Hotel and Spa Rosa Alpina

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Sophistication equals simplicity. That's the equation at the Hotel and Spa Rosa Alpina in the Dolomites ski resort of Alta Badia. The Rosa Alpina, tucked into a classic Italian mountain village minutes to the nearest lift, shines in its simplicity. (Unlike the ski area, served by the web of 460 lifts that compose the "Dolomiti Super Ski.") Throughout the 52-room inn, furnishings of unstained larch wood polished with beeswax reflect the farmhouse style of the region, a struggling agricultural area until skiing caught on. In the on-site Restaurant St. Hubertus, chef Norbert Niederkofler shows off regional techniques, whipping up plates such as the restaurant's signature dish, fillet of beef cooked in mountain hay and baked in a salt crust.

Simple-chic may have a contemporary ring, but the hotel's elegant yet uncomplex approach is time-tested: Owner Hugo Pizzinini is a third-generation proprietor of the Rosa Alpina. His grandfather, Engelbert, acquired it in 1940, and his father, Paolo, took it over and rebuilt it three decades later. Paolo's wife, Daniela Steiner, created the hotel's spa, which, like the hotel itself, emphasizes simplicity-from the homemade herbal remedies Steiner cooks up herself to the serene candlelit suites in which her guests enjoy them. $225-$619; San Cassiano, Alto Badia, Alto Adige, Italy; 011-39-0471-84-95-00; rosaalpina.it

NOVEMBER 2004