deny that they’re some of the most breathtaking on the planet. What sets them apart is their extraordinary, jagged angles, sharp points, and broken crests, formed by the elements over centuries of time.
Whether they’re rising above the clouds or into a bright blue sky, this UNESCO World Heritage Site is a photographer’s and an outdoor adventurer’s dream. Among the world’s most photographed mountains, their majestic pinnacles look as if Mother Nature hired a master sculptor to create them. Visitors can immerse themselves in the scenery in a myriad of ways, whether relaxing or taking part in a wide range of recreational activities, with everything from miles and miles of hiking routes to world-class skiing, or dining on mouthwatering alpine cuisine.
A former sanctuary for popes and pontiffs, Forestis is an above-the-clouds retreat on the south-facing slope of Plose Mountain in the jaw-droppingly beautiful South Tyrolean Valley. The views of the snaggle-toothed Dolomites can be enjoyed from nearly every vantage point. In fact, you’ll have a front row seat of one of the most extraordinary massifs, Geislergruppe. Those vistas are complemented by a divine spa – between the scenery and the uplifting therapies, it truly feels like a dream.
The history of Forestis dates back over a century to 1912, when the main pavilion was first built, designed as a health resort for those with lung disorders so they could breathe in the fresh mountain air, soak up the sunny climate, and drink pure spring water. After the First World War, it became a refuge for veterans before eventually falling into disrepair. Alois Hinteregger, a South Tyrolean hotelier, brought it back to life as Rosaalpina in 2009, while son Stefan took over a decade later along with his partner Teresa Unterthiner, transforming it into an ultra-stylish adults-only hideaway drawing on the surrounding natural elements. Collaborating with local artisans and architectures, the original structure was extended with the addition of three towers of suites and the huge glass-and-stone spa.
With a focus on outdoor recreation and wellness, the co-owners are happy to advise you on the best hiking routes, skiing, and opportunities for relaxation. There’s a ski lift just a few minutes’ walk away and guided walks are offered too, which includes druid-inspired meditation under the canopy of the forest and yoga practice next to a mountain stream. Facilities are geared for de-stressing and detoxing, with a Finnish-style sauna nestled in the woods, a heated outdoor pool, and treatments aimed to “regenerate your flow,” including a combination program with a forest salt bath, wood oil massage, and tree therapy.
You won’t go hungry here with a philosophy of eating well. Start with the generous breakfast spread of foraged South Tyrol fruit, breads, local honeys, cheeses, cured meats, mueslis, and cakes. Come afternoon, guests gather on the terrace for kaffee und kuchen, while dinner is more of an upscale affair. A nightly tasting menu and a la carte dishes are offered with local farmers and nature supplying the ingredients that are prepared with a mix of modern cooking and time-honored traditions. Guests can also head to what Forestis claims is the world’s highest rooftop bar, ideal for sunset cocktails spiked with forest findings like sprigs of fir.
All rooms boast widescreen views of the Dolomites with the chic suites in towers that rise like tree stumps out of the forest featuring floor-to-ceiling sliding windows, while those in the traditional building overlooking balconies.
For something extra-special, it’s well-worth splurging on a two-story penthouse suite. You’ll have your own sprucewood sauna, open fire, and swimming pool. The highlight is being able to watch the moon over the craggy peaks and gaze up at the brilliant star-filled sky right from your cozy bed.
Eco-friendly to the max, you’ll not only enjoy a luxurious stay at Forestis Lodge, but one that’s guilt-free. The owners worked hard to ensure all materials were sourced from the South Tyrol region, and for every tree felled in the construction of the hotel, two saplings were planted. As a thank you for pressing the “No Housekeeping” button, one tree will be planted for every housekeeping free day as a way to help conserve natural resources.
The lodge runs entirely on renewable energy and operates a no-waste policy, including the kitchen, which as noted, sources local ingredients. Herbs and vegetables come straight from the property’s own garden. Even the spa and bathroom produces are made from all-natural ingredients, with shaving and dental kits completely biodegradable.
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