The ultimate hotel guide to the Italian Dolomites

Incredible food, laid-back resorts, superb snow and reasonable rates — all against the backdrop of mountains so majestic that UNESCO gave the landscape World Heritage status. If one ski region has it all, it’s the Dolomites.

By Julia Buckley
Published 7 Mar 2021, 08:00 GMT
The Church of St. Magdalena in Funes Valley, Alto Adige is surrounded by spectacular Dolomite scenery.

The Church of St. Magdalena in Funes Valley, Alto Adige is surrounded by spectacular Dolomite scenery.

Photograph by Achim Thomae

The world’s largest linked ski area, Dolomiti Superski’s whopping 760 miles of pistes are wide, perfectly groomed and generally gentle: a place to feel good about your prowess. And they look good, too, especially in the golden hour before sunset, when the mountains flush a rosy pink — towers, needles, fangs and witches’ hats, the work of friable dolomite rock, which erodes into a living sculpture. Quality and value reign, here: a superb fusion of Italian and Austrian food, cooked at family-run inns and Michelin-starred restaurants, is the norm. The Dolomites’ ski scene sprang from old farming settlements that catered to early tourists — you won’t find purpose-built resorts with piste-side chalets — so in some places there’s a quick shuttle ride to the ski lifts. That said, hotels are constantly recreating themselves, and the standard is high. And with a slew of exciting new openings, there’s never been a better time to hit these pretty pistes.

Lefay Dolomiti, Madonna del Campiglio 

Best for Wellness Warriors
Don’t despair if Lefay isn’t swaddled by snow — it was deliberately built in Pinzolo, just below Madonna del Campiglio (Trentino’s biggest ski area), to ensure easy access even in a blizzard. Nearby gondolas put you straight on piste, there’s an in-house ski-pass office, and each guest gets a locker (plus a ‘ski butler’ to handle everything you need to buy or rent from the hotel). Wallow in slick rooms with glass-walled bathrooms pitched towards the mountains, or in the enormous spa with its saunas, steam rooms, salt caves and saline floating pools. The acupressure-based massages will nip any muscle aches in the bud — this is the best kind of apres-ski. Doubles from £266, B&B. 
Ski packages: 

The spa lounge at Forestis overlooks the snowy peaks of the Dolomites.

Photograph by Forestis

Forestis, Bressanone

Best hideaway
There may be ski in, ski out access from boot room to the Plose area lifts, just 320ft away, but it’s hard to drag yourself away from this jaw-dropping hotel: a wood-clad former sanatorium plus three modern towers squaring off against the Dolomites’ craggy peaks. The two rooms and 60 suites all have that view; the Tower Suites even have balconies cantilevered over the abyss. Add in what they reckon is the world’s highest rooftop bar (at 5,905ft), a spa and a restaurant overlooking the mountains, and it’s understandable if you never make the ski lifts. Doubles from £366, half-board.
Ski packages:

Capanna Presena, Passo Tonale

Best for novice skiers
This rifugio (refuge) at 9,030ft overlooks the Presena Glacier, part of the Pontedilegno-Tonale resort, a great spot for beginners. Two cable-cars up from Passo Tonale, the former mountain hut has become a glam retreat, with eight hipster-rustic rooms plus a restaurant and small spa. Hop on the cable-car outside, and in seven minutes you’ll be on top of the glacier.
Doubles from £199, half-board.
Ski packages:

Hotel Marmolada, Corvara

Best for apres-ski
Marmolada has had a makeover for 2020: new bedrooms, a restaurant, lounge, wine cellar and wellness centre. Rooms break from traditional Dolomite style (less wood, more pops of colour); that same retro style is carried through to the bright restaurant and glass-walled lounge. There’s a ski rental outfit across the street and lifts are a short walk away. 
Doubles from £296, half-board.
Ski packages:

Adler Lodge Alpe, Ortisei

Best for ski in, ski out
One schuss from this hotel, tucked between the Val Gardena and the Sella Ronda, and you’re in the Alpe di Siusi, one of the most beautiful ski areas around. Adler’s 18 junior suites are right on the slopes; 12 chalets are stacked up behind. The indoor-outdoor panoramic pool is backed by the peaks or kick back in the oak-clad, glass-walled lodge, where everything is included. 
Doubles from £402, full-board.
Ski packages:

The Faloria Spa Resort's jade-tiled subterranean pool is the perfect place to soothe tired muscles.

Photograph by Andres Otero

Faloria Mountain Spa Resort, Cortina d’Ampezzo

Best for lovebirds
Soothe sore muscles in Faloria’s vast, jade-tiled subterranean pool, flooded with sunlight via a huge skylight. Sprawl out on mattresses in a private poolside ‘alcove’, or sit by the porthole windows in the spa and sauna above. The revamped rooms have a modern art deco look — all junior suites have been done, and classic rooms are due for the 2020 season. The older suites and deluxe rooms are more rustic, but still ooze quality. It’s two miles south of town, but there’s a free shuttle to the ski lifts and an excellent on-site restaurant. 
Doubles from £183, B&B.
Ski packages:

Hotel Càmina, Cortina d’Ampezzo 

Best for groups
This family-run hotel had a facelift last year, which raised it from a three-star to a chic four-star, yet retained its homey appeal. All 12 rooms, fragrant from their reclaimed wood fittings, have mountain views from the balconies, and there’s a peerless panorama from the top-floor spa overlooking the Tofana di Rozes mountain. The nine large suites are perfect for groups, with comfy sofa beds sleeping five. The only faff? You’re about half a mile from the ski lifts, and there’s no shuttle.
Doubles from £138, B&B.
Ski packages:  

Published in the Winter Sports 2020 guide, distributed with the Nov/Dec 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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