Many of us have a go-to hotel that we frequently return to due to cherished memories and other unexplained reasons. Some may say that the décor plays a significant role in this attraction.

If you relate, you’re not alone. Teresa Unterthiner, owner and general manager of FORESTIS Dolomites, feels the same. Let’s explore décor strategies to rekindle that atmosphere in your living space.

Located atop Palmschoß on the Plose above Brixen at an elevation of 1,800 m, FORESTIS Dolomites is surrounded by a dense mountain forest, offering breathtaking views of the Dolomites Unesco World Heritage Site and the nearby Puez-Geisler Nature Park in South Tyrol, a province in northern Italy.

Teresa Unterthiner (left), owner and general manager of FORESTIS Dolomites

The unique architecture features three distinctive suite towers inspired by tree trunks of varying heights. These towers are seamlessly integrated with a historic building dating back to 1912, resembling trees reaching towards the sky and harmonising perfectly with the natural surroundings.

All 62 FORESTIS suites are designed with a south-facing orientation, providing abundant sunshine and picturesque views of the Dolomites Unesco World Heritage Site.

The interior design blends sustainable construction techniques, natural materials, light earthy tones and minimalist furnishings, fostering a serene environment immersed in nature.

The expansive FORESTIS Spa, sprawling 2,000 sq m (approximately 21,528 sq ft) beneath the towers, offers guests a distinctive wellness experience with panoramic views of the Dolomites Unesco World Heritage Site. Inspired by ancient Celtic philosophy, which revered the forest and nature as sacred guides, it provides a unique retreat.

Here, Unterthiner demonstrates how to replicate a hotel-like atmosphere in your home.

FORESTIS Dolomites is nestled in a dense mountain forest, offering breathtaking views of the Dolomites, a Unesco World Heritage Site

What key elements in a hotel’s design and atmosphere could be replicated in a home setting? 
Like a home, a hotel, or, in our case, our hideaway, FORESTIS is a house that needs to be filled with life. That life primarily comes from the people who are inside. Creating a beautiful interior and interplay between the exterior and room is crucial for them to be happy. It is all about materials, colours, lightning and smell when creating a beautiful luxury environment for a home and a hotel. 

Could you describe the colour schemes and textures used in your hotels that help create a luxurious yet comfortable environment? How can someone incorporate these elements into their home décor? 
Simplicity is key. We have chosen a very strict selection of materials and colours at FORESTIS: Wood, stone, glass and fabric. Homeowners should also focus on a maximum of four different materials. After choosing these defining elements, we arranged them in position and colour. Staying true to our nature-loving concept, we opted for light earth colours and shades of grey. This is very relaxing to the eye and transmits a sense of luxury to everyone in our hideaway. 

The interior design features sustainable construction techniques, natural materials, light earthy tones and minimalist furnishings, creating a serene environment that is deeply connected to nature

What types of furniture are essential in achieving the signature comfort of your hotel rooms? What should homeowners look for when selecting pieces for their living spaces? 
Seating is essential when creating a comfortable and luxurious living space. At FORESTIS, we spent a lot of time creating the most beautiful and comfortable armchairs and sofas. Together with a local supplier, these pieces were designed and later produced. Homeowners should always apply two testing phases before buying pieces for their living area. The first selection should be made because of design, but the final decision should always be led by comfort and feeling. 

Lighting plays a crucial role in setting the mood in any space. What lighting techniques do you use in your hotels that homeowners could adopt? 
We chose to have warm lights in our suites and throughout the hotel. In that way, we created a wellbeing-focused atmosphere where people feel relaxed. This is something that can be easily adopted into a home. Light has two key roles in a room: Design and functional elements. Spotlights may be placed to highlight certain areas of importance. We did this in our hideaway, but it can also be easily done at home. 

Install large windows to let nature create a dynamic, ever-changing scenery that evolves by the hour

How do you choose art and decorative elements for your hotel rooms? Any advice for homeowners looking for pieces that create a similar ambience?
At FORESTIS, we decided not to display any artwork on walls or in sculptures. The only exception is an original fossil. It is an ammonite that is 130 million years old and was found in the Dolomites. 

The decision to have no artwork at FORESTIS was driven by the fact that our surrounding nature outside is an artwork itself. In that way, we could build big windows and let nature create a big, changing scenery that is different by the hour. 

This absolute luxury cannot be adapted to every home, of course. Therefore, every homeowner must carefully select the views and objects they would like to see and be surrounded by and place them strategically to be constantly reminded about beauty and art. 

What aromatics do you use in your hotels and how can these be incorporated into your homes? 
At FORESTIS, all the materials are used most naturally. These individual materials all diffuse their scents. 

When entering our hideaway and the suites, the profound and distinctive smell of wood can be detected immediately. 

Since the opening of FORESTIS, we have created and crafted our room sprays for our guests to bring them home. Selecting a scent for one’s home is as personal as selecting a fragrance for the body. When creating a home, I think one needs to stay loyal to personal preferences to create an authentic feeling. 

Selecting a scent for one’s home is as personal as selecting a fragrance for the body

Many hotels create a seamless flow between indoor and outdoor spaces. What design principles do you follow to achieve this and how can these be applied in a residential setting? 
To create a seamless indoor and outdoor flow, including the surrounding nature in the room is crucial. While creating the concept of FORESTIS, it was already clear to us that we wanted to have huge windows. In that way, the outdoors automatically interacts with the indoors. Also, it is essential to carefully remove each object or furniture piece from the room so the surrounding nature, seen through the windows, remains in the constant centre of attention. 

Hotels often showcase a distinct brand identity in their design. How can homeowners infuse their home decor with a unique and personal ‘brand’ that mirrors their personality while providing the comfort of a luxury hotel?
The driving questions are always: What do I, as a homeowner, want? What is important to me? The focus is on personal emotion. Everybody has a strong instinct that helps us define what one needs and what makes one happy. To create a brand, one should select the pieces by following their intuition and then place them with the accuracy of a luxury hotel. Every object in a hotel room is carefully selected and placed in the most convenient way and position. This can be perfectly adapted to a private home.

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