San Luis

SOUTH TY­ROL, ITALY

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Cabin Retreats -

WHERE AM I HEAD­ING?

Not to a His­panic coun­try, de­spite the name of the lodge, but to a mostly Ger­man-speak­ing part of the Ital­ian Alps. On a shoul­der of the val­ley of the Adige (or Etsch), more than a thou­sand me­tres above its vineyards, San Luis is a cabin vil­lage in minia­ture set around a small lake.

WHAT WILL I FIND THERE?

The lodge-style ar­range­ment is more North Amer­i­can than Euro­pean, with chalets and tree­houses ra­di­at­ing from a cen­tral club­house, but the architecture and styling are in keep­ing with the Alpine sur­rounds. That said, the cab­ins built high among the pine nee­dles opt out of the folksy aes­thetic that comes as stan­dard in ho­tels across the Alps, let­ting nat­u­ral wood tex­tures, floor-to-ceil­ing win­dows, and plain fab­rics do the talk­ing. Art­work is spar­ing, of­ten just a cou­ple of framed leaf prints on the wall. In­di­vid­ual kitch­enettes are in­cluded among the fa­cil­i­ties, but aside from break­fast – which is served di­rectly in the cab­ins – most guests pre­fer to dine in the main lodge build­ing, where the Alpine cook­ing has a Mediter­ranean in­flu­ence be­fit­ting the cul­ture-strad­dling re­gion where San Luis is based. Also note­wor­thy is the tim­ber-framed in­door pool that ap­pears to join seam­lessly with the lake and heated out­door pool. The lat­ter is par­tic­u­larly spe­cial on a snowy day, with steam ris­ing off it.

WHAT’S OUT­SIDE?

Four miles away, down the moun­tain slope, is the town of Mer­ano (Meran in Ger­man), which has a sunny mi­cro­cli­mate that drew well-heeled vis­i­tors in the days of the Aus­tro-Hun­gar­ian Em­pire. Cas­tel Trauttmans­dorff’s botan­i­cal gar­dens were a favourite of the Em­press ‘Sisi’. (from £235; san­luis-ho­tel.com)

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