[SAN CASSIANO, ITALY] — When I checked into the Hotel Rosa Alpina a man was standing there off to the side, bouncing a baby in his right arm, baby projecting out like a cat. “Oh Hi, we’ve been waiting for you. I’d shake your hand, but the baby…” and reached out his left hand.
And so it started like that.
This is the Hotel Rosa Alpina in San Cassiano Italy. This place ranks right up there with one of the best hotel experiences I’ve ever had. (And for those that follow me, all six of you, you know that I like a nice hotel.)
The rooms are very nice and cozy, certainly; it’s not just the Michelin two star restaurant; it’s not just the perfect village in the Dolomites; it is the people and the style of service — super friendly, always helpful and truly caring — that make this place different. All lead by Signore Hugo Pizzinini, whose family has been running this place with charm since between the Wars.
I’ve never felt such a strong presence of an owner in a hotel, 24/7. With any number of kids in arms, always with a smile and a map ready to tell you where to hike. Out front, kibitzing with neighbors or the local Carabinieri; always chatting with people like they were family. No matter where you are in the hotel, he’s already there. Dawn to dusk. Running expo at the kitchen, sneaking you a special glass from a wine dinner, or dropping you off at a trailhead while running an errand.
Everyone in the hospitality business should send their people here for a week to see how it’s done.
Looking for info about a hike, I asked if he was around. “He’s here. Always. Just stand in one place and he’ll be by soon.” And not just Hugo, it’s everyone. From the front desk staff to the lovely Antonella – a Germanic Audrey Hepburn if there ever was one – equally present everywhere every shift at every restaurant, remembering your drink pref or whipping out a table setting like a magician.
I don’t know if they have 20 rooms, 30 or 50. To me it felt like they just had 1. There was a very famous diva singer at the hotel, often sitting at the next table, but you’d never know it because everyone else got the rockstar treatment.
It’s a member of both Tablet Hotels and Relais & Chateaux, which to me a one-two punch of validation when I booked this. And the staff at Tablet personally recommended it, above all other hotels in the region. Even the dichotomy reviews of Trip Advisor agrees that the service in this place is over the top. Here’s a great article in Forbes, outlining just about everything I’ve said. Even down to the magical hike in the Fanes plateau I posted here.
This hotel is very famous. I can see why. Everyone in the hospitality business should send their people here for a week to see how it’s done.
They’ll leave smiling.
Last visited July 2015
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