YOU MIGHT ASSUME all mountainside resorts on the cusp of the Dolomites are rustic lodgings roughly-hewn from the surrounding wilderness. But as we discovered this fall Romantik Hotel Turm turns such Alpine clichés on their head. And it does so in such a way that you may pine for spying a Picasso as much as a cozy woodfire on your next mountain vacation.
Once a 13th-century tower in the medieval hamlet of Völs am Schlern (also known as Fiè allo Sciliar), Romantik Hotel Turm is a stylish oasis of adventure, culture and wellness under the shadow of South Tyrol’s most emblematic peak.
In this review, we uncover the special qualities that make Romantik Hotel Turm a 5-star jewel for anyone considering exploring the Dolomites of South Tyrol.
A Style All Its Own
At one time a defensive fortification, courthouse and even a prison, Romantik Hotel Turm retains much of its medieval architecture, but is enriched dramatically by the personality of owner Stefan Pramstrahler. The retreat is like a living, breathing canvas for his many passions.
He has beautifully paired the rich history of the property with gardens, terraces and an onsite restaurant where he also happens to lend his culinary magic. As head of the kitchen, Mr. Pramstrahler leads a talented team in creating dishes showered by decades of accolades from famed international gourmet guides such as Gault Millau and the Aral Schlemmer Atlas.
He also brings to life Romantik Hotel Turm’s own line of premium wines. At the Grottnerhof wine estate located just 10 minutes from the hotel, Mr. Pramstrahler channels the winery’s 800-year-old beginnings into four distinct wines noted for their purity and strong character.
But guests need not feel restricted to these beauties. The hotel’s cellar also boasts finds from some of the most celebrated wineries in the world.
Bliss for the Eyes & Soul
Even more unique than Romantik Hotel Turm’s historic halls, fine cuisine and wines are the adornments of the hotel. It is a veritable museum. Where the charms of ages past converge with the charisma of modern-day.
Meticulously unveiled throughout the rooms, vaulted corridors and lush grounds lies a world-class art collection, including everything from a Picasso to Otto Dix to bewitching works of art from Hans Kompatscher, a South Tyrolean self-taught painter.
The 2,000+ pieces of art and religious relics gracing Romantik Hotel Turm did as much for our eyes and soul as the hotel’s sweeping view of Schlern.
But as vast as the hotel’s art collection is, the passion for art may be rivaled by Mr. Pramstrahler’s adoration for the winged spirit. Walking through the hotel it becomes immediately apparent his love for birds goes far beyond the regaled Red Eagle of South Tyrol.
From the hotel’s wine labels to the names of suites to caged decor and more, the artful embrace of the feathered elevated our Romantik Hotel Turm experience. We found their peaceful presence an inspiring reminder to blissfully flee from the demands of daily life during our stay.
Romantik Hotel Turm gorgeously spreads its accommodations among five towers. Each of the 42 rooms within the towers bears its own distinct personality. Our suite, in the Falkenturm (Falcon Tower), echoed the artistic flair of the tower’s winding staircase and medieval-inflected hallways.
Impeccably designed, we were struck by the modern take on Alpine tradition, as well as the view of the prehistoric Peterbühl hill crowned by the 14th-century St. Peter Chapel from our suite’s balcony. The spacious room was complete with Alpine-chic furnishings and touches such as reclaimed oak flooring, plush forest green accents, antler-mounted lamps and snow-white armchairs cozied up next to a fireplace.
The bed looked as if it had sink-in comfort that invites deep sleep. But our favorite feature of the room was the double shower enclosed by stone and glass.
Each morning a floor to ceiling window in the shower gave us a view of the sun rising above the peaks of Schlern. Watching the mountain awaken under the hues of dawn is a sight to remember.
A Wellspring of Wonder & Wellness
However, no surprise, our relaxation during our stay day did not end with a morning shower. The ancient walls of Romantik Hotel Turm’s spa complex reveal everything from seductive nooks inspiring calm to a midnight black outdoor pool that ripples into a candlelit cove with an indoor Jacuzzi.
