Relaxation and wellness in the foothills of the Dolomites
The newly renovated Seehof Nature Retreat hotel in Naz-Sciaves, a small town in the province of Bolzano close to Bressanone and the abbey of Novacella, blends discreetly into the surrounding mountain landscape, the UNESCO world heritage site of the Dolomites. Set on a plateau surrounded by a pine forest and historic apple orchards whose crops are one of the pillars of the local economy, it is located close to the shores of the natural, secluded and swimmable lake Flötscher.
The expansion and conversion project concluded in 2017 was inspired by the landscape and local area, strengthening the ties between architecture and the natural context and linking the history of the region with that of the owner family. The new Seehof hotel was designed by the local practice noa*, winner in 2015 of a call for tenders for the renovation of the family-run establishment. Based in Bolzano and founded by Lukas Rungger and Stefan Rier, the young practice has built up an impressive portfolio of hospitality facilities including the award-winning Hotel Tofana in San Cassiano in Val Badia.
In this particular project, noa* renovated a small hotel located in the village of Naz at an elevation of 900 metres above sea level, creating an innovative, modern image along with new spaces and a relaxation and wellness area – now a standard feature of all medium-high end hotels – that extends as far as the waters of the lake. The Seehof Nature Retreat is a 4-star hotel that has to compete with a packed field of high-quality hospitality offerings specialising in wellness.
The new complex extends over a total area of almost 5,000 square metres and consists of two separate portions: the hotel volume with the guest rooms, restaurant and communal and service spaces; and the new relaxation area extending towards the lake complete with partially underground structures built directly into the hillside. Alongside the existing building, which has been renovated to create 16 new suites, the meticulously-designed wellness area consists of a series of small green-roofed pavilions whose external areas open directly onto the lake for use in the summer. Complete with saunas, direct access to the lake for bathing and an open-air swimming pool, these pavilions feature large windows that look out onto the landscape at different angles like telescopes.
With its dominant use of pale, natural colours, the interior design is directly inspired by the history of the local area and the family of owners. In 1958, Jakob Auer, grandfather of the current owners, played an important role in developing the apple-growing business by constructed a complex system of copper irrigation pipes, a feature that is reflected in the recurrent use of the metal in the interior design of both the communal and private areas alongside extensive use of local materials such as wood, stone, woven wicker and neutral-coloured fabrics.
As in any project for sophisticated, welcoming spaces that strive to combine a contemporary design with strength and durability, Italian ceramic tiles proved to be the ideal solution. The floors in the renovated restaurant and the interior surfaces in the wellness area have embraced the quality, aesthetics and versatility of Marazzi through a choice of terracotta-effect tiles from the Clays collection and the stone look of Monolith.