November 24, 2020

Asaggio Conceives Boutique Wellness Hotel and Spa in Italy

At Forestis, a boutique wellness hotel and spa, a penthouse suite has its own private plunge pool. Photography by Patricia Parinejad.

For years, hotelier Alois Hinteregger had spied a mysterious roof high on the Plose, a forested mountain with an elevation of nearly 6,000 feet in the Italian Dolomites resort town of Brixen. But no one seemed to know anything about it. On a mission to discover the origins of the wood- and-stone building, he learned it had been built as a sanitorium in 1912 by Austrian architect Otto Wagner. His interest piqued, Hinteregger, along with his son, Stefan, and Stefan’s wife, Teresa Unterthiner, bought the property, with a plan to turn the abandoned edifice into part of
Forestis, a soaked-in-nature retreat for wellness-minded city slickers. Stefan Hinteregger then tapped architect and Asaggio founding partner Armin Sader to help expand the project, which managed to open in July, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The stone-and-clay composite enveloping the spa comprises local Dolomite rock milled into a fine sand. Photography by Patricia Parinejad.

Sader conceived three south-facing towers to contain 46 of the resort’s 62 suites. Appearing to grow straight out of the alpine terrain, “The wooden facades have simple lines, and the colors draw on the hues of the surrounding tree trunks,” Sader says. “They’re unadulterated, clean, and purist.” Whereas the towers soar, the historic main building, where the restaurant and remaining suites are located, appears rooted in  the earth. That’s because in addition to Asaggio sensitively renovating the structure, the firm linked it to the three towers via subterranean corridors. 

In the spa, pools inside and out over­look the forest. Photography by Patricia Parinejad.

Indigenous Dolomite rock sourced from a nearby river was ground into a powder in a mill brought on-site for the velvet-to-the-touch stone-clay composite coating the floors and walls in the spa and the suite bathrooms; tubs and sinks are cast from a similar mixture. The furniture, simple in style, is crafted of local wood, making use of trees felled by the previous year’s storms. “People are no longer looking for marble bathrooms with gold-plated taps,” Stefan Hinteregger notes. “The new luxury is nature.” Detoxes, sound meditation, and “forest cuisine” are also on offer, and rather than import Far Eastern teachings, he and Unterthiner opted for Wyda, a form of yoga derived from Celtic Druidry that fosters connection to the forest. In that same vein, for any tree felled during construction, which had to halt in March due to the pandemic, two were planted in its stead.

Project Sources: Frener Design: Custom Furniture. Moling: Stonework. Substanz Design: Branding.

Circular ban­quettes populate the hotel’s restaurant. Photography by Patricia Parinejad.
Backdropping the restaurant building, a century-old former sanitorium, are three new timber-clad towers con­tain­ing most of the property’s 62 guest suites. Photography by Patricia Parinejad.
A spiral staircase is finished in a similar custom coating as the spa, hand-smoothed and sealed with wax. Photography by Patricia Parinejad.
Suites are south-facing for all-day sunlight and have balconies overlooking the Dolomites mountain range, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Photography by Patricia Parinejad.
Saunas are finished in natural wood and stone. Photography by Patricia Parinejad.
Furnishings in the spa’s silence rooms and throughout Forestis are made of local wood from trees felled by storms. Photography by Patricia Parinejad.
The spa’s indoor/outdoor stone pool is filled with the waters of the Plose mountain. Photography by Patricia Parinejad.

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