La Vimea Biotique Hotel
La Vimea, in Italy’s mountainous South Tyrol, is pioneering the way with it’s commitment to sustainable travel. An oasis of peace, this spa hotel is a space to relax and unwind, surrounded by clean air and stunning views of the mountain backdrop. Following a recent renovation, La Vimea has maintained the classic South Tyrolean style in the design of the building, complete with gabled roof and a balcony on every bedroom. But inside is quite different, a minimalist world of clean, natural wood and a wonderland of green in the garden.
At the heart of the property sits the natural pond swimming pool, set amongst the green meandering paths of the luscious green garden, that adds a rural feel of calm and relaxation. Loungers are scattered throughout for guests to find their own quiet space to relax, amongst the fresh mountain air.
The location of La Vimea, in northern Italy, deep in the mountains of South Tyrol, allows guests to experience diverse landscapes of mountains, valleys and lakes, and with an average of 315 sunny days, there is rarely a bad day. The closest airports are Innsbruck and Verona, or the train station in Naturno is just a 7 minute walk away.
Make sure to visit some of beautiful nearby UNESCO protected Dolomites, including the stunning Lago di Braies .
Sustainability is the driving philosophy at the heart of everything at La Vimea. Water is heated by the sun, all materials for the refurbishment came from local renewable sources and the kitchen is zero waste, reusing products and investing in durable alternatives to throw-away items.
Herbs are grown onsite, while the remaining produce comes fresh from local farmers, with the fresh, seasonal produce being used for all of the meals at La Vimea.
The 40 guest rooms and suites are all designed with a feeling of simple luxury in a clean Scandinavian finish. They have been designed in keeping with the hotel’s eco-friendly philosophy, using solid wood furnishings that have been locally sourced. The design makes use of large, spacious rooms and cooler summer nights to avoid using air conditioning.
Small details in rooms ensure your stay will be as comfortable as possible. Big, chunky gowns are available for visiting the spa or going down for a swim in the pool, the La Vimea holdall bag is ready to take care of your belongings and small chocolate bites in the room welcome your arrival.
As with the rest of the hotel, rooms are decorated in sustainable, vegan materials, from the untreated larch wood floors, Tencel bedsheets, known for their cooling properties, biodegradable mattresses and vegan, organic soaps and shampoos.
Opt for a mountain view room to wake up to wake up and enjoy the stunning mountain backdrop from your balcony each morning.
As the first vegan hotel in Italy, the food at La Vimea breaks down the stereotype of what it means to eat plants and will surely impress even it’s carnivorous guests. Included in a stay at La Vimea is the vast buffet breakfast and a lavish 5-course dinner in the evening, that at the same time remain loyal to the zero waste commitment. Menus are never the same, with a focus on seasonal ingredients that are given an Italian twist, as the chefs put together creative dishes using produce that is fresh daily. Herbs are grown fresh in the hotel garden, while the rest of the produce is sourced from local organic farmers.
Breakfast caters to everyones taste’s, from porridge and granola to chickpea frittatas and Ayurvedic lentil dhal with fresh chapatis. Buckwheat pancakes, overnight oats, chocolate cake and a fresh fruit tart baked daily. The wide range of seeds come complete with a seed grinder. Fresh fruits are waiting to be juiced and, of course, fresh Italian coffee is brewing.
Dinner begins with a small appetiser, followed by antipasti of soups, a salad-style first course, a main course and dessert. Stand outs during my stay were the broccoli and pumpkin soup, the plum, oak leaf and pumpkin salad, beetroot risotto, a fresh pasta with yellow bell pepper cream, and, having such a sweet tooth, all of the desserts; an oat apple pie, a hazelnut gel with strawberry sauce & roasted hazelnuts, and a delicious chocolate mousse balls dessert with a reduced rice milk sauce.
Food is served on the large outdoor terrace, covered by wide verandas in the warm summer sun.
Wine at La Vimea is supplied by it’s sister property, Agriturismo i Pini in Tuscany, where organic wine has been grown through biodynamic cultivation since 2013. As the wine is grown solely for the consumption of the two hotels, the priority is in making wine of the highest quality with as little impact on the soil and environment as possible. And the results are fantastic! A light white wine, two reds, one of which uses the local Sangiovese grapes, and a sweet Vin Santo. The wines are also available to purchase from both hotels for guests to take home, along with their own home produced olive oil and preserves.
The vast spa at La Vimea is complete with a Finnish sauna, an outdoor forest sauna, a bio-sauna and a multi-sensory lounge, allowing you to move between hot and cold, finding stimulation and relaxation.
The indoor pool is filled with saltwater that gives a much more pleasant experience for the skin and hair, or go for the fresh natural bathing pond. The hot stone lounge is the space to relax on cooler days. While the forest sauna is like a well-kept secret amongst the trees, a quiet space to seduce the mind and soul.
There are a range of treatments to choose from to both soothe and energise. Mindful massage, life energy treatment, lymphatic stimulation and a sound massage using the vibrations of healing bowls to relieve muscular tension, improve circulation and regulate digestion. There is a range of Ayurvedic treatments, including the option to take part in an Ayurvedic retreat with therapists who have practiced Ayurveda for many years.
Wellness & Yoga
Two large yoga rooms and an outdoor yoga deck host the weekly yoga programme. Different styles of yoga are open to both beginners as well as more experienced practitioners. Vinyasa and slow flow yoga, mindful meditation, and sound meditation, as well as a weekly forest bathing session, where guests walk to the nearby forest and experience a true escape into nature.
It doesn’t take long to notice how popular the area is with cyclists and there are a number of relaxed routes to take. More challenging trails are available for mountain biking fans. Or rent an e-bike from the hotel if you’re looking for a more vacation-style cycle.
With all of the nearby mountains, there are many great hikes to enjoy. I took the cable car from Talstation Unterstell up to Gfallwand where a panoramic look out point has been created, jutting out from the mountain, offering spectacular views over the valley. There are walks for all abilities from here, and even rock climbing and bouldering opportunities if you have your own equipment.