Nature is the key to Hotel Saltus

7 August 2023
Written by
Sara Magro

An eco retreat by the largest larch plateau in Europe

Inspired by the surrounding pristine environment, three women, Hedwidge and her two daughters Nadja and Claudia Mumelter, turned their dreams into reality when in 2019 decided to finally open their hotel with the ultimate mission: allow their guests to live and experience the true magic of the Dolomites. 

Fuelled by personal interests in wellbeing, they ideated an eco structure with meticulous attention to design that recalls the outdoors. The materials are locally sourced, such as stone and larch whereas the colours have been picked to reflect outdoor elements for example the pink of the porphyry, the grey of the Dolomites and of the clouds and the shades of green of the forest. Separating the inside from the outside are large windows so as not to miss even a minute of the mesmerising spectacle that takes place outside: larch tree branches that gently dance away in the wind, sun rays that pierce fiercely through the woods, the light of dawn and dusk and the starry night sky.  

Hotel Saltus is the first eco-hotel in the area of San Genesio

Social spaces such as the infinity pool and the lobby alternate with more intimate ones such as the rooms (only 26, including 5 suites) in lime and clay with the scent of larch and a sauna built in the farthest point of the hotel scented with meadow flowers harvested above 1100 metres above sea level, where pollution is reduced by 90%. 

Here you breathe pure mountain air – as you would during forest bathing, a meditative practice that takes place among the trees as a way of stilling the mind and energising the body. You walk barefoot to ground down with the earth, you meditate and you practise various exercises to activate all of the senses such as counting how many different birds there are by distinguishing their song. “We are on the largest larch plateau in Europe”, says Nadja, who takes care of the hotel’s retreat department. “We consider the forest an art gallery and ourselves as its curators. All we do is give our guests the frame for them to intuitively observe and select the part of nature they wish to focus on”.  

One of the rooms

Holistic health and healthy cuisine are the core pillars of hospitality of these three South Tyrolean women who transform the quietude of the place into a tool for practising a more conscious and responsible lifestyle towards oneself and the environment. The chosen method is simple with the guidance of great professionals, such as the homoeopath and psychologist Heike Böttcher, now part of the team.

What’s new is the Fastingprogramme under the guidance of the specialist Monika Malfertheiner and the Relaxation Program, which provides two free activities a day, such as holistic practices, painting and healthy cooking courses. This program is available to all guests included in the price of the stay.

The view from the lounge at Hotel Saltus, in San Genesio

In the kitchen they work with local farmers and use everything the area offers. For example pizza dough is made with ancient mountain grains and the topping varies according to the season (try the purple asparagus variety in spring). The mozzarella comes from Amo, a dairy in the neighbourhood that sells exceptional buffalo milk cheeses.

The novelty this Summer is the new stube, the typical dining room of the Dolomites, where they serve grandmother’s recipes. It’s a limiting choice, but it forces you to research the history of local gastronomy and rediscover ancient dishes such as spleen in broth and veal’s head by Nadja and Claudia’s grandma Traudl. Saltwater fish is banned here, occasionally char, trout and other freshwater fish are found.

The family cares so much about the environment that they offer a 5% discount on the room rate to those who choose to reach the hotel by public transport rather than drive. It’s actually very simple: the train arrives at the station of Bolzano, the capital of the region and well connected with Milan, Venice, Florence and Rome, and from there you take the cable car or the bus which in 10/15 minutes will arrive at San Genesio. 

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