A hidden gem in the stunning Italian resort San Cassiano lies Ciasa Salares, a five-star boutique hotel. We had the pleasure of talking to the owner Jan Clemens who is the fourth generation of the Weiser family to run this luxurious hotel. He has shed some light on their interesting family history and how Ciasa Salares started and has since developed into the glorious mountain retreat it is today.
At the foot of the Laverla and Conturines Dolomite peaks lies San Cassiano, a charming mountain village with a plethora of elegant restaurants, boutique hotels and sensational views. Lying just above San Cassiano is Ciasa Salares, an exclusive boutique hotel by the Weiser family, situated 100m from the Armentarola ski lift which will whisk you up to the expansive Alta Badia ski area. The great-grandparents of the Weiser family first visited this area on horseback in the 1930s and immediately fell in love with it, eventually buying land and building the Ciasa Salares. The word “Salares” harks back to the practice of giving salt to the grazing animals.
This family-run hotel, nestled in the gourmet destination of the Alta Badia region, is steeped in history. It all began in the 1930s when Paolo Wieser and Emma Mayr met in Ortisei working in the same hotel, where they soon fell in love and married in 1934. After running a hotel together in Monte Piz they saved enough money to buy some land of their own to build their first hotel in 1937. The love of hospitality has been passed down through the generations to their son Paoli who married in 1964. Paoli and his wife Hilda Pizzinini built their own guesthouse with 20 rooms and ensuites which eventually became the luxurious 5-star hotel of today. In 1965 they welcomed a son named Stefan who went on to run the property with his wife Wilma. Hilda continued to be hugely involved in the hotel, helping with the addition of new rooms and in 1968 they introduced the legendary wine bar. In 1987 the extensive wine cellar was established, which now boasts around 24,000 bottles of wine, where guests can take part in tastings or enjoy a cosy, intimate dining experience.
Wilma and Stefan’s son, Jan Clemens, is now at the helm of Ciasa Salares, the fourth generation of The Wieser Family to have inherited an undeniable passion for hospitality. Run on love, hard work and complete commitment, The Wieser’s nurture a charming, family-run atmosphere in their sensational mountain retreat. Built on Grandmother Emma’s passion for cooking and popular cooking courses back in the 1930s, Ciasa Salares is renowned for its fine dining and gourmet offerings. With 4 outstanding restaurants, locally sourced ingredients and incomparable Italian mastery, this hotel is true to its culinary roots and based on a simple desire for delicious food. Amongst these is the 2 Michelin starred restaurant La Siriola, where the youngest chef to be awarded 2 Michelin stars, Matteo Metullio, creates culinary magic focussed on typically Mediterranean food touched by ingredients and inspiration from all over the world.
A hidden gem within the hotel is the impressive chocolate room where 85 varieties of fine chocolate are available to taste and buy as part of the La Siriola dining experience, with flavours from bold liquorice to spicy chilli or refreshing mint. Staying true to their family philosophy and personal taste, the highest quality cocoa beans from the most abundant farming countries have been selected. Teamed with Pink Floyd’s psychedelic tunes transporting you to another dimension it is a truly unforgettable experience. Wine and spirit pairing adds another element to the mix, rounding off your chocolate-wine-musical adventure. If wine is not on your agenda, the legendary chocolate fountain is hugely popular for those who wish to indulge in copious amounts of chocolate dipped fruit skewers, which can still count as one of your five a day!
Wine expertise is a forte of the Wieser family with one of the largest wine cellars in Italy housing a rich selection of organic and biodynamic wines. The decor of the wine cellar is as impressive as the wine collection itself, with tables carved from local wood according to the phases of the moon, in harmony with the biodynamic philosophy. Be prepared to fall under the spell of the wine cellar and lose yourself in time, marked only by the years on the bottles.
A cheese lovers dream is waiting for you at Ciasa Salares with an entire room dedicated to cheese. A member of the ‘cheese team’ will be on hand with a mean cheese knife and a wealth of knowledge introducing you to forms, flavours and textures sure to titillate the taste buds.
Restaurant La Terrazza
“Taste & Sound” is the ideal spot to enjoy your lunch or have a snack with a live DJ set at the weekend. With Fassona beef tartare, a whopping Club Sandwich or homemade Tagliolini with lobster, there is something to satisfy everyone on one of the sunniest terraces on Alta Badia.
Breakfast at Restaurant Salares is something not to be missed with an astonishing 140 products to choose from - including local bread, selected fine cheese and cured meats, wild salmon and “Bollicine”, homemade jams as well as sweets and pastries, freshly squeezed juices and smoothies and eggs any way you like. Homely warmth with simple cooking is what this restaurant strives to produce, a 4-course evening menu awaits with top quality ingredients, prepared in a classical style.
Wine Bar Siriola
Relax in the comfortable armchairs and enjoy an aperitif, sit at the high tables for a bite to eat or enjoy a drink on the outside terrace, the wine bar is a relaxed and casual venue open in the evenings from happy hour to late, with lovingly made finger food and an exciting range of international dishes rooted in Mediterranean tradition. The must-try dish is Spaghetti cacio & pepe.
La Siriola perfectly combines freshness and passion, boasting 2 Michelin stars with an eight-course seasonal menu chosen by Italy’s youngest Michelin-starred chef Matteo Metullio including a trip to the cheese and chocolate rooms. There are also a la carte options so all palates are catered for. We had a chat to Matteo to find out more about where his passion for cooking began, where he gets his inspiration from and his favourite foods to cook. Find out some of his exclusive recipes in part 2 of this blog series, which will be released next week.
Call our travel consultants on 020 8246 5300 or enquire online to book your stay at the stunning Ciasa Salares in San Cassiano.