I have seen pretty many hotels in my days as a travel consultant, especially hotels in the Alps.
But Hotel Bellvue, in the village of Cogne is the most beautiful I have ever seen. How comes?
Beauty is not a superficial identity of something, it is the soul of this something emanating on the outside. It could be that the soul is always beautiful, so something beautiful has a soul. A human being can hide her soul, and so can things owned by human beings, behind a surface. Many people and things seem to be beautiful on the surface, but they end beeing fake reproductions or products of plastic surgery, when you look a little closer.
These were my personal thoughts, driving home after the visit at Hotel Bellvue earlier today. I have not spent a vacation there, I was just scouting for thealps.
But after a round tour of the house, down in the terme of this place (you cannot only call it a SPA), I felt tears in my eyes, and it was not because I was sorry. It was because I was moved inside. My soul had get in touch with the beauty of another. I was in love. Or probably I was sorry not to be able to stay.
I met Laura, part of the fourth generation of the family that built this house in 1925.
Her mother was at the desk of the reception and welcomed me warmly. Laura told me the story of the hotel and I was thinking of her way of telling a little bit in a hurry, becuse she was supposed to be in Aosta in a few hours at the vernissage of an art exibition of paintings from the hotels of the Aosta Valley. Some 15 pieces were collected from the Hotel Bellvue in Cogne. Or was the hurry because she was trying to hide some of her proud, afraid of shining too brightly?
In this house (hotel is reductive as a name) nothing is fake or reproduction. Every detail is part of a very thoroughful collection, and manifests the love of the family for beautiful pieces of art. Going around the place, Laura showed a few sacred wooden sculptures from the middle age. She told me like passing by, at the same time as I was stunned by the fact that these things could be a precious part of a very respectable museum’s collection.
But I am not only talking about paintings; this house and hotel stands for genuine and authentic love for the true spirit of the mountains, and their tradition of culture and handicraft. As much as the restaurants beware the perfume of the genuine and authentic mountain restaurants that I remember from my childhood. Everything very consciously planned and taken care of. Genuinity is the opposite of reproduction.
There are many hotels in the Alps that remind of this genuinity: the wooden interiors, the food of the mountains, the old photos on the walls, the fluffy cuscions and the warm colors. There are many.
But this is the original, it is not a copy.
I have the same feeling here that I have when I stand in front of a work of Leonardo da Vinci. All my respect!
Hotel Bellvue is a place with awards from Relais & Chateau as well as Guide Michelin, but not many people know about it. Why?
Because it is in a place in the Alps like Cogne in the first Italian Natural Park of Gran Paradiso (1922) where there still are wilderness and silence, but no ski systems of any interest for the masses.
Probably only a good thing. Probably it could be the future, when man has exploited all the necessary resources to make artificial snow, to reproduce what is not there anymore that we wish we still had: authentic genuinity.
Because it is something that every human being has a longing for, something that shows the soul of things and persons and not only their shiny surface.