When Günther and Verena Frena commissioned Network of Architecture to reimagine the hotel building that had been in the family since 1933, they probably can’t have envisioned the striking pile the South Tyrolean practice dreamed up.
There is a surreal quality about the new incarnation of the 35-room Hotel Tofana in the northern Italian outpost of Alta Badia – the craggy silhouette of the surrounding Dolomites forms the palimpsest for the building’s jagged edged floors that are massed like a mountain: a layered structural landscape, as the architects describe it.
The interiors are Escher-like in their complex interlocking stairs and ramps, whilst broad terraces, balconies and capacious windows draw Alpine sunlight into rooms furnished in larch, linen and stone.
In this part of the world, hiking and skiing are de rigueur – the Frenas are avid mountain bikers and ski and snowboard instructors – though we confess to a more sedentary weakness for chef Paul Mittemair’s homemade ravioli stuffed with beetroot, and speck dumplings.
Meanwhile, the fifth-floor spa features Asian-based treatments, among them an Ayurvedic massage based on pouches of warm herbal poultices, and front row seats to the panorama of the changing colours of the Dolomites.