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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.