SOUTH TYROL, ITALY
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.
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)