Women in Hindu and Muslim families across the Middle East and Asia are sometimes confined to their own quarters, known as the zenana, as opposed to the mardana, for men only. The zenana is synonymous with sisterly camaraderie, and you might get a similar sense of camaraderie when you enter this lovely place to stay: as if entering a secret girls’ club where you are instantly made to feel welcome. While the rooms are mostly pretty and feminine, men are more than welcome – no one feels out of place.
     The 18thC building became popular as a Viennese coffee shop and is still very much at the heart of San Candido’s life as it stands on the town’s no-traffic main street. An historical wooden staircase has been retained connecting the nine rooms on three floors. Walking up the steps might feel like taking a journey through time: many influential women have inspired the bedrooms, from Audrey Hepburn to Anastasia, last daughter of the Tsar. Each room is individually decorated with furniture, ornaments and fabrics witnesses to the owners’ many travels. From colourful glass chandeliers to a chest with each drawer decorated in different colours and patterns, fluffy blankets casually abandoned on the sofa’s armrest, four-poster beds and wide, bright windows, nothing is left to chance. The cozy atmosphere is carefully crafted.
     San Candido is a perfect base for downhill and cross-country skiing, hiking, climbing and many other activities. On your return you might be welcomed by the delicious aroma of homemade cakes baking in the oven for the ‘merenda’ (afternoon snack) to lift your energy before dinner. Breakfast offers wide variety, including a secret morning drink – don’t forget to ask for the recipe to make it at home – it includes turmeric, ginger and honey.
     A comfortable and relaxing place, and prices are fair - especially after the Zenana was awarded its fourth star in December 2016.