Heaven is, as I have discovered, a paradise of authentic Italian architecture - a farmhouse so inspiring that I can only name it as magical. The property, built in the 16th Century, is San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge and this farmhouse is one of the most spectacular, no, the most spectacular property I have ever been privileged enough to visit. It isn't blingy, it isn't boasting, it isn't showing off. It isn't packed full of the latest gadgets, it isn't competing with its neighbour, it isn't over the top. It is quite simply and effortlessly, breathtaking. And that is not a word I use lightly.
San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge has everything spot on - the air of simplicity screams luxury, without screaming about it (yes, that is possible). The owners, (your staff), are spine tinglingly passionate - and as I have come to realise, this is the groundwork on which a fantastic holiday is made. "Service, service, service!! Oh! Mamma Mia!!" Stefano says, and he is right. Believe me, he knows what true 'service' is and the service he offers comes so naturally. This isn't work - this is his dream that he wants to share with you and that is why you are guaranteed the highest standard of care when you stay here. When you do, you will arrive as a guest and leave as a friend.
After 5 minutes at the Lodge I am already totally in love with it. No, in fact before I even arrive! The long and winding mountain road up there is not only immaculate (we followed a road sweeper) but exciting. As we climb higher and higher, the mystery is enchanting and I know that whatever is at the end of the road is going to be good....well, I was wrong. It's magnificent. The view is incredible - the evening sun still catches the Dolomite peaks in the distance and the valley below looks sleepy and so very far, far away - I'm in an Italian paradise and I never knew it existed.
The aim here is to 'experience'. It's not just a holiday, and it's not just a place to rest after skiing - it's a time to experience new things. Perhaps Porcini hunting, perhaps Strawberry picking, or perhaps chopping wood in the forest above - all guided by Stefano. Perhaps even, a round of 18 holes on the golf course and yes, even in winter. Lets not forget the skiing - the ski area is vast and cruisey and I get the feeling a good morning on the slope, a coffee stop and a long lazy lunch is definitely the Italian way and why not?! It is a holiday after all.
Enjoy fresh water from the Lodge's own Spring (the clearest most fresh tasting water I have ever tasted). Let Stefano carve you some fresh Speck ham in the wine Cave whilst surrounded by the finest Tirolean wines and perhaps even sample a few. Then be amazed by the stainless steel 'whirlpool' which contrasts perfectly with the rusticity of the lodge and seriously does have the best view and position of any I have seen. Then enjoy the most sumptuous and delicious home cooking you can possibly imagine, set to please not overwhelm. We're not talking fussy or fancy cuisine; we're talking wholesome and delightful showstoppers which showcase Italian flavours and ingredients to the most exceptional level. Divine.
It was a great struggle to leave this paradise behind. As I descended the mountain to the valley below and look back, already counting down the days until I can go there again, I can almost see Stefano still waving, on the edge of his cobble-laden heli pad, as he watches his new friends depart his South Tirolean kingdom that is San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge.
I can tell you more about this stunning property - I can talk about it for days. Call me on +44 1993 899 421 and let The Oxford Ski Company transport you here.