Unwinding in the warm tranquilness of the pool and Jacuzzi after every day of hiking was a must for us. From the pool’s edge, we adored watching the sleeping giant of Schlern turn shades of a rose as the setting sun performed its theater of alpenglow.
Afterward, we took turns sweating away toxins in the Mystic Fire Guard sauna, an aromatic steam sauna awash in romantic red hues. Ringed by torchlight and a bed of water, the sauna overlooks the Wolfsbrunnen wading pool where a gleaming white sculpture of wolves fascinates against the backdrop of Schlern.
We then would ease into a light sleep in a relaxation room dappled with the boughs of quaking aspens while listening to the enrapturing rhythm of water dripping. Wholly renewed each night after time in the spa, we would then ready ourselves for a gourmet evening.
True Culinary Mastery
Romantik Hotel Turm’s Oswald von Wolkenstein Bar offers luxuriant lounging prior to dinner. You can sip your drink of choice by a roaring fire or amid a visual cocktail of art decorating the bar area. Among the most intriguing here is the Picasso mentioned earlier.
However, our favorite work of art in this area of the hotel was a piece that is actually a trophy. Located in the wood-clad Zwirn Stube next to the bar is the coveted Oswald von Wolkenstein trophy. It comes from a thrilling annual medieval horse riding tournament of the same name.
The trophy, called “Standarte”, is a hand-carved portrait of Oswald von Wolkenstein (a legendary minnesinger from the 14th century) atop a wooden pole. The best horse riding team receives the trophy each year, but teams can only keep it if they win three years in a row. Not an easy feat. However, Mr. Pramstrahler knows how to master a horse as well as a kitchen.
We dined each night in the main dining room of Restaurant Turm. The setting was exquisite. A wall of windows facing Schlern allowed the spirit of the mountain to flood into the restaurant. Once the sun set, the splendid view did not fade into the night. A towering bonfire was lit on the terrace illuminating the iconic silhouette of Schlern.
Upon walking in we were always warmly greeted by the staff who all spoke excellent English. The service we received during our stay was as if we were among friends. Staff continuously asked us questions beyond our appetites and offered insider tips for exploring the area.
Our table setting radiated romance beneath the flicker of candles and fantastical light fixtures that evoked a starry night. Soft music filled the room with ambient melodies.
The menu options presented were superb. Each night you can choose from a 4-course “Romantik” menu, a special “1001 Calorie” menu or order à la carte.
After placing our order, we received expert guidance on selecting a fun wine pairing to complement our meal. As South Tyroleans at heart, we always chose a delicious local gem.
The delectable dishes landing on our table each night did not disappoint. From the oven-warm breads to the appetizers to the novel soups, entrees and desserts, it was clear Mr. Pramstrahler and his kitchen staff possess a passion for crafting dishes where every element counts, including presentation. He’s one of those rare chefs that could very well have traded their chef’s hat for an artist’s brush.
Our breakfast each morning was of equal splendor. There is no better way to begin your day than watching the rising sun ignite the crests of Schlern a fiery red over a cappuccino. A hotel daily newsletter in English was also at our table each morning. It shared endearing stories about the staff and locals, a weather report, as well as details on guided excursions and spa treatments available.
Relaxation & Romance
The spa center offers a bevy of wellness and beauty treatments steeped in Alpine customs and beyond. From all-natural cosmetic remedies to stress-melting massages with volcanic stones to milk and honey baths fit for a royal, you will undoubtedly detoxify your mind, body and soul while at Romantik Hotel Turm.
As neither of us has experienced a traditional Alpine bath, we opted to schedule a mountain pine oil bath and a hay bath infused with wildflowers after a day hike on the Alpe di Siusi. Prior to the treatment, we were graciously instructed to relax in comfy chairs and sip apfelsaft while the spa center attendant, Esme, prepared each wooden tub. She shared that we would be enjoying each bath side by side.
