Vigilius Mountain Resort is a unique retreat in the South Tyrolean Mountains and the perfect wellness destination in northern Italy.
As we drove to the last hotel of our stay in South Tyrol, it was growing dark. The directions from South Tyrol tourism warned us the cable car would leave on the hour. If we didn’t make it in time, we’d have to wait another hour.
Surely, there was a road as well. After all, how did they get supplies to the 41-room hotel, complete with two restaurants? If we miss the cable car, couldn’t we just drive up?
We parked our rental car in the garage beside the cable car and hauled our suitcase to the front door. It was locked. The sign, presumably with helpful instructions was in Italian and German. Andrew rang the buzzer and we listed to a message repeat in Italian. The clock was ticking ever closer to the hour.
We walked around the building and spotted a sign pointing to the back with an ‘after hours’ sign. The back door was also locked. We could see the cable car we needed to be on, we just couldn’t get to it.
Andrew phoned the hotel. Five minutes before the hour, the back door would open, hold tight, was the reply. Sure enough, the door swung open and we climbed aboard the small glass box.
I’ve never been a fan of heights and dangling over a mountain, suspended by a cord, is not my favourite pastime. As it was dark, I couldn’t even distract myself by taking photos of the mountain scenery. I may have closed my eyes and hung on for dear life, but you’ll never get me to admit it.
After the (mercifully) short, seven-minute ride, we disembarked and were greeted by members of the hotel staff. One led us up the short path to the hotel, while the other loaded our bags into a small trailer – the only vehicle on the mountain.
The Vigilius Mountain Resort is a true escape to nature. The cable car is the only way to access the hotel and the few nearby houses, 1500 metres up the mountain. People, supplies, and equipment all arrive by the same form of transportation.
The dark was a bit disorienting and we had no indication of the scenery we would experience the next morning. However, the hotel before us had a warm and welcoming glow, inviting after our chilly ascent.
Inside were the same materials that surrounded us on the mountainside, wood, stone, and wool. But here they exuded style and comfort.
Entering our spacious room, the theme continued, this time accented by wonderful details like fresh South Tyrolean apples, bath products with mountain ingredients, and a book of stories about the mountain.
Noticeably absent was a television, (not a loss for us at all). At Vigilius, nature is the entertainment.
Vigilius is a wellness resort, although it is quite unlike the two spas we visited in South Tyrol. Here, the emphasis is on enjoying nature: looking at it, walking in it, eating the gifts from it – basically being completely immersed in the mountain landscape. We couldn’t wait to see it in person.
It had been a long day, however, and it was time for dinner.
Vigilius has two restaurants, the modern, fine-dining Restaurant 1500 and the casual, traditional, Stube Ida. Both capitalise on the beautiful, local produce available throughout South Tyrol. In the off-season, the restaurants alternate open evenings so we made our way to the spot of the night, Stube Ida.
Upon entering the restaurant, we were immediately transported back to the rural farm bars we had visited on our first trip to South Tyrol. Although the restaurant is as new as the hotel itself, all of the details from the carved wooden chairs to the big ceramic heater, have been recreated here, creating a cosy, rustic atmosphere.
Looking over the menu, we saw the same, rustic, traditional dishes, highlighting local products. The difference in the menu was the clearly marked vegetarian dishes and availability of gluten-free options.
Not wanting to break our dumpling record, I opted for the cheese-press Knodel to start, while Andrew chose the blueberry Tortelli stuffed with veal, porcini and speck. Both were dumpling perfection.
For mains, I chose the venison goulash with potato rosti, cranberries, and apples. Andrew’s pick was no surprise – pork shank braised in beer with polenta and sauerkraut.
Every mouthful was delicious and we didn’t have a speck of room left for dessert.
We tumbled into our big comfortable bed and slept in blissful silence until the sun started peeking through our window. Wait a minute… sun?!
I jumped from the bed, the next morning, and woke to one of the 300 days of sun, South Tyrol had been promising us throughout our visit. On our final day in the region, she delivered. What a view to wake up to.
We washed off our slumber under our monstrous rain-shower, dressed and headed upstairs for breakfast. Neither of us was hungry after our debauchery the night before, but caffeine was calling. So was the view.
Andrew succumbed to the lure of an omelette made to order, while I was happy sampling from the huge granola and yoghurt bar.
Finally, we could see the most important feature of the Vigilius Resort – the mountains.
After breakfast, we had a quick tour of the property, including the deck, used for yoga and relaxing in the summer, the archery course, and the spa.
We decided we could spend an hour here before we had to hit the road, to test the services… for research purposes of course.
While the pool here was much small than the other spas we visited in South Tyrol, we had it entirely to ourselves. We swam outside to the Jacuzzi, surrounded by the mountains and couldn’t think of a better place to be.
One night is not nearly enough time to spend in this incredible mountain retreat. As we headed back to the cable car, we spotted signs for the network of trails, snaking all over the mountain. Here, there is no need for exercise bikes, weight machines, lap pools, or Zumba classes. The mountain and a sturdy pair of hiking boots is all you need.
Fresh mountain air, local produce, friendly people, and stunning scenery are exactly the things we love about the South Tyrol region. Here at Vigilius Mountain Resort, you can find them all and then some.
Vigilius Mountain Resort
I-39011 Lana, South Tyrol, Italy
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