As my alarm clock sounded I awoke to the darkness of an early winter’s morning. I slowly gathered my bearings as my eyes made the adjustment to the dimly lit room, before making my way over to the window to peer outside. As the overcast sky threatened the morning with an imminent downpour of rain, I trudged off with a wry smile across my face as I prepared to leave the bleak British winter time behind to embark upon my two-week European adventure. I made my last pre-holiday checks as I prepared to depart for my lift to the train station. Luggage- check; passport- check; money- check; destination- DOLOMITES!
The time had finally arrived for my European excursion. Two weeks of exhilarating exploration and adventure had me excited and eager to satisfy my yearning for wanderlust. The first leg of my journey was taking me to the Dolomites, but more specifically the Miramonti Boutique Hotel in Hafling/Avelengo, Italy. Renowned for its picturesque views and famed for its stellar reputation, the boutique hotel with the motto “Hard to find Hard to forget” had a lot to live up to and I was en-route to see if all the hype was justified.
To reach my destination I would be boarding a plane from London Heathrow to Innsbruck, from where I would take a bus to the town of Merano, before embarking on the final part of my journey via bus to Hafling/Avelengo.
Upon exiting the bus I began to make my way up the small winding road towards the hotel. As I neared the summit I could barely believe my eyes as I caught my first glimpse of the hotel surrounded by the stunning mountainous scenery. Perched upon the side of a mountain and sitting on the edge of a forest, this grand spectacle of a hotel offers breathtaking views from its lofty position over the town of Merano.
As I approached the entrance I was greeted by the concierge who relieved me of my luggage and promptly whisked it away to my room. I then made my way over to the reception desk where I was instantly made to feel welcome and promptly taken care of. After an effortless check-in was complete I chose to grab a bite to eat in the panorama restaurant as my room was being readied.
With three restaurants to choose from you will be spoiled for choice. You can expect to be presented with a vast variety of options whilst all three restaurants cater to all needs including vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free. If you’re looking for a more casual setting you can sit in Stube; this cosy, alpine, dining hall serves up traditional South Tyrol cuisine within a more relaxed atmosphere. Klassic offers a chance to sample a more traditional Italian style of food, whilst Panorama is a fine dining restaurant offering up the trump card with its spectacular views over the town of Merano set against a back drop of rare beauty. So as I was shown to my table it was time for me to relax and slip into holiday mode, as I sampled the sumptuous food I gazed out of the window upon the spectacular view whilst allowing my mind to wander off into a daydream.
Upon finishing my meal and leaving the restaurant I made my way up to my room where I was greeted with a large spacious alpine styled decor; natural materials such as wood and glass blend well together and complement the neutral colour scheme, whilst floor to ceiling glass windows make for a light, airy room. Bathrooms are spacious and are fitted with a fabulous rain shower whilst languishing at the foot of the room was a balcony with a mountainside view overlooking Merano.
The main focus and reasoning for my visit to the hotel was to disconnect from the stresses that day to day life can often throw up, so with that in mind, next up on my agenda was a trip to the spa. I grabbed my swimming shorts, threw on a bathrobe and set off to indulge in some rest and relaxation. On arrival to the spa you will firstly be greeted by the sauna and steam room so accept the invitation to step inside and work up a sweat as you cleanse your body free of toxins and ease your stresses away.
Maybe you would prefer your sauna with a view? Not a problem, a second Swedish sauna is available outside nestled upon the edge of the dense woodland offering mountain views from its floor to ceiling windows.
Once you’ve finished up in the sauna, you can take the short walk down the stairs into the courtyard where the Jacuzzi will be awaiting your arrival; located within the tranquil surroundings of the forest it will guarantee to put a smile upon your face.
Two relaxation rooms will provide you with the perfect opportunity to unwind, so lose yourself within the pages of a good book or allow yourself to drift off into a dream whilst the open fire roars away.
Make sure not to drift off for too long though as you’re going to want to pull up a seat to the best view in the house; dip your toes in the sublime infinity pool where at 1,250 metres above sea level you will feel like you have reached heaven as you marvel in the spectacular view from amongst the clouds.
Why not round off your spa experience and close out your day with a massage? With a wide variety on offer, the chance to have your troubles massaged away is too good an opportunity to let pass you by. Just make sure to book in advance at the hotels reception as time slots for treatments go quickly.
As my evening drew to a close I retired to my room, relaxed and refreshed where I stepped out onto the balcony to admire the view from underneath the stars. I went to bed that evening stress-free and without a care in the world. As I began to drift away I couldn’t help but wonder if I had stumbled across paradise.
After a good night’s sleep it was time to hit the gym before making my way down for breakfast. The hotel offers a small gym granting 24 hours access whilst you can also enjoy both yoga and Pilates classes. Breakfast is an array of home baked goods and locally sourced fresh produce with plenty of fruit and fruit juices for good measure. Local yogurts and a variety of cooked options means that you have plenty of variety to choose from.
After finishing up at breakfast I slipped into my hiking clothes, fastened up my boots, grabbed my backpack and set off map in hand on one of the many forest hiking trails. Whether you are serious about hiking or you just want to take a casual stroll there’s a route that will cater to your very needs. Maps of the many hiking trails and the hotels surrounding areas are available on request at reception. So once you have your route mapped out, set off on your own adventure whilst fully embracing the natural beauty of your surroundings along the way. The tranquil silence as you make your way through the forest provides a still calmness allowing you to believe that the world has stood still as you disappear further into a place that seems a million miles away from modern day living.
After a day’s hiking I returned as the sun began to set and darkness was beginning to fall. Without doubt, the scenery that I encountered upon my days hiking was some of the most stunning and spectacular that I have ever came across. The mountainous views, clear blue skies and clean crisp air allowed me to unclutter my thoughts and hit the reset button as I broke further away from the shackles of 21st century living and embraced the simple pleasures that life has to offer . After a quick shower and change I made my way down to one of the dining areas where every evening the hotel lays on an afternoon tea, providing food, cakes and refreshments for all guests.
Upon satisfying my hunger I decided to close out my evening with a visit to the spa and to take one last moment to enjoy the view from the infinity pool. As I stood at the edge of the pool hanging over the city below, I took the time to reflect upon my stay at this fabulous hotel wondering if the owners had managed to achieve the impossible in creating their very own Garden of Eden. As close to perfection as you’re ever going to achieve from the hotel right through to the staff, this first-class establishment is an oasis that should be on everybody’s to do list. So as I packed my bags that evening ready for an early morning departure I felt a touch of sadness as my time at The Miramonti boutique hotel was almost over. But this wasn’t the end, it was merely the beginning and that sadness was soon turned into excitement at the thought of the next destination on my travels being the capital of The Alps- over to you Innsbruck!