Hiking in the Dolomites with Ilse: Our Hotel and Food

Earlier, I wanted my posts to show you how the magnificence of the Dolomites transcends comprehension. I wanted to show you WHY the 16 of us signed up for this trip.

Now, I’ll introduce you to our incredible 4* Hotel Adler in Villabassa, and the magnificent food we enjoyed all week …

If our 8-hour hiking days were like scraping our knees, this four-star Tyrolean gem was like our mama sweeping us into her soothing and protective arms, kissing our tears away. Seriously—ANYONE can hike for 8 hours straight, knowing you have the following waiting for you at the end: steamroom, sauna, heated lounge bench, indoor pool, herb-infused shower, boot warmers (if they got wet, which ours never did!🙏), a cozy bar, a beautiful beer garden, a Michelin Star restaurant, and of course—well-appointed rooms with comfy beds!

Because of covid, the spa needed to be reserved (for free) in 30 min time slots, so you would have all the facilities to yourself (and your invited friends), for the duration of the reservation!

Our routine went like this: Dump backpacks in rooms and change into swimsuits, meet in the pool for a bit, then hit the spa area. I, personally, started in the steam room, followed by the herbal shower, then I dried off, while sitting on the heated lounge bench.


And then we all, including our guide, met for drinks before dinner AND again after dinner—every single night; we enjoyed each other THAT much.

Now, the food … If you’ve had a good European breakfast before, you *know*. If you haven’t, you need to go to Europe. Just for breakfast. Then you can go home, because you have experienced Nirvana.

Each morning at the hotel, you’re greeted by an elegant buffet of just-bought-that-morning deliciousness. In the Alps, meat is bought directly from the butcher; dairy is bought directly from the farmer; and BREADBREADBREAD—a variety, including donuts, all fresh from the baker! There is even a full slab of honeycomb, dripping honey onto a platter—you can scoop some honey off the platter, or cut a piece of honeycomb off the slab! To drink, they offer elderflower and elderberry juices, among other fruit juices, gem-infused waters, and of course, the most amazing loose-leaf tea, coffee and hot cocoa—every kind you could want. My go-to was a double-shot cappuccino X2!

During breakfast, you fill a reusable container for your lunch. Notice those olives still on their stems! OMG, my mouth is watering just remembering. One of the MANY reasons Exodus Travels is one of my favorite travel partners is that their travel values align with mine—a commitment to sustainable and responsible travel is integral to my small group trips.

As you can see, our lunch spots were STUNNING! And they were hard-won–with a lot of cat-naps taken after eating, before our guide moved us along:)

Your “second lunch” is ready for you at each mountain’s Alpenhütte; each hut has a specialty food and plenty of beer and Aperol spritzes; one hut’s specialty was the creamiest hot cocoa with rum! Because you earned it!

Every evening, your bountiful dinner consists of 4-5 courses! Did I mention that the restaurant has a Michelin Star? The ingredients are so fresh, you can taste each herb used, the pasta and sauces are house made, and the desserts are works of art.


AND, as a bonus–within walking distance of the hotel, there’s a restaurant called Mexico City, where they serve Prosecco on tap!

I believe an integral part of traveling is experiencing authentic local cuisine, and that requirement was definitely met on this trip!

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