Review: A slice of La Dolce Vita at Preidlhof
Earlier this summer I spent a few magical days at Hotel Preidlhof in South Tyrol in northern Italy. Built into the hillside of Naturns, enjoying a microclimate that guarantees over 300 sunny days a year, Preidlhof has spectacular views of the lush Vinschgau Valley, overflowing with orchards, vines, olive trees, a catalogue of subtropical plants and the purest mountain air.
La Dole Vita
Preidlhof’s wellness philosophy is very much in sync with the famed Mediterranean La Dolce Vita, where days can be as gentle or demanding as you wish, with yoga, Nordic walking, biking or swimming in the morning, followed by your prescribed treatments and some quiet time in the numerous super comfy relaxation zones. Most people visit to lose weight, get fit, relax and recuperate.
Traditional South Tyrol meets contemporary sleek in the guest rooms with a recent €6 million upgrade of 41 of the 70 guest suites. The new Scandi-style suites feature hot tubs and glass-fronted saunas on the terraces, while the penthouse suites have whirlpools and mini outdoor cinemas. The award-winning Dream Well Suite featuring a highly complex ceiling element designed to minimize reverberation time and echo in the room, thereby creating the optimal conditions for restful sleep (based on results from numerous scientific studies). Touchpad-controlled colour LEDs simulate sunrise and sunset.
Preidlhof Wellness Offerings
Where to start? If you choose to venture beyond over 5000m²of spa facilities with an expansive menu of face, body, doctor-led medical and Ayurvedic therapies, swimming pools (5 outdoor, 1 indoor pool and 6 whirlpools) and six floors of dedicated sauna and steam experiences, you can also enjoy daily yoga, functional fitness sessions, kettle bells, ropes, HITT, TRX and acronyms by the dozen to tone and mould every muscle. For a wholesome taste of the outdoors there are guided Nordic walks, hiking and biking (both electric and mountain bikes) or you may choose to whizz around the vineyards, orchards and local villages on a classic canary-yellow Vespa.
The medical diagnostics are led by Dr. Angerer and focus on tailored assessment and treatment plans including the complete Preidl Medi-Check, Vital Age & Rejuvenation and genetic screening, amongst others. The computerized state-of-the-art HRV measurement gives a fascinating insight into the overall state of your body as it analyses the energy efficiency of the heart and its ability to regulate overall stress and body function. A series of treatments and natural supplements will be prescribed based on outcomes.
The Spa Tower
Timeless thalassotherapy meets cutting-edge technology in the new Spa Tower featuring 16 steam and sweat areas with the most extensive range of relaxation pods and experiences I have ever encountered, including the trailblazing Deep Relaxation Zone that brings chilling to a new level. The eucalyptus and mango-infused steam and shower zones are a must as is the meticulously contrived daily theatrical sauna ceremonies with a certified sauna master. The rooftop pool and hot tub is the spot for magical stargazing at the day’s end.
The freshest and finest quality ingredients bursting with local herbs and Mediterranean spices are the best alarm clock one could wish for! The hotel's gourmet cuisine was awarded two Gault-Millau toques and one Michelin star. From superfood smoothies and the coolest vitamin-infused slushie machine to a colourful menu of seasonal fruits, home made yoghurts, home baked breads lathered in local butter (its own mini menu here!), home-made honey and jams from their fruit orchards and an enticing choice of local meats and cheeses - that’s just for breakfast! Lunch is very much as you wish with much of the above plus an irresistible menu of pastries (the apple strudel is the best ever and always at the ready), while dinners include succulent mountain lamb, home created pasta dishes, numerous vegetarian choices and a menu of sorbets, ice creams and home cooked pastries.
A lighter calorie-controlled Vital menu is available for guests on a Detox or Weightloss programme, served in a separate dining area.
My Preidlhof experience was well beyond initial expectations in every way. This is not said lightly, as I have been fortunate enough to visit some glorious spas in pristine locations, and this haven in the South Tyrolean mountains is up there with the best. That warm nurturing feel comes in part from the resort being family run – as in my opinion many medispas are overly minimalist and clinical - but Preidlhof has a soul and to me that speaks volumes. The staff couldn’t have been more helpful and considerate and attention to every detail was assured, from the spa to the saunas, restaurant and beyond. In essence, my stay was time just for me, with a healthy fusion of movement, fresh air, rest and pure soul nourishment. What more do we need?
Top Tips: Ensure you have enough time to just be still in the numerous relaxation areas – both poolside and in spa tower, as we now know that herein lies the path to balance. I didn’t get to try the relaxation pods in the indoor Fifties pool area but those in the Spa Tower and poolside are amongst the best I have come across. Schedule time in your day to enjoy the thermal experiences in the Spa Tower. Remember that locals generally like to bare all in the saunas so if you are not ready for this, time your visits during the quieter periods of late morning or early afternoon.
Room for Improvement: The Preidlhof’s website does the property little justice (hence my initial expectations) so just use it as a guide; guest bath towels in bathrooms were small, thin and lacking in coziness and recycled water bottles would be a lovely touch for guests to carry through the day refilling at the numerous water fountains and elderflower and lemon-infusion stations, and of course to keep as a momento.
Not for: Those always-on Bootcamp types who need a more rigid type of routine to push themselves beyond their natural limits. This said, folk like these need it most!
Will I return; A big bold YES!
Getting there: Transfers can be arranged from Innsbruck Airport in Austria (2 hours) or Verona Airport in Italy (21/2 hours). Preidlhof offers a free shuttle service from Naturns Train Station.
Cost: The UK-based health resource Healing Holidays offers a 4-night deal, inclusive of meals and some treatments from £1,150 (€1,290) per person sharing.