Both tubs were filled with steamy hot water. Mountain pine oil from South Tyrol’s Sarntal Valley swam with spruce branches from the nearby slopes in one tub. The other held a submerged cloth bag filled with hay and flower petals from the hotel’s own Alpine meadow.
We carefully sunk into our respective tubs. Esme then pulled a wooden lid over the top so our heads were the only exposed part of our body. This was to allow the aromatic trappings of each tub to fully perform their steamy magic on our tired limbs.
Each treatment lasted a blissful 25 minutes with Esme politely checking in on occasion to ensure our comfort. We toweled off and both enjoyed a fresh glass of water in a relaxation room walled by countless logs, Next, we ventured to the salt grotto for at least a half-hour of laying down as Esme advised.
Carved into rock beneath the hotel’s towers, a sense of peace washes over you the moment you enter the grotto. Beds float above pools of water as waves of candles cast a romantic glow over the stone walls.
Above you, the ceiling twinkles with celestial lighting as if you are under a clear night sky. Here, we both fell into a slumber.
Tips for Your Stay – Sights Around Romantik Hotel Turm
If you are already considering visiting the Alpe di Siusi region, then undoubtedly the vast Alpine pasture of the same name is no mystery to you. But the region offers much more than the undulating meadows rolling about the Dolomites.
A stay at Romantik Hotel Turm allows you to easily discover the grandeur of Alpe di Siusi, as well as these remarkable sights.
Parish Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Located just steps away from the hotel, the Parish Church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary is a religious treasure inside and out. From the spellbinding murals to its ornate Baroque pulpit to its late-Gothic triptych from 1489, the church presents a beautiful glimpse into medieval art history.
The church was first mentioned in the 1100s, but fell to ruin after a fire. In the 15th century, the church was rebuilt. The oldest relic once found inside was a Roman crucifix from 1200. It is now held at the village museum.
Laghetto di Fiè
Nestled in the middle of an evergreen forest just 10 minutes away from Romantik Hotel Turm is Laghetto di Fiè — a 16th-century creation that has become one of South Tyrol’s most popular swimming lakes in the summer.
While this small body of water doesn’t gleam the famous cerulean blue of other Alpine lakes such as Lago di Braies, we found it a haven of stillness beneath Schlern.
A trail winds around the lake allowing you to immerse yourself in untouched natural splendor without ever ascending the mountain. And if you visit Völs in winter, you can rent skates to dazzle over the frozen lake.
St. Peter on the Hill
The small chapel of St. Peter sits atop Peterbühl hill. Excavations on the hill have shown it has been a settlement since the Mesolithic period more than 8,000 years ago. First documented in the 14th-century, the chapel is one of the oldest in the Alpe di Siusi region.
Walking to the hill from Romantik Hotel Turm is well worth your time. Taking in the full immensity of Schlern from the summit imparts an appreciation for why our early ancestors made the hill their home.
Additional historic sights to consider during your stay at Romantik Hotel Turm include the 800+-year-old Prösels Castle, the legendary St. Valentin Chapel and the St. Konstantin Chapel, which is less well known, but is just as enchanting against the mighty backdrop of Schlern.
Who Should Stay at Romantik Hotel Turm?
If you are still not sure Romantik Hotel Turm is right for you allow us to describe who will find the hotel ideal. We recommend Romantik Hotel Turm to any traveler passionate about food, art, history and wellness. This type of guest would find Romantik Hotel Turm endlessly enthralling without ever adventuring into the Dolomites.
Couples seeking a romantic getaway will also be equally enamored by the offerings of Romantik Hotel Turm. Families traveling with children, on the other hand, will likely prefer other nearby accommodations better suited to entertaining all ages. During our stay, we did not see any children, which makes the romantic vibe even more alluring.
Romantik Hotel Turm offers several packages to suit your desires and needs. From half board to guided tours to single rooms and suites, you will have no trouble embarking on an unforgettable holiday.
Prices vary from season to season and range from €151 to €256 per night.
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We would like to give special thanks to Mr. Pramstrhaler and his entire team for welcoming us to Romantik Hotel Turm!