Climb the narrow valley from Aosta, wind around the river, traverse the valley, and enter the cobbled streets of Cogne. Built two years after the consecration of the Gran Paradiso National Park, this marvellous 1920s hotel, in the family for four generations, has the best views in town. It appears deceptively small; in fact, a tunnel connects it to a second building, the spa rolls under the green fields, and there are three chalets across the road. There’s lots to love: a Persian-rugged lounge with a Benedictine monks’ fireplace and a piano that is played before dinner; relics and artefacts in every nook and cranny; a bar with a mural dominating the ceiling; three restaurants (gourmet gnocchi with lobster? hearty fondue?) and a brasserie in town; a super playroom; and, from every window, glorious views. And… that wonderful new woody spa, its upper half (pool, loungers, sauna) open to all ages, its lower half hiding a citrus sauna, a hammam and a magical pool. Bedrooms are equally original: grandfather clocks, fires in the grate, glowing timber ceilings and marble baths that hold two.