Negotiating the narrow bends of the Dolomite mountains for the first time was a hairy, yet moving experience. The sheer scale and incredible natural beauty of the landscape makes an unforgettable impact. Hotel Rosa Alpina sits at the heart of the iconic mountain range in the historic town of San Cassiano in Badia and it was our heavenly Dolomites destination.
Walking through the doors of Hotel Rosa Alpina from the evening chill was like being enveloped in a cosy yet luxurious blanket. Leaving the porter to park our car and deliver our bags to our room, the receptionists met us with a smile. The setting echoed the warm welcome. Candles and chandeliers sent a soft glow throughout reception and the seating area beyond, followed by the gentle hum of jazz music from the lobby bar. Guests were nestled into elegant seating areas, decorated in natural hues and fresh cut flowers to match.
Hotel Rosa Alpina has been owned by the Pizzinini family for the past 70 years. Three generations have lovingly cared for the property and their guests and it shows. From the moment we arrived, we felt like part of the family; welcome and at ease. For a 5-star hotel, it was refreshingly intimate and entirely unpretentious.
Having been on the road from Bellagio for ten hours we couldn’t wait to see our room. Our Junior Suite was gorgeous. It was a true suite with plenty of room to unpack and unwind. Furnished with large, hand crafted, pale wooden pieces and cosy knitted accents, it had a homely, luxury cabin feel. My favourite part of the space had to be waking up to a clear view to the mountains. It was like we had our own private viewing gallery of The Dolomites.
Whether you’re in need of a hearty start to the day to prepare for a day of hiking, a glass of rich, red wine before dinner, a fun Fondue date or some Michelin-star magic in the mountains at St. Hubertus, there’s no need to leave the comfort of the hotel to have your culinary cravings met.
Restaurant Wine Bar & Grill
Sliding into a seat at the Restaurant Wine Bar & Grill was the perfect way to relax after a long drive up the mountains and the ideal introduction the Rosa Alpina. A glass of local red wine was just what the cool mountain air called for. The staff gave us great recommendations and we enjoyed a tipple with a delicious organic steak, vegetables and home made ricotta gnocchi. The atmosphere was casual, yet romantic – white tablecloths and candlelight, incredible food and impeccable service. It was exactly what we needed.
The breakfast at Hotel Rosa Alpina stands out as one of the most well considered and health conscious buffets I’ve ever seen. Guests sat at immaculately dressed tables set with white tablecloths in the cosy indoor setting or closer to the pines on the deck outside, overlooking the valley.
A wellness hotel at its heart, everything on offer is made from scratch using local ingredients (many organic), with a great deal of care. Whether you’re a guest with food allergies, health concerns or you just like really delicious whole foods, you will find it hard not to sneak back for second helpings here.
Superfoods, raw nuts, seeds, dried and fresh fruit sat lined up in individual bowls. Bircher muesli and yoghurt was accompanied by a variety of local raw honey and home made jams. A range of milks (rice, soy, cow’s dairy) were available, along with fruit smoothies and green juices, prepared daily. Warm, tempting baked breads from steamed on another table opposite a leg of ham and thick rounds of smelly cheeses and the chef on hand to ask you how you like your eggs.
Of course, there’s a naughty corner – pastries hot from the oven, cakes, tarts and an extensive gluten free section (rich chocolate cake, treats and bread – not a dry rice cake in sight). It’s a good thing most of the hotel guests were heading off hiking or biking after breakfast!
The Restaurant St. Hubertus
Headed up by Executive Chef Norbert Niederkofler, The Restaurant St. Hubertus is a foodie’s dream. Earning its first Michelin star in 2000, the restaurant offers a particularly special dining experience. Only seating about 10 tables, diners are wooed with a carefully curated, intimate culinary experience, showcasing local ingredients and the team’s world class skills.
One of the most relaxing moments we had during our stay was spending the early evening relaxing in lobby bar. A pianist played and sang jazz and cover songs as the chill set in outside. We relaxed with a couple of aperitifs and canapés as we eased our way into the night. We toasted over a “Hugo” cocktail and commented on how lovely it would be if we could extend our stay we were so comfortable and relaxed.
EXPLORE + MOVE
At 1537 metres above sea level the historic village of San Cassiano in Badia has weathered war and many cool winters, emerging from a farming area to a tourist town over a number centuries. The main street is home to gorgeous boutique hotels and apartments, cosy bars and restaurants, the beautiful parish church (built in 1782) and designer boutiques, all within walking distance of the hotel. The village is overlooked by the stunning peaks of the Dolomites where visitors venture out during summer and winter for a dose of fresh air and adventure.
Having only decided to visit to the Dolomites a couple of days prior, we were ill prepared when it came to planning our days in the outdoors. That problem was quickly resolved by the lovely women at reception who essentially mapped out a suggested schedule within minutes. We spent a day riding the hotel’s mountains bikes to nearby villages and hiking the Alta Badia peaks. Spending time exploring Badia was one of the most rewarding experiences of our lives; breathing in the fresh air, taking in the scenery. It was magical.
If the weather is poor or you aren’t up to the physical demands of tackling the steep terrain, the hotel gym is a great option for those after a traditional weight or cardio based workout. A studio-style space, there is a row of cardio machines, free weights, mats and accessories, with help on demand should you need it.
Next door is one of my favourite spots in the hotel – the huge indoor pool. It isn’t something that’s been built in the basement as an after thought. Instead, it’s a welcoming space for relaxation and healing. You could spend hours (as we and many other guests did), indulging in each of the therapeutic areas. Soft and stylish chaise lounges are set up around the main pool (I can’t explain how comfortable they are, but I’m not denying I nodded off for a while). A Finnish sauna, marble spa, jacuzzi, an ice bath, an additional training space, outdoor sun chairs and a relaxation zone with water, teas and fresh fruit are just some of the features of the wellness space. I can only imagine what a sanctuary the area is in winter for weary skiers.
Just down the corridor you’ll find the spa. With a focus on promoting health, longevity, anti-ageing and healing the treatment menu is extensive and considered. Utilising natural, mineral-rich ingredients (Pharmos Natur) everything from the essentials to bespoke spa therapies and packages are available.
Thank you to Hotel Rosa Alpina for hosting The Fit Traveller during our stay
Hotel Rosa Alpina
Wellness and Spa Hotel
Strada Micurá de Rü, 20 – 39036, San Cassiano in Badia (BZ) Italy
t: +39 0471 849 500
Skye is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Fit Traveller. She is a journalist, writer, photographer, intrepid traveller and a former personal trainer with a passion for helping others reach optimal health. As a TV journalist and producer, Skye has worked for household names such as 60 Minutes, Sunrise, TODAY and Nine News. She has also written for Women’s Health, Fodor’s Travel and Yahoo7 Travel, among many others.
Skye created The Fit Traveller as a beautiful online space and community where people feel inspired to escape the desk to move and explore more.
Equally comfortable in a 5-star resort or hiking a far-off mountain, Skye loves the unexpected and enriching life experiences that each trip brings and can often be found in a backstreet chatting to locals with her camera in hand.
Skye is based in Sydney, working to master the balance between motherhood and her insatiable appetite for adventure.