During my soul-enhancing experience at the Adler Dolomiti, I also had the opportunity to visit the two other hotels from the same family stable, both with the same hallmarks of outstanding quality and service, but distinctly individual in style and appeal.
First stop was the Adler Balance located adjacent to the main Adler Dolomiti and linked by an underground corridor. The emphasis, as the name suggests, is on wellness and equilibrium: this is a medical spa for guests who have health concerns and require clinical checks and professional treatments whilst relaxing in the most stunning location which in itself is a restorative experience. A stay at the Adler Balance is also ideal for guests who need recuperation with expert medical assistance on hand if required. Or simply those who feel that their body deserves to be treated like a temple for a few days! With three doctors in residence, a blood test laboratory (results the same day) and no children allowed, the focus is on restoring and maintaining good health – through extremely healthy eating, specialised treatments and relaxation, all within a professional environment of medical expertise and personal attention.
After leaving the Adler Balance, my final treat awaited, and what a treat it was. If I felt that the experience at the Adler Dolomiti could not be surpassed, I was wrong. From the centre of Ortisei (Sankt Ulrich) I took the cable car to the Alpe di Siusi (Seiser Alm). This gently sloping plateau sits at some 2,000m tilted towards the Sella Massif.
And here, way above the village of Val Gardena, and in the heart of the Dolomites, an ultimate experience awaits at the Adler Mountain Lodge where the air and peace of the mountains let nature do its job on mind, body and soul.
The Lodge is quite simply perfection. As a seasoned traveller, I do not use this word lightly, but it is the only way to describe this exquisite fusion of design, location and culinary excellence, with 360 degree views to take the breath away.
Literally a dream come true, the owners took over 10 years to make their vision a reality and to obtain the necessary permits to create the ultimate eco lodge at the top of the cable car. Ski-in ski-out in winter, and endless walking trails in summer – it’s a true hideaway for anyone who loves to be in the mountains at the heart of nature – but enjoying total luxury.
Built entirely in local wood, the decor is African inspired from the owners’ own travels, and the wood has been painted with typical African motifs. A huge totem pole rises from the lounge right up to the fourth floor made by a local artist, now in his 90s. An outdoor swimming pool with heavenly views, state-of-the-art spa, sun lounge and gym complete the excellent range of facilities for those guests who like to give nature a little helping hand.
I visited in summer when a range of activities is on offer including walking, mountain biking, and special hiking tours (including one to discover edible flowers which then make their way to the lunch table!). On well-marked paths and tracks this area affords easy exploration with the most incredible view of the mountains. A good free map is available from the hotel that shows the marked trails and all signposts are marked with accurate walking times to each destination.
Sitting on the wide terrace in the sun and looking towards the peaks is a truly special experience. The lunch menu offers a relatively small selection as everything is prepared freshly with an emphasis on the use of the wild flowers and produce from the Seiser Alm itself. Young chef Hannes Pignater spoke enthusiastically about the hotel and the opportunity to try out new interpretations of traditional culinary dishes.
Bathed in warm sunshine and enjoying tasty fresh bread, olive oil and goat’s cheese to whet our appetites, I chose a fresh flower-filled mountain salad of goat’s cheese, walnuts and crisp salad, followed by the Tyrolean speciality of hay soup, also liberally sprinkled with mountain flowers.
The main course options consisted of lightly pan fried seabass and a fresh salad or Hannes’ signature dish of delicately roasted filet of venison with red cabbage and creamy purée of potato which was absolutely delicious.
The view of the mountains from the restaurant and terrace makes any meal here special and the standard of cooking and attentive (but not intrusive) service ensured a truly memorable experience. I cannot recommend it highly enough.
Afterwards I elected to descend back to Ortisei on foot which was very pleasant, although relatively steep in places with steps winding down through the woods in some parts. It’s quite hard going so unless you have enough energy after a good walk around the high plateau, then taking the lift down is recommended.
The whole experience was perfection, and I almost wondered afterwards if it could have been a dream. On a gloomy day in London, it takes only a few moments to imagine myself back at the Adler Mountain Lodge, and the world feels a happier place.
The nearest airport is Innsbruck, which is around 1 hour’s drive away, or Verona which is about 2 hours by train and taxi. A stay at the Adler Mountain Lodge, Adler Balance or Adler Dolomiti could easily combine with a city break in either destination.