Looking for a perfect family vacation in Northern Italy? I think we found it – the Family Resort Sonnwies has everything a family needs for a perfect vacation. I was very excited a few weeks ago when I received an invitation from Sonnwies to spend a perfect weekend there with my family. It turned out to be one most relaxing weekend getaways we ever had with a child. The hotel is located in the South Tyrol’s Dolomites mountain region at the altitude of 1,200 meters in a picturesque village of Luson/Lüsen. The surrounding area is great for hiking, biking, climbing mountains and simply exploring the outdoors.
The site of the Dolomites comprises a mountain range in the northern Italian Alps, numbering 18 peaks which rise above 3,000 meters. It features some of the most beautiful mountain landscapes anywhere, with vertical walls, sheer cliffs and a high density of narrow, deep and long valleys. In 2009, UNESCO named the Dolomites a World Heritage Site. So Sonnwies was just a short drive from the first peak, Peitlerkoffel (2,875 meters), which we climbed on our last day in South Tyrol.
So here are 12 things that I loved about the Family Resort Sonnwies.
- The best thing for parents and kids – 70 hours a week of professional childcare for kids age 3-7, and 35 hours a week of childcare for babies older than 4 months. All the caretakers have a special pedagogical education and stand by ready to make your child’s stay unforgettable. The hotel posts a daily program which includes a lot fun and educational activities. To name just a few activities, kids bake cookies and cakes, make pizza, create art, feed animals, ride ponies and tractor, explore the nature, and prepare shows to entertain their parents in the evening. Of course, there is also a massive playground for kids to enjoy anytime.
- While kids are enjoying themselves at the kids’ club, parents can climb a mountain, ski in the winter, take an hour or two to visit the fitness center, attend a fitness class or just spend some time in the sauna relaxing. For further enjoyment and relaxation, various types of spa treatments are available upon request.
- I thought that one of the coolest things at the hotel were the kids sauna and kids spa treatments. This amazing bio-sauna maintained a pleasantly warm temperature so kids could comfortably stay inside for some time. To entertain them during their sauna visit, there was a built-in TV that showed cartoons and kids’ shows. At the spa, kids could get manicures and child-specific massages or take a bath with aromas liked by kids’ noses.
- The hotel has its own organic farm, which produces milk, butter, herbs, jam, eggs, fruits, vegetables and some other products in season. The breakfast buffet consists of more than 100 local organic products. Lunch and dinner offer fresh, locally-produced South Tyrolean and Italian specialties. There is a separate buffet for kids and babies available at dinner and breakfast. The food was of amazing quality. There was also an authentic outdoor wood stove where kids can learn how to make their own pizza.
- In addition to producing organic food, the hotel’s farm is a hit with city kids, offering them something that they are not used to. There are many animals (cows, ponies, rabbits, chickens, donkey, goats, and sheep) that are available all day long for touching and petting. The hotel offers daily pony rides for guests free of charge. Under farmer Hans’s supervision kids can participate in a daily animal feeding, help with the harvest and weeding in the garden and in the field, participate in a little hike to a mountain farm, where kids can make butter and cheese and eat it afterwards. Older kids can spend a night on a farm sleeping in hay stacks. Parents don’t need to worry – the kids will be supervised by trained caretakers.
- The rooms were super spacious and clean; most rooms had not one but two or three rooms. A child’s room was separated from the parents’ bedroom with a sliding door, allowing everyone to get a good night rest.
- The atmosphere of a loving family care can be felt throughout the hotel. The owners, family Hinteregger (Angelika, Hans and their 4 children), personally take care of you and ensure that everything in the hotel maintains its excellence. We were personally greeted by each of the family members and had noticed their presence and loving care throughout our stay. They worked the front desk, they served us at dinner, they organized the pool party, they gave a ride to our daughter in a tractor, they offered advice on hiking opportunities, and the head of the family, Hans, was ready to personally accompany us on a hike of our choice, if requested.
- I couldn’t help but notice tremendous attention to details aimed to make your stay smooth and worry-free. Some of the nice things that jumped at me were: freshly prepared baby food (purees and cereals), baby beds, high chairs in restaurant, safety locks on doors, outlet safety plugs in each room, kids silverware, plates and cups, potty in the room, built-in changing table and bottle warmers in every room, rental of strollers and baby carriers.
- Although the hotel radiates the atmosphere of the modern luxury, it still shows its historical roots. The present farmer, Hans, inherited a traditional South Tyrolean farm after his family bought it at an action in 1983. Throughout the 1990s, the family was renovating the farm and made their living from farming and renting rooms. In 1998 they built a small 3-star guest house with 25 rooms, from which the modern day Sonnwies evolved. Since then the family has never stopped improving the place. The hotel was completely rebuilt in 2006, leaping to a 4-star designation. Later on, a luxury wellness area was added and all the rooms were newly renovated with natural wood and other environmentally-friendly materials. In 2015 the hotel added a water park to its list of amenities. The water park has an indoor and outdoor pool, big water slide with a time measurement capability, smaller slides, and a water play area.
- I loved the fact that there was spring water throughout the hotel. I enjoyed the freshest, tastiest water right from our bathroom sink. The spring water also ran in the showers and filled the swimming pool. What a treat to our skin!
- Kids appreciated an unlimited juice and soft drinks bar available throughout the day in the lobby. Ice cream buffet at lunch and dinner time was also a big hit.
- To make the departure not so sad, the hotel offers a parting gift for each child. The choices were: a travel pillow, a drinking cup or a drinking bottle.
Our family stayed at the several family-oriented hotels before, but Sonnwies by far exceed all of our expectations. When we had to leave, our five-year-old daughter cried for a long time. She wanted to live in this wonderful hotel forever. We loved our stay and can’t wait to experience the hotel in winter! The word is that Sonnwies has its own ski slope and a ski school for kids.