Vigilius Mountain Resort: An Eco-Spa at 4,921 Feet
Mentioning the Sudtirol often conjures up images of Swiss men in lederhosen merrily herding goats and making cheese to the doleful dirges of mountainside Alphorns droning in the distance. It is a land of fresh mountain air, green valleys, steep vineyards, and fresh spring-fed pools. What better place, then, for a high-altitude eco spa like the one at the Vigilius Mountain Resort and Eco Spa from Design Hotels.
Located about halfway between Innsbruck and Venice, Vigilius is 4,921 feet (or 1,500 meters) up on Vigiljoch peak in the craggy Dolomite Mountains. The closest town is a tiny town called Lana—though there’s an air strip about a half-hour away in Bolzano, so you can fly from Rome and Munich. Now, we’re all for getting to far-flung places, but the Vigilius even makes us wonder since it’s only accessible by cable car and…foot. That’s right, by foot. When you come to relax and get back to nature, though, the farther the better.
Even the architecture, designed by Matteo Thun, is dedicated to communing with nature in a “wooden house of modernity.” The glass-and-wood façade helps the building blend into its environment while mimicking the timbering of traditional Tyrolean structures. The wooden beams in the restaurant are over 300 years old, and the roofs are covered with turf and grass in an attempt at energy conservation and to blend in with the pristine surroundings.
Inside, the hotel is totally modern…some might say Spartan. The 35 rooms and 6 suites rooms have concrete walls, plain white linens (though they look plush), and bleached wooden floors and fixtures. They also come equipped with CD players, modems, phone, laundry service, bath amenities, and satellite TV and DVD players on request. The furniture in the common areas does not look much cushier, though the leather divans and large floor cushions look pretty comfortable.
The centerpiece of the resort is the three-story spa, which has 11 treatment rooms, a hot tub, an indoor pool, a sauna and a Turkish steam room. The large windows opening on the mountainscape are meant to blur the boundary between the interior and the outdoors. Guests can choose from over 40 treatments combining local traditions (including the use of fresh spring water) with Asian influences. On the menu: massages, facials, and unique treatments like a hay bath with local herbs and a polenta peeling with South Tyrolean apples, corn and honey. Sounds delicious.
The resort will also has an outdoor lounge area and a library where guests can relax, as well as two restaurants. Parlor Ida will be a traditional “stube”-style eatery serving local specialties, while Restaurant 1.500 will serve light, healthy cuisine using fresh ingredients.
Rates at the hotel start at low-altitude price of 190 Euros ($280) per night.