BY Lisa Lindblad
November 7, 2011
I have just returned from an annual travel conference which affords a selective group of travel designers to connect with an equally interesting array of travel providers of hotels, camps, cruises and journeys. I pride myself on staying up to date with new resources – newly opened camps, refurbished lodges and hotels, repurposed private houses, boats and villas. But the world is wide and the creativity abroad is stunning, both in terms of the properties that are constantly coming on line as well as in terms of the conceptualization of the experience the owners hope to provide. The most exciting options, to me, are those lodges and guest houses that are as close to owner operated as possible, that have a clear vision of their purpose, that sing of their own soul, soul that I define as intimacy, simplicity, quirkiness, and an aesthetic that celebrates locality and the hand of the maker. Over the next few days I will show you some of my favorites; all of them resonated with me. Each called me to come and put down the burdens of the times, to enjoy landscapes, human warmth and quiet.
San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge is a 16th century chalet located in the Val Pusteria just on the fringes of the Dolomite chain in Northern Italy. Owned and operated by Stefano and his talented wife, Giorgia, this 4 bedroom lodge has been lovingly restored with hand carved interiors, and has been furnished with lovely antiques, natural textiles and all the amenities one would expect in a luxury property. But here you are a world away in a landscape of meadows and woods that afford walks and hiking, snowshoeing and skiing, rock climbing, berry picking, mushroom gathering, rafting. The elegant lodge has a “vital” coach, who offers personal counseling for health and well-being, mountain massages, gentle exercise, and meditation.
The property is rented only on an exclusive use basis; the minimum number of guests is four and the maximum, 10. I cannot imagine anywhere more fun for a family to spend a week in winter or summer – a Heidi summer – with children of any age. And because Stefano and Giorgia are on property, the days can be tailored to meet any interest, from cooking classes to wine tastings and visits to the best South Tyrol cheese dairies to mountain villages. San Lorenzo is coziness personified, my idea of heaven!