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Citizen Enfants

Family Ski Holidays Made Easy At Sonnwies In The Dolomites

Within 24 hours of arriving at Sonnwies Family Hotel, you’ll be skiing, ice-skating, pony riding, water sliding, crafting, face painting and diving into chocolate fondue. And if all this sounds a bit too much, fear not. This family friendly ‘wellness’ ski hotel takes the stress out of a family hotel and makes sure kids and adults are happy. A relaxing family escape, is this really possible I hear you say?

Welcome to a 5 star family winter wonderland in the stunning Unesco World Heritage listed Italian Dolomites. With a full-board basis, including 70 hours of childcare, 60 hours of babysitting, and exciting nature programs for teenagers, kids can have their best holiday yet and parents can take advantage of some serious zen in the fresh mountain air.

The Vibe

Sonnwies is purely a family hotel with 75 suites catering to children of all ages. But don’t let this scare you away. Far from it.From the miniature robes on the bunk beds to the homemade organic baby purées (even breastfeeding tea!) in the restaurant, this property has thought of all the details that even a parent could forget sometimes. Owned by the Hinteregger Family, you’ll feel its familial sense and will often find daughter Anna in reception, or father Stefan helping with the farm or ski transfers. Once mountain farmers, the family have slowly developed the hotel from a small guesthouse into a luxury establishment with a strong connection to the natural surroundings.

The chic interiors are crafted from untreated mountain spruce and Swiss stone pine alongside black metal tables and concrete walls, with cosy fabrics and log fires warming every room. Plus, the tons of kid’s toys (all within child’s sight) do not take away from the modern alpine aesthetic.

The Rooms

With a chalet feel but all the amenities of a family hotel, you can sleep well at Sonnwies. With understated design and minimal decor (untreated wood and grey linens), you don’t have to worry about little ones breaking anything. Wall-mounted changing mats and nappy bins thoughtfully placed on the balcony are just some of the kiddy-friendly touches, with a choice to have a full mini-bar or empty fridge depending on your needs (baby milk or schnapps?) Storage is ample with hanging space for all your clothing and outdoor gear, and all rooms have balconies including mini deck-chairs you’d want to take home, and hopefully, a view of the picturesque Dolomites. Do, however, ask for a bath if this is important as some only have showers.

The entry-level rooms have additional sofa-beds, suites have separate 2-3 bunk-bed rooms with built in guard-rails. And at the top end are the Luxury Suites and Mountain Villas with whirlpools, fine wine fridges and private saunas. It’s really catered to families with children of all ages.

The Food + Drink

From the butter churned in the hotel’s dairy to the salad grown in the organic garden, the ‘farm to table’ concept is embraced here alongside delicious produce from the region such as Italian cured meats and alpine cheese. At breakfast, find homemade waffles and porridge dusted with cinnamon sugar, as well as a separate juicing room for healthier options. Lunch is served from midday until 1.30pm, which you’ll likely miss out on ski days, but make sure to try the veal schnitzel lunch on days off. Children have the option to eat in the kid’s club and fill up on hot chocolate and homemade strudel instead at afternoon tea. The children’s buffet begins at 6.30pm with fresh pasta and a salad bar, offered at their eye level. And for infants, there’s a Hipp Organic bar. Grown-ups can choose from either the Alpine, Mediterranean or Vegan 5-course menus with highlights including South Tyrolean dumplings, suckling pig and ‘Grandma’s Buchtel’ with apricot jam. The pizza oven is fired up several days a week and you are encouraged to take one as a side dish. Drinks are not included, but with more than 15,000 bottles stored in the wine cellar, this is when you’ll want to call in the babysitters and indulge in date night.

The Child’s Play

The 1,000 square metre multilingual kids’ club is at the heart of the hotel with magical nooks, slides and games to entertain all ages. No plastic or screens here. The baby room is brimming with wooden blocks and Konjes Slojd toys, with a wooden house and soft play for bigger kids, and a cool sports hall, chill out lounge and climbing wall for teens. This is no poky creche but a bright, friendly space with daily activities including sledging, forest craft, feeding the farm animals and baking finished with a disco led by hotel mascot Ferdi each evening. With no need to pre-book, you can drop children off anytime between 9.30am-9pm for any amount of time.

The staff are exceptional and make use of the surroundings with an emphasis on nature play. All the bathrooms have changing mats, nappy bins and organic baby products, and there are buggies and baby carriers for hire along with a baby listening service in each room. What really makes Sonnwies so special is not just the quality of childcare or scope of activities, but the little extras – from the ice-cream cart and colouring in table in the reception to the hidden photo booth by the must-visit hotel boutique.

The Extras

The swimming area deserves its own tribute because you can spend hours here. No, no, this is not just any swimming pool but an aqua park, all be it with sexy double day-beds. There are slides suitable for all ages, shallow splash pools with fountains heated to a baby-friendly 35C, an atmospheric outdoor heated pool and even a cinema pool with a big screen. The separate adult spa is moderately sized but includes 3 saunas, the best being an outdoor forest sauna with mountain view. Little ones can be truly spoiled with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty themed treatments and even a hidden TV in the family sauna.

The To Do List

A huge draw to the hotel is the 800 metre slope directly outside the hotel with a nursery section for beginners, then a button lift and longer stretch for improvers. There is a ski hire shop in the basement and the hotel can arrange private or group lessons easily. The more advanced can take the 15 minute shuttle to Plose, a small but very well groomed resort with a champagne bar and charming restaurants. For non-skiers, there are complimentary fitness classes in the expertly designed gym, guided snowshoe hikes and a mini ice-rink. But don’t be fooled, this isn’t just a winter ski destination, summer is a big draw with hiking and picnics in flower-filled pastures, bathing in the village natural pond or e-biking in the hills.

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