Ottmanngut is a charming small boutique hotel that lies nestled in an enchanting Mediterranean garden with beautiful views of the Alpine mountain tops.
How would you describe White Deer San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge in a nutshell?
White Deer San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge is the luxurious vacation rental for anyone who is looking for simple luxury in South Tyrol. This former hunting lodge was turned into a very cozy and romantic four-bedroom vacation home for up to 10 guests. You'll cherish dramatic views of unspoiled nature and mountain peaks, a private helipad and 19-hole golf course, a wine cellar with over 1,500 bottles, a finnish sauna, a turkish bath, and an outdoor whirlpool. However, the best of all might just be Giorgia's cooking. Breakfast, afternoon tea and dinner are included in the rates and will leave you wanting more.
White Deer San Lorenzo used to be a hunting lodge of local noblemen. Please tell us a bit about the history of the property.
White Deer San Lorenzo used to be the 16th century hunting house of the Bishop of Brixen. Brixen is one of the biggest cities near the lodge, and the Bishop was not only a religious but also a politically important man in the region during that period. He used to come to the lodge for deer hunting, so it was built just for his enjoyment of hunting.
After that, it passed through other important families but was always used as a vacation home. Only at the beginning of the 20th century was it used as a farmhouse. We discovered it after five years of searching for the perfect property.
You and your wife used to work in the fashion industry. What inspired you to completely change your life?
Originally we bought the lodge as a vacation home, a place to escape the city. But one day we realized that we wanted to put more emphasis on the quality of our life. We left our jobs and decided to move the family to the lodge and start a new business and a new life.
We had a lot of problems to solve, but we also had a lot of enthusiasm. We expected moving the children to the middle of nowhere to be the most problematic part, but they are actually very happy to live here at San Lorenzo. And we are as well.
White Deer San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge was restored with a lot of attention to detail and respect for local traditions. How would you describe its style?
The chalet is under protection as a historical monument, but when we found it, it was completely empty and in a very bad condition. For example, instead of wood, there was linoleum in many of the rooms, and no bathroom or heating. The first big renovation was done when we bought the chalet and took about one year. We spent another 10 months to refurbish it again when we started the new business.
How would you describe the philosophy of White Deer San Lorenzo Mountain Lodge?
We follow the philosophy that the vacation guests should live a dream. We want people to be able to relax, to forget their normal lives. When we first bought San Lorenzo, we wanted to reach that same goal for us.
Our vacation guests usually have a lot of activities planned but when they arrive at the lodge, they completely change their minds. Guests just relax. And that’s the goal!
What are some of the more unusual activities that you offer?
Most of our guests are businessmen coming with their families or a group of friends. They lead very stressful lives, but if you give them an axe and invite them to go to the woods together to chop wood, in half an hour they become children. They completely forget their normal lives and begin to enjoy themselves.
We take children to our farm where they can milk cows and drink the fresh milk. Many children don’t know where milk actually comes from, so it’s very exciting for them.
Food also plays a very important role in your philosophy.
People can cook themselves at White Deer, but we haven’t had a client yet asking for a self-catering stay. They all ask for the VIP service which includes breakfast, tea time and dinner. For dinner, you have the option to hire a renowned chef, but guests usually ask for Giorgia’s recipes. Some of our guests are even pushing Giorgia to write a cookbook or offer cooking classes because they find her recipes unbelievable.
Giorgia is not a professional but a very passionate cook. She likes to satisfy the requests of the guests and is very flexible in preparing whatever the guests want. When clients sign the guestbook, they always mention the wonderful food experience they had here.
The ingredients are also very important to us. The meat comes from our own or from the neighbor’s farm. The milk and butter come from our own cows. The eggs come from the farm next door. Everything is local.
To you personally, what has been most rewarding about running San Lorenzo?
Running the lodge is a work in progress every day, but we feel we are in a good place right now. Many of our guests have visited other luxury chalets in Switzerland and France but they all say that White Deer is a completely different experience. Firstly, because it’s not just a winter chalet — you can experience wonderful activities all year round — and secondly because of our personal touch, which makes a big difference as well.
When we were guests ourselves, the biggest complaint we had was that it was possible to find a beautiful chalet but the service was generally very cold. We think we’ve created the perfect place here. It’s very hard to capture that in pictures — you have to experience it in person.