The Good Life

Cristallo, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

By Laurie Kahle | From Top 25 Annual Cigar Of The Year, January/February 2019
Cristallo, Cortina d’Ampezzo, Italy

You may recognize Cortina d’Ampezzo as the impeccably chic alpine destination that attracted jet-setters, jewel thieves and a clueless police inspector in the 1963 film The Pink Panther. Today, it’s an under-the-radar resort town in an extensive ski network that just got a $100 million upgrade to go with the recent renovation to the Cristallo, where Peter Sellers resided between takes as Inspector Clouseau.

The craggy peaks of the Dolomites, shifting from gray to pink with the light, surround the charming village. This season, the enormous Dolomiti Superski zone, covering 12 ski resorts and nearly 800 miles of runs, has new cable cars and lifts, slopes and snowmaking equipment. Largely geared for beginner and intermediate skiers, it also provides plenty of black-diamond slopes and the options to heli-ski or go off-piste.

Area heritage includes the World War I era, when it saw intense fighting (the remnants of which can be toured on skis), and the 1956 Winter Olympics. The hotel itself was founded in 1901 as The Palace Hotel. Recently, it became part of the Luxury Collection of the Marriott, with a renovation that refreshed its 74 rooms and 20 suites. Some have balconies and breathtaking mountain views. The décor evokes a luxurious chalet with light-wood paneling, parquet floors, and hand-painted floral decorations contrasted with crystal chandeliers and faux fur throws.

The Cristallo’s wood-paneled La Stube 1872 restaurant conjures a mountain cabin with its antique majolica stove and a menu that celebrates local dishes that fuse Tyrolean and Italian influences. Casunziei all’ampezzana is a beetroot and potato ravioli tossed in butter with sage and poppy seeds. House-made pork sausages are paired with polenta and mushrooms, and the dessert specialty is a delectable apple strudel.

At the elegant Il Gazebo, you can sample degustation menus and seasonal gastronomy cultivated by executive chef Marco Pirelli. After dinner, visit the humidor in the Lounge Bar and head out to the terrace for a smoke.

Visit the-luxury-collection.marriott.com

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