Addled? Let your soul fly at the Adler

Hotel Adler Dolomiti Anyone for a hay bath? It took just 48 hours at the Adler for the transformation process to take place, and to emerge with that complete feeling of health and well-being which you might expect at the end of a week’s holiday.  A cocktail of mountain air, exercise, good food, relaxation and … well, a hay bath in a thong … and I would defy anyone to emerge feeling less than a million dollars.

Built in 1810 and still within the Sanoner family, the Adler is a truly splendid hotel in the village of Ortisei in the heart of the Dolomites, best known in winter as part of the Val Gardena ski area. The Adler is a wood lover’s paradise with an abundance of local carving and craftsmanship. Conservationists need not worry – the surrounding forests show no sign of deprivation.

Hotel Adler Dolomiti Val Gardena A sense of pride and a passion for detail resonate throughout,  and those little touches make all the difference … automatic lighting at low level when getting up in the middle of the night;  an egg timer with a pot of tea to ensure a perfectly timed infusion; a handy Adler rucksack helpfully proffered at reception for the walking trip. And ah … the afternoon tea after a day’s walking on the mountains is a truly mouth-watering sight: a buffet laden with breads, cheeses and salads with a lovely spread of indulgent patisserie, deserts and of course strudel.

It’s rare to stay in a hotel where every member of staff is so naturally smiling, happy and fulfilled. All are multi-lingual – it really makes you realise how insular we Brits are. Everyone speaks German and Italian as a matter of course, and excellent English, as well as their own version of Romansch, known as Ladin (and no that’s not a typo for Latin as my spell checker keeps insisting).

Open all year round, the purpose of my stay at the Adler was to experience the summer mountain walking. With free maps indicating the well-marked trails and with access to two summer cable cars from the village centre, walkers can either self-guide or choose to join an excellent walking tour (choosing between one more strenuous and one more leisurely offered each day) with Thaddeus and Verena the two resident guides. Both were born in the village and know every inch of the mountains like the back of their hand, and they love to share their local knowledge – in three languages of course.

Hotel Adler Dolomiti The guided walk we followed departed the hotel reception promptly at 10.00 and returned some 5 hours later. The group number around 25, mainly Italian and German walkers, and a diverse age range – from sprightly septagenarians through to teenagers all kitted out with sticks loaned by the hotel.

Arriving at some 1,500m above sea level we initially followed a forest trail above Santa Christina, a village about halfway between Ortisei and Selva, walking up towards Col Raiser. This path provided stupendous views of the Sella Massif and the towering Sassolungo. The path, although steep at first, soon opened out into beautiful flowered filled meadows where Crocus, Gentian Violets and Edelweiss grow abundantly.

Hotel Adler Dolomiti - Salt Grotto Passing through the meadows we slowly climbed up to a ridge and then through woods up to the top of a hill aptly named the Pic! The view from here can only be described as stupendous, looking some 30km south and surrounded by higher peaks, their rock falls creating colourful patterns of moraine among the remaining snow.

After a simple but very tasty picnic lunch, ordered at breakfast from the hotel, we walked south back towards Ortisei, passing by Sant Jakob with its pretty little church. For those who preferred, the bus awaited and we arrived back at the hotel to afternoon tea and relaxation. Looking from the terrace back up to the hills, we were elated that we’d completed a truly special walk.

Other activities on offer include mountain biking, and for those who want the experience without the grind of the steep slopes, e-bikes are also popular. 

Hotel Adler Dolomiti Once replete with tea and cake, it was time to visit the Agua Waterworld and Spa – indoor and outdoor pools, an outdoor Jacuzzi with an awesome view across the mountains, a gym with state of the art equipment (although personally I have never understood gyms in mountain resorts. There’s a natural gym on your doorstep but clearly there’s a need for running and stepping machines too). Classes on offer included stretching, yoga, pilates. The spa was completed with indoor saunas, and an interesting salt grotto with 11% salt where you float like a lilo.

Hotel Adler Dolomiti -Couples room with traditional hay treatment Treatments of a wide variety were available including massages, facials and this is a first – a hay bath which consists of lying in a thong on a bed of hay (organic hay no less), with more hay on top and then being swaddled and lowered onto a water bed with 60 degree humidity. For half an hour. I’m told that it cleanses the respiratory tracts, relieves muscle tension and soothes aching joints. In all honesty, it was quite itchy and perhaps not to be recommended for hay fever sufferers, but when in Rome …

And finally to dine, and what an experience this was. The Adler restaurant consists of a number of interconnected dining rooms offering space for bigger groups as well as more intimate dining. There are three menus on offer each evening; one standing menu of seasonal dishes, two or three local specialities and a full menu that changes daily involving three or four dishes, with an extensive salad and desserts bar to accompany either menu.

Hotel Adler Dolomiti The food is excellent with portion sizes in line with the healthy environment the hotel is promoting. One of the great things about dinner is the opportunity to choose your own bread, with all manner of wholesome and tasty breads to try.

And of course there is an extensive wine list featuring locally grown wines including the aromatic and slightly sweeter Gewürztraminer as well also drier local Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling and lesser known but excellent reds Blauburgunder and Lagrien.

Whether you are there for the food, the walking, the spa, the views or just a great big dose of hay bathing, let your soul fly at the Adler. Truly you will not be disappointed.

More information

Rates at the Adler Dolomiti start from Euros 142 (approx £118 per person sharing on half-board basis), which includes complimentary access to all the spa and wellness facilities, together with a full programme of indoor and outdoor activities, such as yoga and Pilates, as well as guided hiking and mountain biking. Book at www.adler-dolomiti.com

Related articles:

427 people found this helpful
17967

Share Article:

Debbie Marshall

Founder of Silver Travel Advisor

Leave a comment

*

Sign up to our newsletter to receive the latest travel tips on top destinations.

Join the club

Become a member to receive exclusive benefits

Our community is the heart of Silver Travel Advisor, we love nothing more than sharing ideas, inspiration, hints and tips between us.

Most Recent Articles

Mark Nicholls visits Austria’s snowiest ski resort and stumbles across a chapter of pop history….

Come feel the love on a Princess cruise. You’ll enjoy the MedallionClass experience others simply can’t, and it’s exclusively for everyone. Visit incredible destinations and be involved in the best experiences around each one of them.

Experience more with Princess and connect effortlessly with the world around you, spend time away with loved ones, take a moment for yourself, and fall in love with your holiday of a lifetime, every time.

With over 20 years of experience, Wendy Wu Tours has mastered the art of creating exceptional, fully inclusive tours which showcase the very best of each destination.

Each tour is led by a world-class guide, who will highlight the very best of their homeland, and includes authentic cultural experiences so you are not just seeing the sights, but truly immersing yourself in local life.

Say hello to ease at sea. Ambassador’s purpose is simple: they want to inspire every guest to experience authentic cruising, effortlessly and sustainably. Passionate about protecting our oceans and destinations, their ships comply with the highest industry emission standards and there is no single-use plastic on board.

On your voyage, you will receive the warmest of welcomes from the Ambassador community as you sail upon the friendliest ships afloat.

This is a global co-operative co-owned by local partners using real local experts and guides, which supports local communities, environments and wildlife. It offers travellers quirky places to stay, activity holidays and learning experiences. Not In The Guidebooks gets travellers off the beaten track into local culture with day experiences and longer, immersive adventures.

From wild wellness breaks in Wales to painting in Portugal, sustainable adventures in Mauritius to food safaris in Brazil, this is immersive, exciting travel.

Seabourn’s five intimate ships carry guests to the heart of great cities, exclusive yacht harbours and secluded coves around the world, while two new purpose-built expedition ships will combine exhilarating adventures in remote destinations with the sophisticated amenities of the world’s finest resorts at sea.

From the luxury of all suite accommodations to complimentary fine wines and spirits, and a no tipping policy, Seabourn exemplifies the definition of travelling well.