Traditions are wonderful (though I recommend only keeping those traditions that feel authentic and aligned with your current self). Do you have any travel traditions? Are there destinations or hotels that you love to return to again and again?
Bolzano in Italy, and more specifically the South Tyrol province of Italy is one of those places for me. When I was a kid, I used to travel to Bolzano from Munich with my family. We’d shop for Italian fashion (especially leather goods), indulge in really good food, enjoy the sun and the dolce vita flair, and have a cappuccino in Piazza Walther.
Bolzano did not feel like the Italy I knew from long summer vacations. It was an Italy that more resembled my home of Munich, both scenically and culturally. People even spoke to us in German there despite being in Italy!
As a young woman with a driver’s license and my own car, I kept the tradition of trips to Bolzano in Italy. It’s always been a very special place to me.
Now that I live in Ticino, Switzerland, I’m only a few kilometers away from Italy. I can be in Lombardy, in a quick half-hour (which I LOVE!), but it’s a bit longer to get to South Tyrol and Bolzano, Italy. During our recent ski trip to the Dolomites, there was no question in my mind where we’d be stopping on the way AND what hotel we’d be staying at.
My Return to Hotel Greif
My parents were often guests at the Hotel Greif; the location right on Walther Square is unbeatable.
It’s, of course, a pleasure for me to be a second-generation hotel guest and carry on the tradition my parents started. However, what makes visiting this hotel even more special is that it’s also rooted in over 200 years of family tradition. The Hotel Greif has a rich, family-run history dating back to 1816. At that time, the inn (which was first mentioned in 1514) was acquired by Mr. Staffler. The harsh conditions in the mountain regions and the desire for economic and social freedom met the business intuition of Mr. Staffler. He realized that people’s passion for traveling to the mountains was his future.
With a lot of effort, risk-taking, and foresight, Mr. Staffler modernized the small guesthouse with only eight rooms and a simple tavern. It was one of the first hotels with a steam washing system, an indoor swimming pool, and its own omnibus service to the Dolomites. Then, in 1890, Hotel Greif made another mark on Bolzano. Instead of just metaphorically shining, the hotel began physically shining at night using its own electricity generation – 7 years before Bolzano lit its lights at night.
A Hotel Review of Hotel Greif
Over one hundred years later, and after five years of renovation work, the Hotel Greif continues to shine in new splendor as a small, exclusive art hotel. As a member of the world’s best Design Hotels™, the Hotel Greif is ideal for every type of traveler. Whether you’re heading to Bolzano solo, as a couple, or as a family, the exclusive location directly on the Piazza Walther is an ideal starting point to explore Bolzano on foot, or for excursions into the beautiful Dolomites mountain range.
The Hotel Greif is something very special for art lovers and art connoisseurs. Each room is uniquely decorated with art and fabrics by artists from the Alpine region. I particularly appreciate the tranquility and quality of the materials.
As you may know from other of my blogs, the quality of my bed is extremely important to me while I travel. In the Hotel Greif, everything that belongs to the bed was simply perfect: great quality mattress, bed linens, pillows, and feather-light yet warm down duvets.
My husband and I stayed in our own Junior Suites with a connecting door. Their Junior Suites offer fantastic views of Piazza Walther and the cathedral, both from the bed as well as the bay window in the living area. The gorgeous views brought me joy from the moment I woke up and had breakfast in bed until closing the curtains before bed with a last glimpse of the cathedral at night.
We had two bathrooms and a powder room made of white marble and natural accessories. What I found particularly thoughtful were the small touches in the room, like a rolled yoga mat in the closet, a nicely printed paper bag (when traveling, there’s always something that you must pack quickly), and fluffy slippers.
The intriguing red colors and intricate design of the hotel’s Grifoncino Bar gives off an ambiance of sophistication and nightlife flair. The bar features about 40 gin varieties from all over the world, and the cocktail menu leaves nothing to be desired. The Grifoncino is Bolzano’s cocktail hotspot, and is very popular with locals!
All the staff we encountered at the hotel were very friendly. We enjoyed chatting with the barkeep at Grifoncino about his passion for cocktails, and when we checked out, we were pleasantly surprised with a lovely homemade Lingonberry jam to take home.
As I alluded to earlier, you cannot beat the location of Hotel Greif. The truly central location means many numerous restaurants are within walking distance. Restaurant Laurin, an area favorite, is just a few minutes’ walk from the Hotel Greif in their partner hotel Parkhotel Laurin. The ambiance at the restaurant is Art Nouveau, and different influences characterize the cuisine. Pleasant, consistent service awaits you at the Laurin, just have the bill written to your room.
Take a little trip back in time with an excursion on the Kohler cable car, the oldest cable car in the world (1908). Located near the city, this cable car takes you up into the mountains where you’ll enjoy the magnificent view and small mountain village of Kohler. Time truly seems to have stood still there.
Of course, I would be remiss to mention the breathtakingly beautiful mountains of the Dolomites. The UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Dolomites is the backdrop to Bolzano. Those who know them know how beautiful they are, and those who have not yet had the good fortune of traveling there have only seen similar mountains in their dreams. With 16,000 km of hiking and ski trails, the Dolomites offer endless opportunities for exploration and adventure.
The Way of K
From spring to autumn, guests of Hotel Greif can take advantage of the nearby park with a pool at their partner hotel, Parkhotel Laurin. The 4,000-square-meter English garden with old, imposing trees is the ideal place to listen to the birds in the middle of the city or browse through a book while enjoying a cup of coffee or tea or a fine dining experience.
Thank you to Hotel Greif for hosting my husband and I for part of our stay. As always, the hotel reviews and opinions shared on my blog are entirely my own.