Summer usually recalls images of beaches, sea, sun and sand. And we, at the hiptraveller, are pretty much aligned with that. This year, though, we wanted to give a different twist to a couple of our summer weekends and visited the Dolomites.
For our first weekend we decided to go to San Luis Retreat Hotel and Lodges, in Avelengo, near Merano, in the heart of the Dolomites. We had heard very good things about this place and we just wanted to try it in person.
San Luis is near Avelengo, a small village very close to Merano, in South Tyrol. We got there on a Friday afternoon, after a very nice drive through green pastures and magnificient mountains. Once you get there, you will end up in front of a small gate – you ring the bell, and this will reveal an entire new world of relax, beauty, happiness where you will get cuddled as never before.
With your car you will get straight into a tunnel which will lead you to the parking and that will be the last time you see your car until your departure. Only when you get upstairs you will realize that paradise exists, and is in Avelengo. They have built a few cottages and tree houses around a small transparent alpine lake. And all around is just green grass and trees – welcome to your alpine fairy tale.
The central body of the entire lodge is a pretty large space, entirely made of wood, with nice sofas and a small reception where they will welcome you to the resort. Downstairs, instead you will find the restaurant, where they serve lunch and dinner, and the bar, where you can get some nice complimentary desserts or home-made ice-cream during the afternoon snacks, or a nice drink after dinner. Once you get through the bar, you can then get into the spa with an amazing indoor-outdoor swimming pool, a relax area, sauna and turkish bath, massage rooms and a gym. From almost all of these places you will enjoy the view of the lake which, I guarantee you, will instill through your stay a sens of peace in your heart. Also there is a pleasant silence throughout the entire property all the time, which will definitely help you with that.
We got a nice tree-house in the middle of the woods, which puts you in direct contact with the nature. This room was named by Vanity Fair as the best in the resort (we did not know when we booked – we were just lucky to get it…). You have a small kitchen and living room at the entrance, and then you get in a wonderful bedroom with a large terrace right in the middle of the forest of larches. The room is so cozy and romantic. At night, when you get back after dinner, try to sit down outside, on the terrace, in the middle of the larches – close your eyes and listen to sounds of the night in the woods – the night will cuddle you and take you to the most remote and wonderful dreams of your life.
The morning starts in the best possible way at San Luis. They serve breakfast exclusively in your chalet. You will order everything you want the night before from the list which includes everything, from the best local cheeses or cured meat, to the sweetest and softest home made butter croissant. The morning after, at the time you picked, somebody will quietly get into the kitchen of your room (they always tell you to close the door between the bedroom and the kitchen the night before, in order to make sure to not disturb you in the morning), will prepare you your breakfast table with everything you requested and then will leave. Once you get up, this amazing breakfast will welcome you into the new day. If you order eggs or omelettes, they will put all the fresh ingredients int the kitchen, so that you can prepare it whenever you want and eat it warm.
For the day you have a lot of outdoor activities waiting for you, like trekking, hiking, mountain biking, but we would suggest you to spend at least one entire day in the spa. Among all the things two try, our two top picks: the jacuzzi positioned just in the middle of the lake and, listen, a swim in the fresh lake… This is an unforgettable experience you do not want to miss.
What about the food? They serve a light lunch from midday to 2:00pm and then a delicious dinner at night. At dinner you can choose from a daily menu every day but if you have any special request, they will make you happy and cook it for you. Also they have a great selection of cheese every night, plus a buffet of salads and other delicacies that will make you a very happy foodie… And don’t forget – if you are a bit hungry in the afternoon – from 3:00pm to 5:00pm, they will serve you homemade cakes, desserts and ice creams in the bar area. Basically, if you are a “foodie” like us, you will not get disappointed!
One last note on the Meister family, who own this place. They have built an amazing place and with their extreme sense of hospitality and kindliness, they are able every day to make you feel at home. You can really feel their “personal” touch to everything from the moment you get there until the moment you leave, that makes it stand out from the usual luxury hotels from international chains. We think their passion for what they do makes a difference here.
In few words, this place is like being in paradise, in the middle of the Dolomites. The only negative thing is that it can create addiction and when you leave you feel an urgent need to book your next stay there…