Freeriding, snowtubing, paragliding, heliskiing… you’ll find it all at Gudauri, Georgia’s largest ski resort. With 60km of slopes, it’s situated on the south-facing plateau of the Greater Caucasus Mountain Range and enjoys maximum exposure to the sun. Beyond the sprawling resort, the postcard-perfect views change dramatically with the seasons: wreathed with mist or bathed in crisp sunshine, carpeted with winter snow or with wild lilies in summer.
No chance of boredom in this renovated 1980s hotel located at the heart of the resort, just steps from a gondola ski lift. You can swim, play tennis, pool or ping pong, and even go bowling in the hotel’s own alley. It’s also perfectly placed for summer walks through flowering meadows onto the surrounding hills with its wild goats and the ruins of a tower. The stylish rooms favour understated neutral shades and junior suites offer a sitting room with the bed on a mezzanine above. There are several bars and the main restaurant serves classic Caucasian cuisine, from aromatic walnut and aubergine salad to rich khachapuri (cheese bread).
The loft has views towards Khazbegi mountain, while the popular pool and sun loungers look straight out onto soft snow. You can ski almost from the doorstep. After you ski back at nightfall, you’ll be serenaded by live music at supper. Hearty breakfasts set you up for another day on the slopes: made-to-order omelettes, traditional buckwheat and homemade fruit lemonades.
Various well-equipped accommodation in a functional base, close to a hairpin bend in the winding mountain road and a short stroll from the ski lift. There’s a new block in this multi-site hotel, great for people wanting to self-cater. Each smart-serviced apartment has its own little kitchen, bathroom, sitting room with cable TV, music centre and free Wi-Fi. The neighbouring pool and spa cost a little extra and there’s also a good restaurant next door.
Gudauri’s Best Western offers a free shuttle bus to the ski lift. Every room has a balcony with mountain views. Crisp linen and pristine plate glass are offset by wooden details, dark green walls and egg-yolk yellow curtains. This is a hotel working hard on the details, from the pine-smelling sauna and outdoor hot tub, steaming in the mountain air, to the high-ceilinged Georgian-gourmet restaurant.
A couple of cows wander past the half-timbered chalets and roadside cafés. At the northern end of Gudauri, with fewer new hotels and more hostels, the family-run Retro is a budget-friendly hotel in a comfortably faded style. There’s a dartboard and table football in the little bar, where you can down shots of honey-chilli vodka or sip sweet Kindzmarauli wine, with its hints of damson and spices.
The Quadrum is located at the top end of town, where the old military highway winds upwards towards Kazbegi. It’s a 10-minute drive to Gudauri’s most breath-taking viewpoint and the striking Treaty of Georgievsk Monument. Sandro Ramishvili’s inventively stepped architecture ensures every spacious room of the Quadrum has a view; in the suite, you can even see the mountains from the jacuzzi. A state-of-the-art pool feels as if you are swimming into the snow outside. The second-floor restaurant serves Georgian classics like meaty khinkali (dumplings) or lobio (bean stew with coriander).
Seize the day from a laid-back resort set slightly away from the main road and close to the ski lift. Almost everything you need, from a spa to a little cinema, is on site and there are grand views from the lounge’s plush sofas, bedrooms and terrace. Try salty sheep’s cheese or nutty vegetable phkali appetisers in the restaurant to go with some exceptional Georgian wines, like Chateau Mukhrani’s soft, semi-sweet crimson Khvanchkara with its hints of raspberry and strawberry.
Fusion-queen Tekuna Gachechiladze founded the Khasheria restaurant at the Lodge and the menu showcases her characteristically innovative takes on traditional Georgian ingredients: pumpkin with damson sauce or spicy kupati sausage with pureed chestnuts. Wash it down with natural wine, fermented in big clay jars called qvevri. From the palm-fronded lounge to the pine-decked outdoor hot tub overlooking the mountains, the hotel has a luxurious and elegant feel. Included is a sauna, steam room, gym and glass-walled pool.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.