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‘I was Goldilocks let loose in her dream house’: Inside Italy’s treetop wellness resort

My Arbor hotel in winter.
My Arbor hotel in winter. Copyright My Arbor
Copyright My Arbor
By Michelle Titus
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A luxury treehouse with a secret forest hidden within: My dreamy break in Italy’s treetop resort.

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I set clear intentions for my mini holiday. As a self-employed entrepreneur living on the chaotically beautiful island of Sicily and the mother of an ‘energetic’ toddler, I desperately needed ‘me time’.

My extreme urge to turn it all off, coupled with the fact that I am not Nordic enough to jump out of bed and scale a mountain, paid off for me in spades.

As my hiking boots rested in my ‘Nest Suite’, I put on my plush robe and headed straight to my hotel’s indoor-outdoor spa.

My Arbor - a wellness resort overlooking the mountain-hugged north Italian town of Bressanone - holds the secret to feeling like a goddess. If you head to the spa early in the morning (while most guests are hiking) you have saunas, the new outdoor jacuzzi, the pool and my favourite element, the ‘nests’ all to yourself.

These little cradles of delight offer a wood-framed view of the verdant valley below and Alps ascending above. Heaters on the ceiling and within the bed itself hug your body from all sides, melting away any remnants of stress.

My Arbor
My Arbor's 'nests' frame views of the Alps.My Arbor

A multi-sensory sauna experience left me feeling silky smooth and relaxed

Wanting to try something new while at My Arbor, I chose a very nude and sweaty sauna experience on my first afternoon.

I joined the 3:30pm sauna infusion and it went like this: in the sweltering 60 degrees Celsius, a gorgeous woman named Kiki with a large smile and colourful yoga pants gracefully waved different vibrant aromas at me and the 10 other guests.

Afterwards, we switched to the steam sauna where Kiki filled our hands with a salt and coconut oil mixture, which I gratefully rubbed on my over-sunned summer skin. This high sensory experience in the buff left me silky smooth and craving a cool glass of Alpine spring water.

It might sound trivial but having a quiet moment to contemplate which type of infused water I wanted to try next was a welcome treat for a mamma usually in a rush.

My Arbor
Italy’s mountain wellness hotel is balm for the senses.My Arbor

I rode the new Plose Gondola into the Alps

I think it is fair to say that on my first full day I tried every sauna, shower and inviting oversized daybed at My Arbor as if I was Goldilocks let loose in her dream house. When I eventually discovered that the inconspicuous looking loungers in the dimly lit relaxing room were waterbeds, that is where I ended my afternoon with an Elif Shafak book and it was ‘just right’.

On my second day I could no longer resist the call of the Alps. I headed out of the resort by foot and took in the intense smells of pine and juniper on a brief walk through the forest until I reached the brand new Plose Gondola.

I gathered my courage (I am scared of heights), took a deep breath and jumped on. It swiftly delivered me 1,000 metres up to Restaurant La Finestra and its jaw dropping view of the Dolomites. From there, I chose a mildly strenuous hike to the Rifugio Rossalm which casually sits in the clouds at 2,180 metres above sea level.

My hike wasn’t long, but the restaurant’s wooden lounge chairs and the lure of a chilled Weissbier in the sun were too hard for me to resist. I only wished I had better timing, as their lunch looked to die for, but I had just treated myself to an indulgent breakfast at the resort.

My Arbor
My Arbor serves an indulgent breakfast.My Arbor

I am a simple woman in the morning, making the freshly baked, whole grain breads paired with homemade butter and jams an easy win for me. That morning though I did not stop at the bread. I also sampled the fresh juices (I liked the orange and ginger best), the homemade porridges, the special with poached egg and spinach, the pastries (who can resist the buttery smell of fresh croissants?), seasonal fruit and local northern Italian prosecco. Needless to say, my stomach couldn’t handle any more.

That afternoon, I made it back to My Arbor with time to squeeze in a ‘healing facial’ before dinner. I must have drifted off during the treatment as the sound of my therapist Silvia moving the curtain from the large window brought me back just in time to witness a purplish Alpine sunset in front of my bed.

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My Arbor
Even the massage beds have mountain views.My Arbor

A luxury treehouse with a secret forest hidden within

As a lover of interior design, finding my way down to the dining room was a treat as I passed through the resort’s expansive hearth (reception and bar) adorned with hanging trees that looked like they were plucked from just outside. The entire resort feels like a five-story luxury treehouse with a secret forest hidden within.

The pièce de résistance, though, is the dining room with its swirled wooden sculpture hovering above the booth tables that fit like a jig-saw puzzle across the room.

Thanks to my waiter, Matthias, who made dining alone feel like a gastronomic adventure - providing encouragement about where to travel next during my nightly five-course meals - this became my favourite room. In particular, the fried octopus resting in a puree of secret creamy goodness will forever stay in my memory.

As I recall this all now, I am suddenly feeling very peckish and I can’t stop thinking about how inexpensive my flight from Sicily to Verona was, or how gorgeous the train into the Alps was. I am already scheming how to find myself back in the ‘nests’.

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Standard rooms at My Arbor start at €245 per person (based on two people sharing) including half-board and full access to spa and wellness activities.

Michelle Titus was a guest of My Arbor.

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