Being in the mountains is a bit like therapy for me, and I don’t even need to speak to anyone about anything. I have developed a habit of running away to them when I need a reminder of the things that really matter in life. But really, I’d take any excuse.

The second part of my week in South Tyrol last month led me to Sexten (yeah, not kidding), a picturesque town on the outskirts of the Dolomites in South Tyrol and an ideal starting point for hikers, cyclists, spa lovers, nature lovers… you get the idea.

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The joys of getting lost

I stayed at the incredible spa hotel Bad Moos (more on that gem later!) for two days and hiked towards the famous Three Peaks Refuge after my arrival. Now if you’re all by yourself, haven’t exactly brought your best pair of hiking boots and don’t start before 9am, chances are you won’t (or shouldn’t) quite make it there in one day. You still get some stunning views by doing a five-hour hike to the Dreischusterhütte instead. I walked through forests, over streams, on actual rocks, forgot about my map-reading skills (did I ever have them?) and was so close to shouting on top of my lungs for hours on end, which no one would have heard anyway, so I didn’t. Rock’n’roll.

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Then an elderly couple quite literally came to my rescue. We had met at the beginning of the route, had a little chit-chat and then I overtook them. When I got lost and sat on the middle of the road, I suddenly heard some familiar voices and there they were again – confidently pointing me towards the right direction. They came all the way from Germany to find a particular yellow flower … which they didn’t in the end. So sad! But the hike still was a success, and they inspired me to not only look stare up into the universe daydreaming, but to also pay a little more attention to the lovely things that are growing and blossoming on the ground. I’ve heard that also prevents you from falling over too much, so… good call!

The day after, I cycled up to Toblacher See in the Alta Pusteria Valley. I haven’t seen any pictures of the lake beforehand, so I wasn’t prepared to see the most stunning of colours. When a thousand shades of turquoise suddenly appeared behind the woods, I genuinely struggled to believe this was real and my eyes filled with tears (a classic). It took ten minutes until I recovered from the most beautiful of all shocks, then walked around the lake, held my feet into the flipping ice-cold water, collected some stones and took 200 photos of the same motive. It was probably the first time I gave actual mountain biking a go, and it was also the first time I fully understood the purpose of these bikes. It’s oh so much fun to half-jump over rocks, speed down hills and fall into the grass of pure exhaustion, I’m tellin’ ya!

The hotel

Speaking of bliss: the Sport- und Kurhotel Bad Moos is located in between the peaks of the Dolomites. You can spot them from every window, which easily sets it ahead pretty much any other hotel in the area. It has got a special health certificate and also specialises in Sulfur water, which is great for your blood circulation, immune system, metabolism, skin – and overall wellbeing.

The whole place is the perfect balance of sports (exhaustion) and pampering (paradise). Opening the balcony doors every morning and breathing in the mountain air made me wish this was home, and taking a daily nap in the cosy relaxing rooms was rather surreal.

The pampering

So. When you’ve spent the whole day climbing up rocks, braving cold streams or cycling through the valley, coming home to a spa and sauna session is the best thing. I checked out the “Vapour bath”, which is 30 minutes of chilling out at 45°C with 100% humidity. There’s new steam being blown into your face all the time and I actually contemplated running out of the cabin because the combination of heat and humidity were so intense. For a second, I felt like I was back in Beirut (minus the traffic!), but clearly my body needed a bit of detox.

The “manager massage” (Manager! Haha! I wish!) followed straight after and sorted my back right out. It was a little painful (in a healthy way), and that’s where you realise “sports hotel” really means business. Phew! Other then the sauna, there’s a beautiful outdoor pool with mountain view, a relaxing room that looks like an ancient palace, a hay bath (apparently a very romantic thing to do I’ve been told), and a bunch of beauty treatments that have that certain Dolomites mountain feel (or smell) to them.

The experience

If you haven’t been convinced by now, the quality of the food really makes it pretty clear that we’re talking about five stars here. The staff is extremely attentive and knowledgeable, and will do everything to make sure you’ll have an unforgettable time. The people who I’ve spoken to are also serious mountaineers and can give you advice on all things directions and sports, while you’re having the best chanterelle risotto ever or sipping away a Chardonnay.

Bad Moos the perfect place to do some bonding or celebrate a special occasion, and ignore that there is such annoying thing as Mondays or to-do-lists. And Bad Moos isn’t like any other luxury hotel, the mountains are on its side. Just let them do their thing.

Thank you Bad Moos for inviting me to do some exploring 

and for leaving me speechless on numerous occasions!

All photographs taken by Caroline Schmitt and Kurhotel Bad Moos