The mountain scenery in the Dolomites, located in the northern Italian Alps, is off-the-charts spectacular. If there’s a place where “skiing isn’t just skiing” and the trek to get there is worth the time and expense, this is it. UNESCO-protected, the region’s distinctive limestone cliffs are the backdrop for over 1,200km of pistes, including the unbelievable 36km Sella Ronda loop that can be covered in a single — very focused — ski day.
We spent our ski break here last winter and discovered the Dolomites is a family ski holiday paradise with mild weather, kid-focused amenities, and of course, sensational food. Here’s a look at the highlights from our trip:
San Cassiano Home Base
The village hamlet of San Cassiano, with easy access to the Alta Badia ski area, was our home base. It takes less than five minutes to walk through this town, but it has all families need including yummy restaurants, a handful of lovely shops, and postcard-perfect church.
Best of all, San Cassiano is home to a CB portfolio favorite, Hotel Rosa Alpina. Run by the same family for generations, this hotel is cozy and stylish with exceptional in-house restaurants including their coveted two-star Michelin restaurant, St. Hubertus.
The Alpine-style rooms and suites at Hotel Rosa Alpina are perfect for families and the hotel goes out of their way to cater to kids with seasonal activities, including a kids’ club for ages 4-12 over the summer months. There’s an appealing indoor pool and a full spa with treatments using the owner’s custom-crafted beauty products.
Kid-Friendly Two-Star Michelin Dining
It’s not every day you get the opportunity to dine at a two-star Michelin restaurant in the lobby of your hotel. It was a huge treat to learn that Restaurant St. Hubertus welcomes well-behaved kids. The reality is I wouldn’t bring a toddler here as the meal is meant to be savored for hours …
That said, they went out of the way to welcome our 9-year-old Devon. The Grand Chef Norbert Niederkofler came to our table just to chat with Devon and take “create” his order. Not your everyday kid — or parent — experience.
There’s no need — or budget — to hit St. Hubertus more than once during a visit and Hotel Rosa Alpina also offers a casual fondue restaurant, as well as an excellent wine bar & grill.
Alta Badia Ski Area
Alta Badia has plenty of terrain for all ages and abilities with 130 km of slopes and 53 ski lifts. You don’t feel like you will unwillingly end up on an expert slope here, which makes skiing with kids much more relaxing. Many of the lifts are low the ground and they are short, making them ideal for impatient bodies.
The Dolomiti Superski pass enables skiers to access all twelve of the main ski areas. Between them, 30% are rated as easy, 60% are rated as medium, and only 10% are rated as difficult. A perfect mix for parents who don’t want to be looking over their shoulder for extreme skiers who don’t have kids in mind as they head down the hill.
Although I didn’t find Alta Badia to be as English-centric as other European ski areas, enough people speak English here to make it user friendly. We loved Alta Badia, although other well-known favorite resorts include Val Gardena and Cortina d’Ampezzo. We don’t have other recommendations in these areas for families in our portfolio yet, although the sister property to our recommended Hotel Adler-Thermae is called Alder Dolomiti and offers a full kids’ club.
Alta Badia is only a 1.5 hour drive from Innsbruck and 2.5 hours from Venice. The roads here can be hairy in bad weather. Rather than renting a car, I’d recommend budgeting for a driving service or bus from one of the main regional train stations or the airport.
Hotel Rosa Alpina is a luxury property and rooms start at 485€ per night. They do offer winter packages for families so it’s worth using the Ciao Bambino Check Availability form for the latest offers and pricing. Val Gardena and Cortina d’Ampezzo are larger areas with value-oriented accommodation options.
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