6 of the Best Mountain Resorts to Beat the Heat

BEFORE A/C, August’s arrival meant the departure of the city’s privileged classes. Rather than endure the metropolis’s dog-day heat, the smart money—like Beijing’s Quing emperors or Fifth Avenue railroad tycoons—ascended to the nearest mountain top to take full advantage of the lapse rate. This scientific principle explains why the higher luggage is lugged, the lower the air temperature drops—dipping 5.4 degrees Fahrenheit, on average, for each 1,000-foot increase in altitude. Cheating the heat remains a wise strategy. As the humidity bears down, consider these havens up in the air.

  1. Alpina Dolomites in Italy
    The 60-room Alpina Dolomites, pictured above, is set on the Alpe di Siusi, one of Europe’s largest high-altitude alpine meadows with an elevation ranging between 5,511 and 7,709 feet. The lobby, guest rooms, spa and two pools combine a clubby modernism and dolce far niente, while heart-skipping views of the Dolomites backdrop it all. The mountains’ rock curtain of sheer cliffs, peaks and pinnacles is part of a Unesco World Heritage site, and the hotel encourages guests to explore the park. On offer: guided expeditions including a trek that ends with a cookout and ample suggestions on where else to bike or hike. To unwind, try a spa detox featuring alpine herbal baths or a hay flower massage. From about $430 a night; nearest major airports: Bolzano (Italy) and Innsbruck (Austria)

Belmond’s Monasterio is housed in a former Catholic monastery in the Andes Mountains city of Cusco.

  1. Belmond’s Monasterio in Peru
    It’s into thin air at Belmond’s Monasterio, a former Catholic monastery dating to 1592 that was built on the ruins of an Incan palace in the Peruvian city of Cusco. From the 122-room Spanish Colonial hotel, take excursions to Lake Titicaca aboard the Andean Explorer, Belmond’s luxury train, or book a daily round trip to Machu Picchu via another. The hotel, just off Cusco’s central plaza can also arrange city market and architecture tours. But take care: At the Monasterio, 11,154 feet above sea level, guests (and their lungs) may need acclimatization. The hotel injects extra oxygen into 82 rooms via the A/C ducts and will hand out oxygen canisters upon request. From $550 a night. Nearest major airport: Cusco

Volcanoes Safaris’ Virunga Lodge sits at 6,562 feet in northern Rwanda, overlooking lakes, volcanoes and the Musanze valley.

  1. Volcanoes Safaris’ Virguna Lodge in Rwanda
    The volcanic peaks of the Virunga Mountains—set along the borders of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Rwanda—support a tangle of deep forests that shelter Africa’s rare mountain gorilla. Renovated this year, Volcanoes Safaris’ Virunga Lodge is a luxe base for humans seeking close encounters with their critically endangered relations in Volcanoes National Park. At 6,562 feet, the lodge features ridgeline views of lakes, volcanoes and the Musanze valley from 10 chic and spacious suites. From $795 a night; nearest major airport: Kigali (Rwanda) via car (three hours) or helicopter (20 minutes)

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