Oberbozen, Italy

Photo: ADLER Lodge RITTEN

You’re about to enter a magical place. The train glides into South Tyrol. The autonomous province is the northernmost in Italy. It stops in Bolzano. The provincial capital is considered the gates of the towering Dolomites. Renon’s cable car is just steps away. Its gondolas, which depart every four minutes, rise high above carved valleys, quaint villages, and traditional farmhouses as they slide in between limestone peaks. Twelve minutes later, you descend into Oberbozen, a hill town famous for its bizarre fairy chimneys (needle-like earth pyramids created by erosion). A shuttle awaits your arrival.

This is only the beginning of your journey. The shuttle then winds through the mountain village, into a dense forest, and up to a clearing on the Ritten plateau. Sunlight seeps in between the trees. It bounces off an emerald-green lake, as well. The air smells like pine. Birds happily chirp just out of sight. Plus chalet-style buildings, made out of Tyrolean wood, blend into the landscape. They all look out toward Corno del Renon (the Rittner Horn). ADLER Lodge RITTEN looks like a fairy tale.

You’ll quickly discover that it feels like one, too. It seems like there is no separation between you and the gorgeous scenery in the main lodge due to massive glass walls. Its wood-planked floors are covered with animal-hide rugs. A big fire keeps the room toasty despite the chill in the air outside. Two wings flank either side of the main lodge. They hold junior suites with wood-burning stoves. A-frame chalets, which offer a bit more privacy, are also clustered around the lake. Both types of rooms have stunning mountain views. More importantly, each has its own wooden Bio-sauna, so you can relax in dry and steam heat in your own bathroom. It immediately becomes your favorite part of your room.

Photo: ADLER Lodge RITTEN

So you’ll spend a lot of time in your luxurious bathroom. Obviously. Don’t ignore the rest of the hotel, though. The Sanoner family wanted to create a true hideaway, so their package includes food and wine, an outdoor program and spa acess. The dining hall is an impressive space. Its ceiling opens for alfresco dining as the temperature starts to rise. Breakfast and lunch are sweet-and-savory buffets. Treats and drinks are left out for you to help yourself all day. While five-course dinners include fresh Tyrolean produce, Mediterranean touches, and thoughtful wine pairings. Evenings are elegant, to say the least.

The meals may be decandent, but the fresh mountain air will keep you active so you don’t return home wearing a few extra pounds. Mornings begin with yoga and a sun saluation in front of more huge windows in the fitness studio. Meditation, guided hikes, bike tours, honey tastings, and llama meetings (yes, llamas) are possibilities during the day. Then late afternoon should be reserved for the ADLER Spa.

At least you’ll start in the spa. The treatment rooms, the Turkish bath, and the relaxation areas are inside. But the heated infinity pool, the Finnish sauna, and the herbal sauna in the woods are all outside. Another fire will always be roaring when you return. You’ll be in this blissful state during your entire stay. It’s certainly hard to believe that something supernatural isn’t happening up here in the Dolomites.

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