A Serene Winter Escape
Imagine a place where true serenity still exists. A place with no mobile signals, no distraction by televisions, no access by cars, and even often no Internet. A place surrounded by towering mountains dipped in pristine snow and incredible panoramic views of the Dolomites. Yet a place where you have access to all creature comforts, award winning designed rooms and most importantly for any ski trip or winter escape, immediate access to the ski slopes. We were lucky to call this peaceful spot at Zallinger on the Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi in the Italian Alps for our snowboard trip our home for a week.
Sadly Jerome’s father had not been able to join us for our stay in winter wonderland at Zallinger due to his work commitments, but that did not deter us from taking a break without him. Jerome wanted to learn snowboarding and I was looking forward to re-discover and practice my skill on the snowy hills of the Dolomites. At first I had been skeptical about being in a remote hotel, literally cut off from the world and only accessible by ski lift, on foot or via the Zallinger mountain taxi – a bulldozer like vehicle with caterpillar tracks used to climb the snow covered and at times icy mountain roads.
Getting There is Fun!
However, getting there is part of the fun of staying at Zallingers, and Jerome and I got rather excited after a tedious drive from Germany to the Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi in South Tyrol. Climbing into this red taxi, more like some exploration vehicle than the normal kind, we might have well boarded a space ship, taking us to a different planet. We were not the only late arrivals that day, and an Italian family joined us for our adventurous ride up the steep mountain slope. Beppi, our driver took great care of us as we quickly climbed the hillside. Sadly the world around us was already doused in darkness, but the brightness of the snow glowed beneath the dark outlines of fir trees.
A Stylish Mountain Retreat
After a few minutes in our snow taxi we could see the lights of Zallinger and its little chapel glow up high above, like stars in the sky. Moments later we received a warm welcome from the owners upon reaching the mountain huts at Zallinger. The hotel consists of the main building which houses some traditional style rooms and four modern huts, a recent addition, each containing spacious rooms with an intriguing style. The stylish mountain retreat was built using natural materials, including pine wood that will weather with time under nature’s elements.
Family Friendly Rooms
A number of these rooms are especially family friendly with a platform under the eaves, offering additional space for a double bed, a fun mountain cave for two “little cubs” to spend the nights after tiring but exciting days on the snowy slopes. However Jerome preferred to share our stylish bedroom area with me, a rare treat that only ever happens when he was ill before.
Delicious Local Dishes
Zallinger offers half board like many other hotels in the area, however due to its remote location, it is mandatory to book breakfast and evening meal for the entire stay. When taking half board I am always worried about the lack of choices for dinner, but I should not have done. The daily three-course meal offered plenty of options and the cooks were happy to consider the odd alternate request in case of fussy child and adult eaters. Jerome largely joined me on the three courses every night during our stay and the food was prepared with local and seasonal ingredients and contained a variety of regional dishes. We were seated in the dining room between a lovely German couple and their two friends, all equally keen skiers and we enjoyed our morning and evening banters with them.
Card Games in the Cosy Bar and Lounge Area
After dinner we either retreated to our rooms, if we were too tired, or the bar, where Jerome watched football matches and I used the erratic wifi to try and have a brief contact with the outside world and his Dad back home in Germany. Sometimes we played card games in the cosy lounge by the fireplace. Over time we got to know some of the other families, including two who had made the long trip all the way from the US to Zallinger and the Seiser Alm to go skiing and snowboarding. Admittedly, both had lived in Europe before, however they claimed that their ski trip in the Alps was cheaper, despite the long flights and hire car journeys. Obviously they also like the charming mountain villages and the world-class ski slopes of the Italian Alps.
Fun Activities On The Snowy Slopes
Stepping out of Zallinger, you will not only find a demanding ski piste, little ones and adults alike will love the winding sledge run and the long snow hiking trails that crisscross the mountainside. Snowshoes may also be hired for adventurous winter sport fans for wanders through the untouched high snowy slopes of the Dolomites.
One Disadvantage For Us!
Zallinger proved to have one disadvantage for us, Jerome did not yet know how to head down the ski slope on a snowboard! After a few failed attempts on the first morning we just unfastened our ski boots and used our snowboards as sledges down the hill – a fantastic fun ride down. We even did this on the following days on proper sledges, until Jerome was comfortable enough to slide downhill on his snowboard upright. Each day we would ask Beppi to take our snowboards to the car park, where he would leave them in a small storage hut until we had raced down into the valley on our sledges.
Getting up the hill to Zallinger in the late afternoon was easy, we would catch one of the last lift runs to the Williamshuette and then shuffle on to our peaceful mountain retreat in time for our daily, magical sunsets. Initially we used the bus to get into Compatsch for the easy ski slope and Jerome’s ski lesson, later on, we were able to use the lifts and ski slopes to move across the Seiser Alm/Alpe di Siusi region.
We Will Return!
We both left our hearts at Zallinger upon leaving this peaceful mountain retreat, and the charm and family atmosphere created by Luisa and Markus, the owners, and the entire staff. We immediately missed them after our departure from the Seiser Alm/Alpe di Suisi and hopefully we will be able to return soon as a whole family. I am sure we will all without doubt fall in love with its incredible location surrounded by the Dolomites mountains and snow covered slopes.
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