One of the most recognizable mountain ranges in the world, the Dolomites, are tucked away in the north-eastern corner of Italy just a quick road trip from Munich, Germany or Venice, Italy. The distinct peaks of these mountains make this UNESCO World Heritage Site a remarkable view to behold. After discovering a wellness resort and spa, Bergidyll Hotel Tratterhof, less than a two-hour drive away from the famous mountains, I made plans to visit for my birthday weekend. What better way to celebrate a birthday than waking up to a stunning view and getting to hike the beautiful iconic mountains?
After getting off work on Friday, I road tripped down from Stuttgart to South Tyrol. As the mountains grew more impressive all around me, I grew more and more excited to reach the hotel. The sun disappeared behind the distant mountains as I finished the drive and arrived to a friendly welcome at Tratterhof. I was warmly greeted and despite my late arrival was offered a delicious fresh salad and steak dinner. Reaching the room, I excitedly explored all the features of the suite from the mood lighting over the massive bathtub in the room to the infrared sauna and even the distinct smell of the arolla pine wood that is designed to trigger relaxation.
However, it was not until several hours later when the sun rose that I saw the best part of the room. From the massive balcony just off the bedroom, the outline of the Dolomites could clearly be seen in the distance. As I sipped on my morning coffee and planned out the day, I was continually distracted by the stunning views of the peaks outlining the legendary mountains. Located at 1,500M high, Tratterhof boasts the highest location of hotels in the area and subsequently the most stunning views.
Breakfast was no less exceptional with a made to order egg and omelet station, full buffet, and an orange juice press to make fresh squeezed orange juice which paired perfectly with the chilled bottles of champagne. After filling up at breakfast, I packed my day bag and drove out to the Dolomites.
There are numerous trails in the area and even several early-morning guided hikes offered by the hotel throughout the week for guests. My top recommendations for the area are:
1) Tre Cime di Lavaredo - the massive three peaks towered above the Dolomites and are the most iconic in the region. They were an hour and a half from the hotel, but an easy and extremely scenic drive with plenty of parking available.
2) Gitschberg Panoramic Platform- about a five-minute drive from the hotel is a chairlift that provides easy access to a sweeping 360 panoramic view of the surrounding hills. There are numerous huts along the route at the top offering hearty local cuisine and cold refreshing beers. As I walked to the top, I was greeted by a small band playing the accordion and a group of high school girls dressed in local dresses performing an energetic dance. In winter, the same beautiful views are available, but the green hillside is transformed into a winter ski haven.
3) Kirche St. Johann in Ranui- only a 45 min drive away is another famous destination, the Kirche St. Johann. This church is the most photographed in the region as it is nestled away in nature under the impressive peaks.
After finishing my hike up to the Tre Cime di Lavaredo on the first day, I returned to Tratterhof to enjoy a few more of the hotels amenities. Two of the best features of the hotel were the extensive spas and saunas and the fact that it is dog friendly. The pools and saunas were split in different areas- one focusing exclusively on adults only with a large open balcony that offered lounging chairs and hot tubs as well as several saunas with massive glass walls to maintain the picturesque view.
The second area was focused on families with a large play area and indoor pool, providing a perfect divide for all guests to enjoy the facilities. The second special perk was that the hotel is dog-friendly (naturally with all of the trails that are perfect for hiking with the furry family members), but even the restaurant offered a special area where dogs were welcome to accompany their owners.
I met up with Sascha, the charming marketing director, and enjoyed a cocktail at the bar before gorging on the full five course dinner. Even after being warned to go light on the first course, which was an extensive anti-pasta buffet, I quickly realized that I had still filled my plate too full once I looked over the menu for the following courses. Every time a course was completed, the attentive and personable staff seemed to immediately appear with another more enticing dish and a glass of perfectly paired wine. Of course at the end of the meal, there was still a little room to sample some of the tiramisu from the again plentiful array of desert options.
Following dinner, I returned to my room to enjoy the in-room sauna and hot tub before enjoying a final glass of wine on the balcony overlooking the twinkling city lights from the town far below.
The next morning, I woke up early to try out the Silver Gym and burn off a few of the calories I had consumed the evening before. I was pleasantly surprised to find brand new state of the art equipment filling the gym. Of course there was also a balcony with a full view of the mountains that was perfect for some morning yoga! I got a good work-out in before heading down to another coffee and mimosa breakfast followed by several hours relaxing in the different areas of the spa. Eventually I packed up and headed out to the chairlift and up the mountain to the Gitschberg Panoramic Platform.
This was one of the rare weekends that maintained a balance of physical exertion doing outdoor activities and relaxation while enjoying the remarkable scenery in Europe. It was one of my favorite birthdays to date and I am definitely looking forward to returning and seeing the magnificent views from the hotel during another season!