Beach destinations might usually steal the spotlight each summer, but it’s mountains resorts which offer a slice of true tranquility. Eastern Europe, the Balkans, the Caucasus, and Central Asia are all home to some of the world’s most spectacular mountain ranges, as well as innovative alpine architecture and eco-resorts. Even if you don’t want to hike or ski, climbing great heights is the perfect way to enjoy some quiet respite among the clouds. At The Calvert Journal, we’ve selected three of our favourite mountain destinations to find inner peace and escape the crowds.
This futuristic cannon-like resort is nothing less than Europe’s highest hotel. Elegantly blending in with the surrounded snow-capped slopes, LEAPrus 3912 sits atop Mount Elbrus at 4000m on the Russian side of the Caucasus mountain range. Designed by Italian alpine pod specialists The Leap Factory, the resort features three colourful tube-like units, each of which contains enough space to sleep 46 people.
There’s also a kitchen, a restaurant, a living area and separate accommodation for staff, all with the benefits of heated floors and a biological de-purifier. Situated on an immense glacier on the normal ascent route to the summit, the view from the hotel will — literally — leave you breathless.
For a more luxurious experience, Georgia’s boutique Quadrum Ski and Yoga resort, constructed entirely out of shipping containers, will satisfy winter sports enthusiasts and architecture-lovers alike. Its pyramid-like structure, built to resemble a mountain, exclusively employs materials that are environmentally friendly and of local production, reflecting the eco-resort’s commitment to adjusting to its surroundings in the Gudauri ski resort.
Opened in 2017, this minimalist resort offers 11 bedrooms, including singles, doubles, family suites, and deluxe suites. If you’re not a skiing fanatic, the hotel also accommodates less adventurous forms of exercise in its swimming pool, yoga, and fitness room. And while it might be demanding on your budget, this exclusive hotel also gives you a lot of bang for your buck. If you can, book a bedroom on the upper floors: the panoramic view from the terrace offers a 360° experience of the snow-capped Caucasus peaks.
Experienced mountaineers who are after a little more privacy can opt for the three-floored Bivak Pod Grintovcem, designed by Miha Kajzelj, in Slovenia’s Kamnik Alps. This little-known architectural gem is one of the world’s smallest alpine retreats, measuring only 9.7 square metres.
Located on the Slovenian-Italian border, this minimalist cabin stands on a mountain plateau at 2080 metres above sea level, serving as a landmark in the vast martian landscape. Rather than a hotel, Bivak Pod Grintovcem operates as a mountain shelter, and it is open non-stop for mountaineers free of charge — an otherworldly reward for the courageous ones that manage to reach it.