[Photo: Preidlhof Romantic Suite Love Terrace. Credit: James Bedford Photographer.]

What often makes us long for vacation time is a desire to slow down, unwind and finally focus on ourselves and our needs, physical and mental. That’s at the core of the philosophy behind the Hotel Preidlhof, a ‘DolceVita Resort’, where the ‘Dolce Vita’ isn’t just a marketing ploy – life does feel sweeter during a stay at this luxury hotel in Naturns, South Tyrol, an area of Italy that is a paradise for nature lovers and active travelers.

My overly stressed self recently checked into the Preidlhof, hoping to let go of daily apprehensions and recharge. The location and ambiance facilitate the transition into a more mellow mood. Built into a hillside, with beautiful views of the mountains, the structure is surrounded by apple orchards, typical of the Vinschgau Valley, vines, olive trees and subtropical plants. Inside, the elegant design and soft atmosphere contribute as well to the feeling of tranquility, enhanced by the homey touch of the attentive owners, the Ladurner family, and staff.

Last winter, Hotel Preidlhof underwent a €6M refurbishment which saw the addition of 41 suites with outdoor living rooms. I stayed in one of the new suites, the spacious (63 square meters!) Romantic Dream suite, which included 21 square meters of outdoor area complete with private whirlpool , day bed (yes, that’s right) and sun loungers. Not only was it hard to leave the hotel with all the treats on offer, it was hard to even leave my room!

[Photo: Preidlhof Private Suite Romantic Dream. Credit James Bedford Photographer.]

But I made sure I did so I could enjoy and benefit from the 5,000 square meters of spa and wellness facilities. Recently named “Best Hotel Spa of Italy” by the European Health and Spa Award, the Preidlhof will more than please spa fans, with its six-floor Spa Tower, which features 16 different sauna, steam and relaxation spaces. Cherry on the cake: the outdoor infinity sky pool with exceptional views on the top floor.

[Photo: Preidlhof Spa Tower Rooftop Pool. Credit James Bedford Photographer.]

To experience the holistic wellbeing philosophy of the Preidlhof, I tried some of their signature treatments. I especially loved the Five-Element Facial Treatment and the Preidl Lift Up.

The facial is based on the “Phytobiodermie Method”, a holistic beauty treatment with roots in traditional Chinese medicine; because our skin condition reflects how well we feel, the natural essential oils and ingredients used for the treatment (by Swiss brand Phyto5) are individually selected based on skin condition and type. I have never been fond of facials, but, after this very pleasant 80-minute treatment which included relaxing massage techniques and biorhythmic stimulation, I was hooked; and my skin did feel and look so much better.

[Photo: Beauty cabin at the Preidl MedSpa. Credit Hotel Preidlhof.]

The Preidlhof Lift Up treatment is quite unique as well. Based on the teachings of Maximilian Huber, its aim is to relieve the pressure on the intervertebral discs and improve supply to the organs through special stretches and massages; this treatment is personally tailored as well because the therapist makes sure to diagnose the weaknesses and problem areas of the spinal column and then proceeds with releasing muscular tensions accordingly. Following the treatment, my back and neck, which are often tense given the many hours spent in front of the computer, felt loosen, and, with them, my mind as well – it had helped me let go of psychological tensions too.

Surely, another good way to let go of tensions is to experience the natural beauty of the area surrounding the Preidlhof. In the reception area, you will find the ‘Active Concierge Service’, a large counter covered with binders full of suggestions on things to do. Hiking and biking are the most popular activities in the area, which is in the Texel Group Nature Park, the largest natural park in South Tyrol. The Preidlhof offers 12 guided biking tours in different ability groups and 4 guided hikes every week.

[The Preidlhof is located in Naturns, in the beautiful Vinschgau Valley of South Tyrol. Credit Hotel Preidlhof.]

It is also easy to explore on your own as hiking trails depart right outside the hotel, with opportunities for running and Nordic walking in the Nature Fitness Park of Naturns. I also enjoyed the  Vinschgau Valley cycling path, part of the ancient Roman road Via Claudia Augusta, which traverses the valley for 80 km from Resia to Merano along the Adige river, among apple orchards, with beautiful mountain views. (Hiking and biking will, by the way, help you build an appetite for the seven-course dinner at the hotel’s one-Michelin-starred restaurant!)

My stay at the Preidlhof ended way too soon. But what did not end were the feelings of relaxation, renewed energy and a newfound awareness about the importance of holistic wellbeing, precious 'memories' to bring home. 

How to get there:

For international travelers, transfers can be arranged from Innsbruck and Verona airports. If you are traveling by train, a free shuttle is available from the Naturns train station.

For more information and to book your stay, visit the Hotel Preidlhof’s website.