John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
This wee hotel gives a front-row seat to the stars and rosy auras of Italy’s famed mountains.
When life gets to be too much to bear, let it be known there’s a glass cube high in the Dolomites where you can be alone with your thoughts, nature’s beauty, and (if you desire another’s warmth) perhaps an abominable-snowman roommate.
The Starlight Room Dolomites is a mini-hotel that kind of looks like a cute outhouse on skis. It rests on snowy ground in the Cortina d'Ampezzo resort some 6,700 feet up in the Dolomites, a mountain range in northern Italy that’s technically part of the Alps. The room was designed by Raniero Campigotto, a manager at the nearby Rifugio Col Gallina, and costs 300 euros per night (dinner and breakfast included).
Why would you want to be cloistered in a glass vitrine in an avalanche-prone place with below-zero winter temperatures? The idea is to bask in the incredible sights of the mountains, a UNESCO World Heritage site, according to a press release:
From sunset to sunrise, admire front row views of the spectacular sky at altitude from the comfort of a warm bedroom with glass walls….
Located in Col Gallina, only a few kilometers from the centre of Cortina, the Starlight Room offers a unique opportunity to experience the night sky far away from any source of light pollution. Just you and the sky…. At sunset the famous ‘enrosadira’ sets the Dolomites ablaze with fiery shades of red. During nighttime, the multitude of stars across the sky appear so close you can almost reach out and touch them…. And finally, at dawn, see the Dolomites blushing pink as they are kissed by the first rays of the rising sun.
If stargazing isn’t your thing, perhaps you’ll be lured by the offerings of free grappa and a “starry playlist” to groove the night away. Here are some more views captured by photographer Giacomo Pompanin: