Gazing out of the window on my flight to Venice, I suddenly spotted a handful of snowy peaks rising through the cotton blanket below. A few minutes on, and the clouds melted to reveal a plain of structured curves, the Italian Alps...
Last weekend I was kindly invited to stay at the Hotel Ambra Cortina, in the heart of the Dolomites mountain range. This luxury 4 star hotel is a fashionable boutique gem in the historic Cortina D’Ampezzo, a beautiful ski town just a 2 hour transfer from Venice.
Dad and I stayed at Hotel Ambra for 2 nights, spending our time eating fine Italian mountain dishes, exploring the frosty corners of Cortina and the white open ski slopes that drizzle down the Dolomites. It was the perfect base for our quick yet exciting adventure; just a few minutes walk from the cable car lift off and in arms reach of Cortina’s trendy fashion stores and restaurant scene.
The hotel is owned by the fabulous Elisabetta Dotto, a woman of impeccable Italian style who does everything she can to make sure her guests’ are treated like royalty. One thing she said to me that I completely agreed with is that a hotel shouldn’t make you feel at home. It should feel like everything but. No washing or dust in sight, a hotel stay should feel like a palace.
“True luxury, I believe, consists in satisfying your heart’s desires.”
From the exterior, the hotel adopts the classic style of a mountain Alpine lodge, with an inviting yellow front and painted window façades. It is only when you open the large wooden door that you get a real taste for Ambra Cortina’s luxurious fashion style, and are immediately wrapped in a blanket of cosy, warm heating.
With Christmas around the corner, the entire hotel has been draped in festive décor, created by Cortina’s own incredible craftswoman and florist Annette Gottmann. On our second day I got a chance to visit her fantastic workshop where she works to a warm fire with views over the town and mountains, a dream job for most.
Ambra Cortina has 24 bedrooms spread across 5 floors, each with an individually crafted theme that range from £129 - 300 a night. Amenities in each include the expected luxuries of a 4 star hotel such as fluffy bath robes and slippers. The hotel also offers a first class service for a small fee, including the royal treatment of breakfast delivered to your room each morning and a Ambra gift box.
At the top of the hotel are 5 luxurious suites decorated with quality unique furnishings from antler tables to vintage ski lamps, each named accordingly such as ‘Olympia’ and the romantic ‘Aphrodite’ suite.
The rest of the hotel shares views of the surrounding Dolomites from various heights. 10 superior rooms provide double showers (relax) or air pool Jacuzzi tubs (emotion) whilst 9 classic rooms offer the same style of room with a slightly smaller bathroom.
Our rooms took the style of the ‘nature’ theme, located on the third floor. Dad and I each had a superior room at the end of the corridor, separated with our own door to allow us to leave our rooms open without the possibility of another hotel guest sneaking past!
This floor took inspiration from Cortina’s picturesque surrounding forests, decorated in shades of emerald and amber with warm oak flooring. My luxurious guest room was slightly larger with a floating bed that I adored. Dad was also envious of my balcony doors that opened out onto a small terrace with snow topped mountain views. A set of chairs (and perhaps a heater!) would have just added to the experience.
Awaiting us was a generous bottle of rose Prosecco, fresh fruits and an Italian chocolate to indulge in. Both rooms were enveloped in heat, leading to two cosy warm nights spent sleeping between silk sheets. There was also plenty of storage space for hanging up your newly bought Italian fashions and a mini bar with one or two tempting mini bottles of fine Italian fizz.
The bathrooms were each spacious in size and luxury in style, covered in marble and large mirrors. I had the luxury of a walk in two-shower enjoyed with the delicious smelling complimentary products.
The other three floors above and below us adopted themes of fashion, theatre and cinema. The latter was perhaps my favourite, decorated with vintage Hollywood star and vintage photo prints in a simple but classic style.
The theatre floor indulges in rich luscious reds whilst the fashion floor showcases the hotel’s true boutique nature with exquisite printed décor.
As a small hotel, Ambra Cortina doesn’t have its own restaurant but on the bottom floor is a traditionally decorated breakfast room, serving a varied continental breakfast every morning from 7-10am. A long table in the middle of cushioned seating is laid out with everything from smoked salmon to crisp pastries.
Opposite the lobby area is also a small bar, perfect for ordering a night cap, and a beautifully furnished seating area for enjoying a drink, waiting for a friend or reading one of the hotel’s many books on the history of Cortina and its famous ski slopes.
Staying at Ambra Cortina was like living a luxury girl's fairy tale. Each time I stepped through the door from the cold, I was personally greeted and handed my heavy key, before going upstairs to my opulent spacious room and opening the windows to see the striking winter views around me.
The hotel really truly has something for everyone, from more classic rooms for the traditional guest, to a completely unique trendy style to suit young skiers and romancers. If you are looking for a boutique sophisticated stay in a cosy, winter location, then Hotel Ambra Cortina is the place for you.
Next week I'll be sharing my top dining experiences in Cortina and photography from the slopes!
Our stay at the Hotel Ambra Cortina was complimentary. As always all views are my own, despite the Prosecco and mountain views.