[BRENTA DOLOMITES, ITALY] — During the ski season, Madonna di Campiglio attracts people from all over the world. During the “off season” — which I can’t relieve believe they call it that, it is such a gorgeous time of year — it is uncrowded and the scenery is just jaw-dropping. And the view from the boutique luxury BioHotel Hermitage in the Dolomites of Italy is about as great as any I’ve seen. Stunning.
We were sad to leave Milano, but we were jonesing for the next stop. After a quick lunch in quaint medieval Bergamo, finally we went, up into the Dolomites. Spindly little roads needling through small mountain towns, we threaded our way up the spine, chuffed by a long rough patch, waiting for a bike race ripping up the roads.
We finally stitched ourselves back together and zigzagged our way upupup to the collar of mountains called the Brenta Dolomites. Everyone was rung out like rags from all the hairpin turns, but we took our last elbow curve and the world opened up before us.
I mean… this is the view from your room. Just doesn’t get better than this.
The BioHotel Hermitage. My second time staying here in two years. This is the view from my room…. and every room. And this view is why I dragged my friends here. (Make sure you zoom in)
Just sitting there on the deck, or straight from your room, the view is just hard to fathom. A great Mount Rushmore of steep granite cliff faces staring right back at you.
When you look up in the dictionary under “family-run hotel” the Hermitage could be the second definition.
Not only does the family Maffei run the place, but they’ve been hosting people here in this remarkable location for generations, hiking up the steep valleys after the snow melt each summer. First, it was a farmhouse with lots of rooms, no electricity or running water. Barbra, the current runner of the hotel, said everyone would wash in the stream running down the hill. Then the family added on more rooms and made it a simple gasthaus B&B for years.
Then when whip-smart Barbra was one of the first architects to graduate with a “bio-architecture” degree from university, she designed the current hotel from scratch. The first eco-friendly hotel in the valley. It was her thesis, but since 1999 she’s been proving how viable eco-friendly can be. Nananananaaaah! #gottalovestrongwomen
As you’d expect in this heavily Germanic part of Italy, the place has the perfect alpine pine decor. After years as a spartan B&B, several years ago the multi-generation family that owns the place undertook a top to bottom renovation. Having a drink on the terrace after dinner one night in 2015, I asked Barbra, the current head of household, “Everything is so clean and new, did you just finish the renovations this summer?”
“No, it’s been since 1999.”
I asked Barbra, the current head of household “Everything is so clean and new, did you just finish the renovations.” “No, it’s been since 1999.”
That’s how well-taken-care of this place is. Spotless. Clean. Totally comfortable and spacious rooms, with drop-dread gorgeous views from nearly every window. I loved the place. And the family really made it that more special. Always present, always helpful to point out the right trail, pack a picnic lunch for a hike or tell you where you should go. My type of place.
There are two great restaurants, both excellent. One is even a Michelin star. I chose the half-board in the “daily” restaurant — which still had white tablecloths and a fantastic tux-wearing Captain — but the food was so good, I had no need to try out the “fancy” restaurant. I think in winter, that is restaurant in the main draw. Exceptional Italian service style and a daily menu that had just about everything you wanted. I felt no need to go to town and seek other sustenance.
The hotel is situated in about as great of a position you could ever want, outside of Madonna di Campiglio and smack-on, in-your-face views right into the heart of the Brenta Dolomites. The view is so stunning, you almost don’t want to leave each day. You can even see where you just hiked that day, with the rifugi on the mountains glittering at night, high above the treeline across the valley.
The hotel is perfectly positioned in a natural amphitheater, with grandstand seats on the best range in the region.
I tried napping, but I couldn’t with this view from my bed.
Honestly, I can’t think of a hotel with a more spectacular view. This is my second time here in two years and the killer view is even better than I remember it. The mountains even closer in person.
“Bio” means “organic” and the food and spa reflect that. (and they just expanded the spa in the summer of 2018) With the salad I ate pulled from the garden right below me and served in the valley’s best restaurant. With a half-board rate, you hike all day, come home to the spa and spill into dinner and not have to worry about a thing. No need to go anywhere else.
You’ll have to work in your nap sometime in between there.
[CLICK ON A PICTURE AND SEE LARGER PICS IN A GALLERY]
Barbra runs the hotel now, but her sweet and totally stylish mother Edda is still ever-present. Cutting flowers from the garden, welcoming guests, reviewing menus with the chef and, like here, when I caught her quietly arranging flowers in the restaurant when it was closed for siesta.
9:48pm at night. Still faint light in the late summer.
And this, this was about 3am in the morning. The stars so bright you could almost read a newspaper.
The best part was you come back after hiking and see where you just hiked, waaaay up there.
My favorite part was watching how dramatically the light changes throughout the day, giving you a whole new set of mountains to drool over.
If you were able to zoom zoom in from the balcony of the hotel, this is what you’d see. Rifugio Tuckett, way up in the Brentas. At night, you can see the spare lights flickering off in the distance in the high mountains.
Last visited July 2015 & July 2017
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