Andy Mossack discovers the magnificent Belleview Hotel and Spa in Cogne, an alpine village in Italy’s Aosta Valley.
The legendary Belleview Hotel and Spa stands out like a beacon of wellness on its coveted perch right at the doorstep of the Paradiso National Park. All it needs is arms stretched out in a welcoming embrace and the scene would be perfect.
This Relais & Chateaux-listed chalet-style hotel has been the benchmark for Cogne luxury since 1925, and still family owned and run by third generation family member Laura Roullet. It’s a remarkable property in a remarkable location, as one year after opening, the government banned any further construction on the verdant Meadow of Sant’Orso right where the hotel sits, allowing guests unprecedented views and access to the national park into perpetuity.
These days the Belleview Hotel and Spa is far bigger than the original, although within its aged stone and wood framework it still retains an air of sophistication and collected history. Much of the recent renovation was due to Laura’s late father, who transformed the basement into a 12,000 square metre state-of-the-art aquatic and wellness area including two indoor pools, six different saunas (straw, citrus, infrared, bio and Finnish), a hammam and Roman bath, a salt cave an ice room and multi-sensory showers.
There’s an extensive list of spa treatments with expert in-house therapists, (which I can fully recommend having experienced an hour’s relaxing massage that did wonders for my holistic wellbeing) plus a fully equipped fitness area.
The recently opened Angel’s Nest suite was another of his innovations. Floor to ceiling 180-degree panoramic views of the Mont Blanc and Gran Paradiso glaciers, a huge, covered terrace, plus an extraordinary bathtub surrounded by glass walls that, at the touch of a button, slides outside seemingly suspended in midair!
Upstairs, my spacious deluxe double room was a study in alpine sturdy timber. Wood panelled floor and ceiling, walk in wardrobe, a vast double bed, elegant period furniture and a wonderful spacious balcony facing out across the Meadow of Sant’Orso to the magnificent Gran Paradiso peaks in the distance.
And in the bathroom, along with a bath and separate shower, a surprise. A small ornamental tap which turned out to be free flowing glacial mineral water freshly delivered from the mountains.
Back downstairs I was spoilt for choice when it came to serious digestive matters. The Belleview is the main dining area where you’ll find traditional Italian classics and local specialities with nothing but sweeping views of the Gran Paradiso National Park for company.
For more traditional flavours, the Bar à Fromage Restaurant De Montagne is a celebration of Cogne’s alpine mountain cuisine. It’s proper old school, with a blazing hearth, stacks of rustic earthenware and delicious slow-cooked recipes.
For a more family-style experience, the Brasserie du Bon Bec is just as rustic but aimed at sharing plates of fondues and mixed grills in a very informal setting, almost like a local village pub. I enjoyed a fabulous lunch there straight after a hike, so no standing on ceremony here.
Quite the opposite to La Petit Bellevue which is all about fine dining. Just six tables, each each one using real materials from the 16th to the 21st centuries but gracing a menu which is clearly curated for the modern fine-dining palate.
While we’re on the subject of fine dining, the extraordinary wine cellar of the Belleview Hotel and Spa is something to behold. A veritable temple of the vine, containing over 18,000 bottles, each one of them protected and cherished by multi award-winning Master Sommelier Rino Billia. “30% of our guests enjoy coming here just for our menu.” Rino told me while he proudly showed me around his domain. It was, to say the very least, drop dead impressive.
As is Belleview Hotel and Spa’s air-conditioned cheese cellar, where premium cheese wheels from all over Italy lay sleeping peacefully on shelves including the legendary local Fontina of course. The hotel gets all of them freshly delivered direct from the dairies, allowing them to slowly mature right here for as long as it takes. Very impressive.
For me, having the owning family fully invested in running a property makes such a difference to the guest experience, and there’s no doubting Laura’s commitment to the cause. Dressed in the traditional alpine dirndl, as are all the Belleview Hotel and Spa team, she demonstrates this is a clear celebration of Cogne’s traditions and hospitality and not simply meaningless fancy dress.
Having chatted with Laura about the challenges of running a hotel with such high expectations, it was clear to me that she values her guests’ wellbeing more than anything else. Every aspect of the Belleview Hotel and Spa, no matter how trivial, seems to get her attention. It must run in the family DNA.
Attention to detail is a phrase so often used in the hotel industry as a throwaway line. Here at the Bellevue Hotel and Spa, it’s a way of life, and in my opinion fully justifies this hotel’s top-drawer reputation within the Aosta Valley.
Tell me more about the Bellevue Hotel and Spa
Bellevue Hotel and Spa, Rue Grand Paradis, 22 Cogne – Italy
T: +39 0165 74825 E: email@example.com
Nightly rates for the Bellevue Hotel and Spa
Small room: from € 270, Superior: from € 310, Deluxe from € 350, Deluxe prestige: from €390, Junior Suite: from € 420, Suite: from € 430, Angels Nest: from € 770