In the charming town of Corvara – a UNESCO World Heritage site – is Hotel Sassongher, a traditional South Tyrolean family-owned hotel. A winter wonderland in the cooler months, the summer becomes a haven for hikers, writes Georgie Bentley-Buckle.
Hotel Review: Hotel Sassongher – Corvara, Italy
Hotel Sassongher is embodied by family values and tradition dating back to the 1930s. The namesake of the mountain it lies beneath, this six-story, 65 room and suite hotel has been in the Pescosta family for more than 70 years. A balancing act of keeping their treasured traditions alive while offering a five-star experience, the chalet-style property is a blend of classic and contemporary, having been remodelled in 2018 with a new five-story building. This now includes 13 new rooms, the mountain ‘Sky Spa’, a cinema, a gym, and a kid’s club. The hotel also invites guests to arrive stylishly; parking in the hidden underground car park (ideal for the most precious of supercars) or by helicopter, landing conveniently on the new helipad.
Locally-sourced wood lines the walls and ceilings, from the rustic ‘Jägerstube’ dining room that dates back to 1520, to each unique room and suite. Many of the rooms in the original building offer a step back in time to a fairytale setting in which you’d expect Rapunzel to reside. Notably, this includes the 75 square metre pine wood ‘Suite Hubertus’, dressed in red furnishings with a four-poster bed fit for a princess beneath a carved wooden ceiling. This regal theme comes to life with Hotel Sassongher’s 85 square metre Presidential Suite – aka ‘The Cinderella Suite’ – which, along with widespread living space, features a private sauna.
In the summer months, this mountainous region of Italy offers world-class hiking along scenic trails, rock climbing, and even sky running. An adrenaline-fuelled sport pioneered in the 1990s, sky running (high-altitude trail running) is led by the hotel’s expert mountain guide, who takes adventurous guests along trails more than 6,600 feet high. The ultimate experience for active enthusiasts, it combines the high altitude with slopes over a gradient of 30 per cent.
The majority of the hotel’s summer guests arrive ready to explore the endless hiking trails that showcase some of Europe’s most dramatic views. A signature is The Sassongher Mountain route which starts in Corvara, where the hotel is situated. Rising 2,665 metres, this route features The Dolomites’ most spectacular panoramic landscapes, so much so that it attracts mountain lovers and hiking enthusiasts globally.
Back at the hotel, the extensive spa is a mountain side sanctuary. The selection of saunas includes one with space for just two people that has been re-modelled from an old cable car, an infrared sauna which boosts the immune system, and a glass sauna on the rooftop that takes full advantage of the landscape. Meanwhile, the spa’s indoor swimming pool offers direct access to the sun terrace, and the Vitarium (relaxation room) soothes with harmonious scents and sounds. These spa facilities can then also be paired with one of the Alpine treatments available.
Hotel Sassongher’s charisma thrives in one of the three ‘stubes’ (parlour dining rooms). In each of these spaces, the heritage of the hotel lives on, particularly in the 16th century, wooden clad ‘Hunter’s Stube’ with its mighty display of stag heads. The playful ‘Dolls Stube’ next door is like stepping into a life-sized doll house, showcasing the family’s passion for collecting traditional dolls, which are dotted throughout the property. Lastly, the ‘Romantica Stube’ offers the ideal set-up for an intimate, candle-lit meal. Filled with natural light and overlooking Corvara, the Panoramic Restaurant is where the buffet and main dining space is situated, accompanied by an impressive art collection.
The hotel’s love for tradition can also be seen throughout the buffet and daily changing à la carte menu from head chef Raffaele Mattera. With a culinary philosophy centred on simple cuisine served at a high level, Mattera cooks from the heart to create naturally fresh dishes. With inspiration taken from French and Swiss food, the kitchen’s revolving menu features game poultry, colourful red, pink and violet Spirito prawns, homemade pasta, and Strudel cake, ‘made as it should be’.
Downstairs, the Piano Bar, Wine Stube and Smoker’s Lounge also embody times gone by. In the centre, the bar is the jewel of the hotel, looked after by a longstanding team and headed up by Rosario Margareci, an award-winning mixologist. Meanwhile, with over 350 international labels is The Sassongher wine cellar. Here, the hotel encourages their many returning guests to suggest personal favourites from around the world, helping to curate a growing wine list they call ‘the language of Sassongher’.
THE FINAL WORD
Hotel Sassongher’s distinctive character echoes among the mountains. Encouraging each guest to embrace their values of tradition – evident in the whimsical rooms, nostalgic lounges and dining spaces – this family-run hotel offers world-class wellbeing with one of the finest spas northern Italy has to offer.
Rates start from £233 per night. sassongher.it
Fly direct from the UK to Innsbruck, Venice or Verona airport.