I don’t know why you’re sitting here reading this when you could be on a plane to the Italian Dolomites—specifically to ADLER Spa Resort Dolomiti, in the tiny town of Ortisei. The resort is one of the most magical places I’ve ever been, and the Italian Dolomites, which sit in the northeastern province of South Tyrol, with Switzerland to the west and Austria to the north, is one of the most magnificent mountain ranges in the world. UNESCO has praised its “vertical walls, sheer cliffs, and a high density of narrow, deep and long valleys”—and UNESCO knows what it’s talking about.
The 114-room hotel, which opened in 1810 as a small tavern, has been owned and run by the Sonaner family for six generations. The design mixes traditional comfort with contemporary flourishes. It’s no wonder that Europeans and Americans keep coming back. The place is that special.
The hotel has the largest spa in the Dolomites, which is divided into three areas: “Dolasilla” for beauty and vitality; ADLER Fit for fitness and sports (including a climbing wall); and “Aguana” for Water World, featuring 30,000 square feet of hot and cold pools, baths, and six kinds of saunas and relaxation areas.
The hotel has the largest spa in the Dolomites, which is divided into three areas: “Dolasilla” for beauty and vitality; ADLER Fit for fitness and sports; and “Aguana” for Water World, featuring 30,000 square feet of hot and cold pools, baths, and six kinds of saunas and relaxation areas.
The latter was among my favorites: Nothing makes you feel more alive than dipping into a hot pool, then a cold one, then repeating the process all over again. It’s supposed to crank up your circulation, and it certainly woke me up while also calming me down. Water, mountains, and sun are a pretty winning combination.
I got a relaxing massage and a deep cleansing facial, both of which were administered by an Italian angel who didn’t speak much English and didn’t need to. I fell into the most relaxed slumber while she worked her magic; my skin glowed after. I’m sure it had to do with the resort’s all-natural skincare line, ADLER Spa Active Cosmetics. I bought myself a bottle of cleansing milk moisturizer with extracts of edelweiss, along with an eye cream made of caffeine, arbutin and red grape extracts. It’s supposed to reduce bags and dark circles, and I swear it has.
But I was especially impressed with the outdoor program, which is included in the price of all guest rooms. In the summer months, the hotels offer twelve guided walks daily, as well as mountain-biking and Nordic walking options, e-bikes and mountain bikes, and rafting. I did one of the long hikes up in the mountains, which wound its way through charming cow pastures and villages. We ended up lunching at a neighboring inn before continuing down the mountain. Exhausting? Yes. Gorgeous? Certo.
You can also go out on your own; a network of trails adjacent to the property allows guests to easily hike or ski out and back to explore the Swiss Alps. (There’s also a funicular if you’re feeling lazy.) The hotel even offers full moon hikes, when the setting sun radiates glowing orange and eventually deep purple hues that fade to black. Guests pop into a mountain hut to enjoy a snack, and then have the chance to view the white Dolomite rock face as its illuminated by the full moon. In the winter, there’s ski guiding and ski safaris, ski pass service, ski bus, ski school service, guided winter walks.
If you’re trying to lose weight, you should probably avoid ADLER Spa Resort DOLOMITI and head to the smaller, adults-only ADLER Spa Resort BALANCE, which is connected by an underground tunnel. BALANCE offers detox, non-invasive laser therapy, Carb-O-xygen and weight loss. BALANCE guests have their own special menu, which is decidedly less decadent than the one next door, with its unlimited buffets of meats, pastas and enough desserts to fill an entire wine cellar. There’s one of those, too, with an extravagant wine list. But don’t worry—you can always sneak next door and indulge. No one will say a word.
Diana Anderson is a New York City-based writer.