We’ve all been there. Life gets hectic, time gets short, the to-do list keeps growing. As a business owner, single mom and city girl I know this all too well. Every once and so often things get especially tough and my whole body is aching for some time off. So when the opportunity rolled around to check out the Arosea Life Balance and Nature Hotel in South Tyrol, I knew I had to jump at the chance.

All the way up in the mountains, in a small village and away from the cars, the hassle and the stress lies a family run 5-star eco resort that was built with conviction, love and innovative ideas by its owners, Thomas Gerstgrasser and his wife Anne Stauder.

First impressions

The place is unlike any other resort I have been to. The first thing one can’t help but notice is the natural pond that serves as a swimming pool, without any of the chlorine. Instead of lounge chairs, inviting man-sized beanbags are waiting to offer comfort and relaxation. Small and large conifers are growing all around it, making excellent walls for the green lawn behind them – a perfect refuge for those who like keeping to themselves, reading, enjoying and just smelling the roses. On one side of the pond lie large rocks with a tiny waterfall. Across a small bridge guests can access a wooden hut that serves as one of many conceptual relaxation rooms. During the winter months there is a fire burning in here: a true safe haven from the cold.

I scanned all of these things as I first took a look from my room’s balcony – or should I say terrace? Together with the blue skies, green mountains and the lake with the most incredible rich dark turquoise color I’ve ever seen I knew right away that this would be the perfect place to be for me. Needless to say that the terrace quickly became my favorite hangout spot and not just because there happened to be a sauna on it.

In line with nature

The resort was erected entirely on the principle of botanical architecture, meaning it was built using resources that can be found in the area, mostly arolla pine wood and shale which have a positive effect on health and wellbeing. The rooms feature custom-made furniture made from pine, as well as sheep’s wool and instead of a minibar, there is a fountain with an unlimited supply of vitalising Grander-Water.

Spa Break

Not just rooms offer an oasis of peace and calm, the 2 story spa also does its fair share in providing guests with the ultimate relaxation. Steam bath fans will rejoice, since this one comes in the unusual shape of a snail house! There are 3 different saunas, 2 large hay beds, various relation rooms with differing themes, a natural plunge pool, a sound tunnel and some very interesting experience showers.

There are 3 swimming pools in total, all of which do without chlorine and are kept free from pollutant by the use of an active oxygen method. Another special perk of the pools: they are entirely filled with health-promoting Grander Water. There is a 35 degree warm heated outdoor pool doubling as whirlpool that operates all year and likely makes for a stellar end to a day out in the slopes, should you come here during winter.

Weather-permitting, there is the lake, the special center piece of the hotel which at an olympic size of 700m2 lends itself to swimming longer laps or even getting on top of the stand-up paddling board one finds here on most days.

Food, glorious food

Healthy and natural cuisine does not play the role of an extra at this resort, it’s very much the star. If you’re  a foodie like me, fine cuisine can be a direct ticket to life-affirming happiness and if I had to guess, I’d say the Arosea aims at nothing less than that. Dinners are the highlight of each day with the option of 3 different style menus guests can cross-select from.

There is the life-balance menu which aims to remain below 650 calories, the Gourmet menu which typically offers more hearty, meaty options and finally the vegetarian menu. On top of the 4 courses served here, a generous salad buffet and an always fresh and delicious cheese corner make food lover hearts beat faster. My personal favorite part was the incredible bread spread table, where from wild garlic pesto to tomato butter, there were more than 10 different spreads to have with your bread. And who doesn’t love bread?

Since I am a total snob about a wine, I can’t leave you without knowing that the Arosea offers a splendid selection of wines both served by the glass and in a bottle. My daily ritual was to request a glass of their delicious sparkling rosé from the region and drink it on my terrace before dinner started – ah, holiday bliss.

Things to do

Schwemmalm

Yes, it can be hard to leave the hotel, it’s just so cozy and homely but the cable car up the mountain is merely a 10 minute walk away, so it would be a waste not to check out the view from up top. Within 10 minutes you reach Schwemmalm which in summer is a very popular area for hikers and in winter a perfect spot to start racing down the slopes. I am no expert in the field, but I’d say the decline was fairly beginner-friendly, so if you’re new to skiing and snow-boarding I highly recommend this area.

If you have kids, by all means bring them here because the top of the passenger ropeway’s mountain station you will find two large trampolines little ones will surely appreciate. A short 10 minute walk along the hill a mountain hut called Äußere Schwemmalm awaits with delicious and affordable local fare, a good selection of wine and a lovely playground – truly a place for the whole family to enjoy a break.

Lana

South Tyrol is easily one of the most beautiful areas in Europe and I highly recommend you see as much of it as possible. If you’re not traveling by car, simply hop on the bus to Lana and Merano which leaves every hour from outside the Arosea. Within less than an hour you can explore adorable Lana, maybe have lunch at Reichhalter 1477 or check out the impressive Kränzelhof with its seven gardens.

Merano

Only a 10 minute drive past Lana lies Merano, one of South Tyrol’s bigger cities and what a charming one it is! Grab a gelato and stroll along the picturesque river, indulge in some shopping or check into the popular Terme Merano which features a whopping 15 indoor and 10 outdoor pools, most of which are heated, providing a perfect swim break in both winter and summer. There are also various saunas here and the possibility of indulging in different spa treatments, so definitely come here when you wish to have a day of really pampering yourself.

Most people coming to the Arosea are quite happy just to stay there, relax and kick back for a few days and why wouldn’t they when there is so much to enjoy here? We loved our stay and would come back in a heartbeat, though maybe next time during winter, when that sauna on the balcony will really come in handy….

 

*Disclaimer: We were kindly invited by the Arosea but as usual, all opinions expressed are my own.