13/04/2016 - Col Gallina

Starlight Room

Let’s suppose, for the sake of argument, that you’re the adventurous kind, on the lookout for unique locations, spectacular views, hospitality with a difference. And maybe that tree-house accommodation is already so last year in the panoply of your experience. May we suggest a glasshouse at the top of a mountain?

Don’t, for goodness sake, think of the Glass House, or of any architectural masterpiece modern or contemporary, or even of a house. This is more like a greenhouse sort of glasshouse, more or less the size of the one at the bottom of your garden, but with (almost) all the cons of a mod hotel room and all on its own at just over 2000 m AMSL in the UNESCO-listed Dolomite mountains. On runners. Honestly.

The plan for the mobile room with star-gazing facilities (glass roof, glass walls) was hatched by Raniero Campigotto, manager of nearby mountain refuge Rifugio Col Gallina. It was made up by local craftsmen down in Cortina d’Ampezzo (the high-society resort is only 20 km away) in wood and metal as well as glass, and pulled or pushed to its panoramic perch in an area known as Lagazuoi – 5 Torri – Giau.

Whence you have a front-row bed to be wowed by stunning mountainscapes in the glow of orange sunsets, star-studded night skies without a flicker of artificial light to dim them, and pink dawns. 

There’s a queen-size bed in there (motor-adjustable to a sitting-up position for your convenience), electric lighting, heating, a big screen so you can scare yourself silly watching Everest and an MP3 device for music. Other perks include chocolates, grappa and thermal pyjamas. The bathroom – this has to be said – is not en suite. It’s outside. But then you’re unlikely to find it occupied by anyone else.

For one or two guests, with a slap-up dinner and breakfast at the refuge and transport (on snowshoes or by some kind of snowmobile when necessary) to the Starlight Room included, it’ll cost around 300 euros per night. Guaranteed unforgettable.

Images are by Cortina-based photographer Giacomo Pompanin.

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