vigilius mountain resort

nr Merano, South Tyrol, Italy Book from

Super-cool eco-retreat in Italy’s South Tyrol, mixing über architecture, frosted Alpine peaks and a spa with altitude
In the 7 minutes it takes to whoosh up the mountain (a cable-car is the only way to go), you will feel reborn. On a Vigiljoch summit, a mile above the Ultimo Valley, the air is crisp, clean and scented with pine forest; the views are sensational, ice-capped Dolomites seen from green (or snowy) alpine slopes. And for once, the contemporary hotel is a perfect match for the landscape.

Designed by Milan-based architect Matteo Thun, it’s straight out of the pages of Wallpaper*: a 21st-century take on the Tyrolean lodge, with two decks of rooms housed in low rectangles of glass, clad in horizontal bars of larch. Inside, all is crisp clean-cut geometry and warm earth colours, big vistas and glittering quartz striped with sunlight and shade. From the huge cow hide sofas in the lobby, travel along runways of gallery-like space to the piazza, and on to the spa with a springwater infinity pool. Wander up to the panorama terrace and watch the sunset or the dawn. Like all proper resorts, everything you need is right outside the door.


  • An exercise in holistic ‘ecotecture’, this linear building is a work of art
  • Hanging out in the piazza – the sunken, sunlit courtyard at Vigilius' heart, lined with plush red sofas
  • Bathing in the spa’s frothy al fresco hot tub under a blue sky or a canopy of snowy pines – absolute bliss
  • Two excellent restaurants: choose between haute cuisine and rustic Tyrolean fare
  • No roads, no traffic, just the distant sound of cow bells – a complete escape


  • Prepare to feel isolated - but you do get unlimited use of cable car and chair lift during your stay
  • If you are expecting a typical Italian ambiance, you may be surprised: South Tyrol is bilingual Italian-German, with scenery more reminiscent of Austria
  • If you don't like minimalism, you may find the interiors a bit pared down

Best time to go

Unlike some Alpine resorts, this is an all-year destination and South Tyrol claims 300 days of sunshine per annum. Come in summer to escape the Italian heat, in winter for the snow, in spring for flowers and in autumn crisp clear days, cool nights and warm sunshine.

Great for...

Great Outdoors
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Spa Hotel
  • 41 rooms and suites
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Indoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available


The hotel’s 35 rooms are classed as Superior and Deluxe, though the only real difference between the two is the views. Both offer 36 sq.m. of cool designer space, furnished in an unfussy Nordic style big on wood floors and natural materials.

Each has an entrance vestibule with storage space, a sleeping area with kingsize Orizzonti bed, armchairs, desk, and a bathroom tucked behind a low wall of textured concrete. The whole thing is more or less open-plan, except for a glassy shower cubicle and a separate space-age loo. There's no TV - enjoy the views instead (or ask for one to be brought to your room from reception if you must).

Every room has a bit of outdoor space (balconies on the first floor, terraces on the ground), a dash of warm colour (red upholstery and stripes of orange lighting) and amazing alpine views.

The slightly cheaper Superiors are mostly on the ground floor; ours (211) got the sunlight filtered through a curtain of larch foliage, making it very private. Floor-to-ceiling windows maximise the views, but the coy might want to pull the drapes to after sunset. The largely first-floor Deluxes look out either to the jagged peaks of the Dolomites or the mountains above the Ultimo Valley. The Dolomite view - particularly beautiful at dawn and dusk on a clear day – is worth paying extra for.

Irrespective of the views, the rooms manage to mix clean-cut modern with cosy comfort zone, and we loved the sense of space, the quality of light, the leather chairs in the Deluxe rooms, and the timber clad bath tubs designed by Matteo Thun.

There are also 6 Suites: very similar in layout and design, but with twice the space (72 sq.m.), half of it given over to a living-dining area furnished with plush sofas and rustic Tryolean tables and chairs.

All rooms and suites are equipped with internet connection (ask for a cable at reception), luxury bath robes and slippers (for padding around between the room and the spa), soft white-clad duvets (one per person), toiletries, minibar and blankets (use them as a wrap while staring at mountains, or pine trees, on a chilly evening on the terrace).

Features include:

  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Hairdryer
  • Internet access
  • Internet access
  • Ipod dock
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Toiletries


There are 2 places to eat, both housed in a chalet-style wing, a remodelled 18th-century stable that has been incorporated into the new building. The posher of the two, Restaurant 1.500, is on the glassy upper level and has fab views, while the more folksy, stube-style Ida Parlour is on the ground floor, with tables spilling out onto a wide sunny terrace.

For a special treat, book a table at Restaurant 1.500 and expect candlelight, linen-clad tables, fine wines and impeccable service. The food is Mediterranean inspired, light, fresh and surprisingly seafoody for somewhere so far inland. From the a la carte menu, we chose from duck and crab dishes, fennel polenta, pork, game and (as testament to the chef’s spirit of adventure) fish cooked in a sweet beetroot sauce. The restaurant also caters for vegetarian and gluten-free diets.

Downstairs, the less expensive Ida Parlour is cosier, more rustic and less formal, with wood panelling, Heidi chairs, bow-tied gingham at the windows and a blue-tiled stove; perfect for wintry evenings. The food here is South Tyrolean with a dash of traditional Italian. The menu includes soups, generous salads, pasta (lamb shoulder with papardelle, for example) and inexpensive wines served by the glass (or the carafe). The Ida Parlour also does light lunches and afternoon teas, cakes, coffees.

Breakfast, served in Restaurant 1.500, is a buffet-style banquet of fresh fruit and vegetable juices, cereals, breads and pastries, hams and local cheeses, as well as a variety of hot dishes to order.

Complimentary afternoon teas are served in the piazza in the afternoons.

If you want a change of scene, take the chairlift up to the mountain-top where there’s a cheerful bar-restaurant with a terrace overlooking the valley; or take the cable car down to Lana where there are restaurants, cafes and patisseries.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Activity: Merano


  • Hang out in the spa – the mountain-view infinity pool, the steamy indoor-outdoor whirlpool and the go-naked sauna and "vapour" room

  • Book a luxury treatment– the basics are a Vigilius body massage and facial but there are dozens more to choose from: Shiatsu, Watsu and the more unusual Hay Bath or Apple Polenta Peeling

  • Make use of the hotel’s daily programme of supervised exercise sessions (you will find a list in your room) which might include Nordic walking, yoga, pilates, mountain bike tours, archery or a “Torso Intensive”. All these activities are offered at no extra cost

  • Hop on the chairlift, and glide up the mountain where there are woodland walks, exhilarating views and, in winter, the Vigiljoch ski slopes - ideal for beginners and improvers (the hotel’s instructor is a former Italian downhill ski champion)

  • Among winter sports on offer at Vigilius, try snow-shoeing, cross-country or Alpine skiing and hiking

  • The hotel can arrange paragliding sessions, tours of the vineyards at nearby Merano and supercar hire (go for a Ferrari) among other activities

  • Take the cable car down to Lana where there are good shops, cafes and restaurants

  • From Lana, explore the surrounding Val d’Adige, the Val d’Ultimo and the thermal spa town at Merano (8km)

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Hiking
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Skiing
  • Trekking
  • Well being
  • Yoga


Children are welcome though there’s not a lot for them to do here, and it's worth bearing in mind that the architect Matteo Thun set out to create a "luxury playground for adults".

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

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