Elisabetta Dotto is part of a long dynasty of hoteliers and grew up behind the counters of the hotels run by her grandmother and father in the years when the history of the hotellerie was being made in Italy and abroad, in the 1960s and 1970s.

After a myriad of experiences in the tourism industry, she moved to Cortina d'Ampezzo, where she realised her dream of transforming an old inn into a successful fashion boutique hotel. Not satisfied, she has decided to share the experiences of an electrifying life with the public in the recently published Reminiscences of an Innkeeper (published both in Italian and English), in which she tells her story without filters, as she does in our interview and in the excerpt from the book we share about her vision in hotel design.

I will start by asking you what prompted you to create such a pop and elegant work.

I wanted a colourful pop book that would emerge in the story with a strong chromatic and design presence. The aim was also to create a container in harmony with my 'creatures'.

In your book, you do not spare tales of joys and sorrows about a profession that is demanding. Was it hard to lay yourself bare before the readers?

I have exposed aspects of my present and past private life as in a conversation between close friends, my intention was also to tell my story to explain myself as a person. I am this way because I came out and grew up in certain environments.

What image do you hope this colourful volume gives of you?

Of a committed and passionate hotelier.

How did you go about choosing the rich iconographic apparatus, juggling the most representative images?

The images tell a story, a work, and a result. I chose those that could best represent the path and the effort to achieve that result.

May I ask you what side events you will organise in this regard and what are your future plans?

The idea is to do a book tour in Italy, and why not around the world, I like the idea of encouraging with my story to inspire or reassure the new generations entering the world of hospitality. A wonderful world made of human relationships and empathy challenges.

[…] Designing a hotel is anything but simple, it requires more than financial resources, it requires clear ideas, imagination, projection, creativity first, and implementation later. Not to mention the maintenance and updating with respect to a created concept that is never totally timeless, but like the most classic handbags or must-have shoes in the fashion world, every now and then it has to be partially renewed, often completely. One of the most difficult challenges is to design a place suitable for relaxation and leisure, a place that encourages dreams and escape from everyday life, that allows one to put aside problems and anxieties, at least for a while. For this reason, as already mentioned, I believe it is very difficult to turn a place of suffering such as a hospital or a mental asylum into a hotel (some people have done it), the suffering remains somehow imbued within the walls, rumours run rampant and may not bring good to the project, bring out shadows from the past that people on holiday or business trips have no desire to encounter. It is quite easy to recognise these places with very long corridors, small rooms, and all the same, the floor plan speaks for itself, and in these cases, there is little one can do, at least from my point of view.

As I said, it is very important for me to feel a place, to perceive and then to make the customer feel positive vibes, a pleasant and relaxed atmosphere, and every element, even the smallest detail, contributes solely and solely to fulfilling this purpose. I have seen funded groups spend huge sums of money in unlikely places. Result: embarrassing structures.

As far as historical dwellings are concerned, adapted to the discourse just made, monasteries can be considered an exception, because they are linked to meditation and prayer, to isolation from the world and protection, which in some cases are feelings and sensations that are perfectly suited to a holiday hotel. They are places that naturally take you to another dimension and many of them have become five-star luxury hotels, maintaining their original structure, also because Italian law, quite rightly, protects these places and even when they are converted to hotels, demands that their structure be respected and preserved. The best have beautiful botanical gardens, where one can still hear (those who can) the echo of angelic chants of monks or cloistered nuns. Places where there has been art, history, meditation are often positively converted. The ideal hotel could be housed in a beautiful villa, a barn, a period residence, a downtown palace, an important church or a country farmhouse The options are many, but all have in common that they have been the setting for people's lives and have preserved their memory.

[…] I have grasped the synergy between fashion and hotels from a natural inclination before others. A trend that over time has become established and consolidated, giving rise to entire hotel chains that carry a brand linked to fashion, usually in large cities where many people pass by and are struck by this combination, and indirectly become curious and attached not only to a brand, but to the world that that brand offers. The hotel thus becomes a brand ambassador. You could say that my brand is me, beyond the brands I have created. I often hear people say 'Elisabetta's hotels', precisely following this idea that I have tried to share, even though it is very personal and not easy to put into words. You can rationalise the process, but there is also an element of imponderable madness and inspiration that comes from the heart and of which I am proud. Hotels are theatres of beauty in which one is constantly performing. A beautiful hotel will attract beautiful people, and if beauty cannot be commanded and there is never an end to beauty, let us let ourselves be carried away by this flood and catch the wonder in the eyes of those who enter the spaces we have designed for the first time and are amazed and excited. Through a certain twinkle in their eyes, they realise that 'it was just the place I had always dreamed of going to'. Here in those moments, despite the tiredness, the car journeys at night up and down between the Venice lagoon and the Dolomites, I don't feel tired, and I feel rewarded for everything. And I am happy.