No Need to Ski to enjoy Hotel Ambra Cortina:
There are moments when I wonder just what I am doing. Like Bridget Jones, I don’t ski. And, my personal style, if you can call it that, is distinctly British – an ageing, rather cuddly English rose if you are feeling kind. All sorts of things I’d rather not mention if you are not. So, taking myself off to an elegant, ultra fashionable ski resort in the Dolomites to stay at the charming Hotel Ambra Cortina could have been a disaster. But, if I’d said no to the invitation, I’d have spent the next few days wondering just what I might have missed…
Of course, deciding to go anyway wasn’t a bad decision at all. Cortina turned out to be everything I’d expected and more – elegant and full of wonderful boutiques. The ski slopes were pristine and although it was too early in the year for much snow, everything was picture postcard perfect. And I found a welcome level of hospitality and charm at Hotel Ambra Cortina.
Without any doubt, Hotel Ambra Cortina is the kind of hotel I like to visit. Small enough to be friendly and intimate but beautifully appointed and full of quality fixtures and fittings, I suspect its 4 star rating is more down to the rigidity of the tick-box star system than to the level of luxury offered by the hotel.
Every room is different – mine, on the ‘Theatre’ floor was the Mirandolina – a tribute to the ‘Innkeeper’s Woman’ the 1753 three-act comedy by the Italian playwright Carlo Goldoni. With a large, comfortable four poster bed, double shower and stunning carved wall, together with a tiny balcony looking out over the Dolomites, it managed to combine an alpine style with contemporary design so that nothing was chi-chi and, importantly, there were sockets for the jungle of battery chargers, phone cables and computers that I seem to need to travel with these days.
There were those lovely boutique hotel touches too – a bottle of rose prosecco and a bowl of fresh fruit, chocolates on the pillow each night and the kind of chic toiletries which look as pretty as they are useful. Good quality white bed-linen, fluffy towels, robes and slippers all added to the boutique feel.
Downstairs, the hotel has a small drawing room area where you can enjoy a cocktail, or even aperitivo in the early evening, with home made snacks. As you walk in from a day skiing or a night out, you’ll be offered a drink – a pot of chamomile tea or a nightcap – it’s your choice. And, in the morning, the hotel has a comfortable breakfast room where you can indulge in all sorts of pastries, cakes and bakery or fill up on local cheeses, prosciutto and smoked fish. There’s fresh fruit, a selection of yoghurts and a whole range of cereals too.
Perhaps the nicest thing about Hotel Ambra Cortina is the individuality of the rooms. I suspect that visitors often become regulars – and those regulars quickly decide where they want to stay. The luxury roof rooms are all decorated in typical Ampezzo style, but with enough in terms of modern amenities to keep Metropolitan Man (or Woman) happy. One of the rooms, Hockey, has a loft with two single beds – perfect for a family with children perhaps? And two of the others can interconnect – Tofane (named after one of the most famous mountains in the Ampezzo valley) which has a comfy double bed and a sofabed too, and Olympia which (as the name suggests is themed around the winter Olympics that were held in Cortina ).
The rest of the hotel has been renovated more recently, without any loss of quality. There are rooms with double showers and others with a spa bath. Some have balconies.
You can pick your preferred decor from the Cinema and Theatre rooms through to more gentle Nature or Fashion rooms.
Whichever room you end up staying in, there’s a high level of comfort and luxury and you’ll find the staff are on hand 24×7 to help with any queries. You’ll probably meet owner Elisabetta Dotto too, who took over ownership of the hotel some ten years ago. The daughter and grand-daughter of hoteliers she was born and brought up in a hotel and has spent her life working in hospitality. In the ten years she’s owned the hotel, she’s clearly become an important part of the local community and champions events such as an annual fashion week. Walk around the town with her and you’ll find she knows everyone. Of course, for her guests, that means she can provide uniquely personal and insightful advice on what to do and where to go.
More of that to come. I was lucky enough to spend some time with Elisabetta and will share with you, gentle readers, what to do in Cortina whether you are looking to ski or not, in another post. And, of course, I’d recommend you stay at Hotel Ambra Cortina, a member of the Hip Hotels network and somewhere with unique charm and a high level of comfort.
Hotel Ambra Cortina
Via XXIX Maggio, 28
Tel 0039 0436 867344
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