For travellers who seek the finest that the world has to offer

Is this the most beautiful sustainable hotel in the Italian Dolomites?

Sustainability meets style at this boutique property where wellness is facilitated through gourmet dining, restorative Celtic spa treatments and complete immersion into nature.

Forestis Dolomites may be perched among the peaks of the Italian Dolomites, but it eschews the typical kitsch alpine aesthetic for a contemporary and tactile interior design scheme that represents the property’s offering. Located in Plancios, around 19km from Bressanone (Brixon) in South Tyrol, the boutique hotel offers spa, wellness and yoga packages, two onsite restaurants, a rooftop bar, and ski-to-door access. While the mesmerising views of the snow-capped Geislergruppe massif are to die for, the most impressive feature of Forestis is its sustainability credentials.

penthouse dining room and Wyda yoga room.
Penthouse dining zone; Wyda room. © FORESTIS

History of Forestis Dolomites

Developed from the remains of a historic building, Forestis Dolomites is built within the bones of a former tuberculosis sanatorium constructed by the Austrian royals prior to World War I. It wasn’t until the property was purchased by hotelier Alois Hinteregger in 2000 that it began life as a luxe hotel and hideaway. Today, Alois’ son, Stefan Hinteregger, and his partner Teresa Unterthiner are the masterminds behind the Forestis concept. South Tyrolean architect Armin Sader was engaged to reshape the building, to add a new wing for the main facilities and three towers to house suites. The new floorplan includes a 2000-square-metre spa situated 1,800 metres above sea level with views of the UNESCO World Natural Heritage Dolomites and Puez-Odle Nature Park.

penthouse living area, tower suite bedroom.
Penthouse living area; Tower Suite. © FORESTIS

A carbon-neutral project

The reconstruction of Forestis Dolomites was a carbon-neutral project that used only locally sourced materials. The original facade of the sanatorium, the South Tyrolean wooden ceilings and the staircase were preserved and refurbished while new additions were constructed from local spruce, pine and stone. For each tree felled for fences around Forestis, two new saplings were planted, the entire property is powered by renewable energy, including a pellet heating system, and water is sourced from an artesian spring. Each room has a ‘no housekeeping’ button and for each day a guest presses it, the hotel will plant a tree.

rooftop terrace at Forestis Dolomites
Rooftop terrace. © FORESTIS

Dolomite boulders unearthed during the construction were ground down at a local mill and then mixed with water and loamy earth to create a beeswax-sealed plaster-like surface that now appears in the entrance, reception, restaurant, spa, pool, bathrooms, and spring water wells. Furthermore, the interior finishes, furniture and homewares are all supplied by local businesses or craftspeople. A local carpenter completed the furniture, the fabric for cushions, seating and carpets came from a weaving mill in Trentino, and the Italian company Viabizzuno from Bologna developed the lighting concept.

spa zone and pool at Forestis Dolomites.
Spa and private rooms at Forestis Dolomites.
Spa and private spa rooms. © FORESTIS

Zero-waste dining

While the restaurants at Forestis deliver an exquisite culinary experience, they adheres to a zero-waste policy. A garden of herbs, roots and edible flowers was planted to supply the kitchen, which is helmed by head chef Roland Lamprecht, a native of South Tyrol. Lamprecht relies on reusable food boxes to collect produce from local farmers, and his menu highlights local products against a wider selection of Italian delicacies. The zero-waste policy extends to packaging and water pollution, too.

Restaurant with mountain views.
Main restaurant. © FORESTIS
food and cocktails

100% natural plant-based products

All products found at Forestis, from in-room toiletries to spa supplies, have been developed especially for the hotel and are 100% natural and plant-based. They’re rich in natural vitamins and minerals, and feature active ingredients such as mountain pine, spruce, larch and Swiss stone pine trees.

black bar with low tables
Forestis bar. © FORESTIS

Facilities at Forestis Dolomites

  • The formal restaurant has floor-to-ceiling glazing and a tiered floorplan that affords every guest panoramic views of the landscape while enjoying an ever-changing menu.
  • The bar, lounge and terrace feature open fireplaces and mountain views.
  • The 20-metre indoor pool connects to a 22-metre outdoor pool with a treetop outlook.
  • The spa facilities include a brine steam bath, Finnish sauna, bio sauna, outdoor sauna, treatment rooms, silence rooms, gym and Wyda yoga zone.
  • Treatments include the Tree Circle ceremony, body cleansing, massage, facials and beauty treatments, all of which are informed by traditional Celtic beliefs and practices such as spiritual sounds, druidic meditation and massages with healing woods.
  • Accommodation options include rooms, suites, tower suites and penthouses.
  • Only children older than 14 may stay at Forestis, and one dog per room is welcome for a nightly fee. The hotel will supply a bed, bowl, baggies and food for an extra charge. Pampered pooches are not allowed in the spa or pool area, but there is a special restaurant section for them.
  • Activities that can be undertaken from the hotel include skiing, snowshoeing, hiking and biking.
  • Forestis Dolomites has a direct connection to the Plose ski region via a forest path that leads directly from the hotel ski room to the slopes and the valley station of the chairlift, which takes guests to the mountain station on the Plose.
lounge bar with fireplace
Forestis lounge bar. © FORESTIS

Read more:

8 of the world’s best luxury eco-lodges
The Italian ski retreat reopening as an Aman property
Top 24 ecotourism experiences around the world
An expert’s guide to responsible tourism and conservation

This article is a Signature Luxury Travel & Style digital exclusive. Be the first to see more exclusive online content by subscribing to the enewsletter.