I stayed at the Dolomites’ most Instagrammed hotel: Hotel Chalet al Foss. Here’s an honest look at what I thought, as a regular person.
This winter, I stayed at Hotel Chalet al Foss, arguably one of the most visually recognizable hotels in the Dolomites. The whole place is Instagram catnip: unbelievable views, luxury amenities, and stellar service.
It’s the kind of place I’d dreamed about going to but never seriously thought I’d be able to afford. But when my mom came in December and wanted to do a splurge night somewhere, I immediately thought of it! We booked one night for a pampered spa trip.
My Instagram blew up with questions: is it just as dreamy as it looks? Did you do the floating breakfast? Is it worth the price tag? What exactly IS the price tag anyway?
So here are my thoughts about staying at Hotel Chalet al Foss. As a normal person who can’t afford luxury hotels on a regular basis.
Hotel Chalet Al Foss
First off, the views are real. It sits on the edge of a mountain looking into the valley, so you get a backdrop of epic mountain silhouettes that are equal to your eyeliner. It’s a great spot visually.
Chalet al Foss sits just outside the town of Vermiglio, which is known as a winter destination. Renting a car is important in this part of Italy unless you’re just coming in for the hotel, in which case they can arrange transport for you.
The staff is excellent. Their service is top-notch, even down to the small details like remembering which guests speak what language – no small thing in this area, where German is just as common as Italian and plenty of tourists who only speak English.
One thing worth noting: I think we only saw one other group that wasn’t a couple in their 20s or 30s. Maybe due to Instagram, this place attracts the youngish crowd. My mom kept cracking up at that. I suspect people in their 50’s and 60’s look for their luxury spa experiences at less Instagram-famous places?
According to the website, the hotel offers 44 rooms. There are 15 styles of rooms, ranging from your basic hotel room to multi-floor suites.
We opted for the cheapest room available, the Erika. On a weeknight in December, it was 300€ per night.
The room itself was cozy and well-appointed, but definitely not the luxury shots you’ll see online. Not complaining! Staying at the hotel gets you access to the spa and includes a luxury breakfast buffet in their restaurant.
While that price point is way more than my average hotel room, this number isn’t bad for an upscale spa hotel.
The gorgeous rooms with a bathtub by the floor-to-ceiling window or balcony swing are double that, going up to 700€ plus.
While I would adore having that bathtub with a view, the price point difference made me feel really good about getting the cheapest room and enjoying all the same hotel amenities as the people paying twice as much.
Chalet al Foss Restaurants
Chalet al Foss offers three restaurant experiences for dinner. There’s a local specialties restaurant and a gourmet option, both of which require pre-booking, in addition to their classic restaurant. We tried the classic, and the food was elegantly prepared and so good!
There was a great mix of traditional Italian fare and modern dishes. I really liked the marinated red onion salad – sounds a bit weird, but it was delicious! Their baked apple dish (apples are a local specialty to this part of Italy) involved a tableside plating and had me practically drinking the cinnamon custard sauce.
At lunch, the food is less complex but just as good. I highly recommend the cheese fondue appetizer, but definitely plan to share it with someone – it’s way too much for one person, and I’m saying that as someone who’s cheese-obsessed!
Also worth noting: the prices for meals were very reasonable for upscale meals. I was really surprised by this, seeing as you’re somewhat a captive audience. They’re not necessarily cheap, but for a nice meal, prices were below expectation.
Breakfast in the restaurant is included in the cost of your stay. Your choose dishes to order, but it’s unlimited. Everything we tasted was delicious. I wish I could’ve sat there and slowly tried everything on the menu! Their traditional Italian breakfast options were delicious, and they offer a few more American-style breakfast choices too, like eggs benedict or pancakes.
But what about the floating breakfast???
I got this question at least a dozen times. Chalet al Foss offers a floating breakfast in the pool, which you can reserve in the morning. It’s elegant and looks just as amazing in real life as it does in photos.
That being said, it’s 130€ per couple for an hour of private pool time with breakfast.
So, a bit out of my budget for that level of experience. We opted to save our money for massages instead of that.
A similar breakfast they offer is breakfast in an outdoor bed – they make up a bed with the same gorgeous mountain views for you and your person to snuggle up and bring the massive spread in the style of a six food charcuterie board.
Both are super cute and special and photoshoot-worthy! But in addition to the price you pay to stay here, it doesn’t seem worth it to me.
The Spa at Hotel Chalet Al Foss
Let’s talk spa amenities!
Included in the nightly rate is access to the spa. It offers sauna, solarium, hot tubs, multiple relaxing rooms, and an infinity pool with that epic mountain view. There’s also a full menu of massages, facials, and other treatments available for a fee.
Technically there are two pools: one indoors and one outdoors, the one with the view. While we were there, I don’t think I saw a single person get in the indoor one. Both are heated in winter to be warm enough to combat the near-freezing temperatures.
The only downside to me is that that outdoor pool is the main feature, but it’s pretty small in reality. It measures maybe 10×12 feet? Meaning, if the hotel is fully booked, the pool would get crowded. At one point there were 9 people in the pool and that felt like almost the max you could have comfortably. We weren’t touching or anything, but it was definitely close quarters, especially if you were there on a romantic getaway.
We opted for massages. They offer several kinds, and it was a bit confusing to figure out which was which. This is more about my lack of knowledge of different types of massages than them, but you can read the full package here. We booked in advance before arrival, but if you book in person with the spa staff, they can explain the different options in more detail.
The massage was good – I opted for something I’d never tried before, a bamboo massage. The masseur really did use a stick of wood to loosen my muscles. He was great, and if I went again I’d request the most intense massage they had rather than choose based on the name. (Again, more my lack of knowledge about types of massage than anything else.)
Was it Worth The Cost?
The big question: was it worth it?
I say yes, IF.
If you go in with a clear understanding of what a luxury hotel typically costs, then Hotel Chalet al Foss is great. But I tell you all this to know what to expect because nobody likes a shocking price tag at the end of the trip.
If I were to stay again, I probably would do a very similar visit: one night, in the most basic room. If I wanted more time in that area of the Dolomites, I’d then move to a less expensive hotel to spend a few days hiking – the price of the room is really about the amenities for me.
One other hidden cost is getting there. If you already find yourself in northern Italy on a trip, you could attach a stay without too much trouble. It’s less than two hours’ drive from Bolzano or Verona, 2.5 from Lake Como, or 3 from Milan or Innsbruck, Austria.
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