Hôtel des Horlogers opens in Le Brassus, France


Inspired by the Vallée de Joux, the new Hôtel des Horlogers has opened its doors in the village of Le Brassus, where its predecessor, the Hôtel de France, settled in 1857.

This hotel has been designed by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) and realised by the Swiss architecture office CCHE, two partners who also signed the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet situated a few steps away. The building’s avant-garde architecture follows the Vallée de Joux’s topography thanks to zigzagging slabs gradually descending towards the meadows. Certified Minergie-ECO, the superior 4-star Boutique hotel has implemented a holistic sustainable approach from the building development to its day-to-day operations to reduce its environmental impact.

Furthermore, the hotel’s interior design has been imagined by AUM as a tribute to the surrounding landscape, while the restaurants entrusted to Michelin-starred Chef Emmanuel Renaut rely on seasonal and locally sourced ingredients. Intended as a meeting point for local and international watchmaking, architecture and nature lovers, this welcoming venue encourages the development of tourism in the Vallée de Joux and promotes local expertise and heritage.
Bjarke Ingels conceived the hotel so that all the rooms would offer a breath-taking view of the region. Departing from the usual codes of hotel architecture, the building consists of slabs descending towards the valley and tilting slightly to embrace the topography while creating a continuous path in nature. BIG’s concept interprets the site as a series of mountain ridges running down the hill, while the building blocks form a series of berms lined with varied trees and plants.

Inside, the simple lines and refined language of the contemporary lobby contrasts with the more sinuous and rustic architectural elements that visitors can admire as they progress inside the building. An interior passageway follows the hotel’s atypical zigzagging structure and connects the 50 rooms, varying in type from the Valley Guest Room to the Signature Suite.

The hotel also encompasses two restaurants and a bar open to all, a wellness centre as well as two seminar rooms. Imagined as a meeting point for local inhabitants, tourists in search of preserved green spaces, watch and architecture enthusiasts as well as local watchmaking brands, the Hôtel des Horlogers invites visitors to take their time and connect with nature.

Inspired by the landscape of the Vallée de Joux

To build and arrange the hotel’s 8,715-sq-m surface, BIG worked in collaboration with CCHE, the appointed local architect and general planner which was also involved in the construction of the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet, as well as AUM, the interior design architect. Made of local materials such as stone and wood, the interior design immerses visitors in the Vallée de Joux’s natural environment, while blending quality, comfort and conviviality.

The ceiling of the lobby boasts imposing white trees giving the impression that the forest reflects on the Lac de Joux. The rooms’ décor is for its part welcoming and refined, interweaving local spruce surfaces, large bay windows and smooth concrete for a contemporary touch.

The Hôtel des Horlogers’ sustainable approach encompasses local partnerships so as to reduce its carbon footprint, support local communities and participate in the region’s economy. The guests enjoying a relaxing moment at the Spa will benefit from 100% Swiss products, developed by the Swiss brand Alpeor, made with plants and flowers native to the Vallée de Joux and to the neighbouring Valais region.

Local produce, which represents 70% of the hotel’s menus, will notably be honoured with a selection of regional wines and spirits, as well as locally brewed Swiss beers. In addition, the hotel has its own fruit and vegetable garden which covers part of the restaurants’ fruit, vegetable and herb supply. It also relies on fresh produce and other ingredients supplied by local producers.

For raw materials that are inevitably imported, such as tea and coffee, the hotel supports organic productions in the countries of origin. The coffee is then roasted in the Vallée de Joux and provided in biodegradable capsules.

To promote the unique heritage and know-how that developed in the Vallée de Joux, the Hôtel des Horlogers offers several watchmaking packages combining a night at the hotel with one or several visits of prestigious horological landmarks such as the Espace Horloger, private workshops, the Jaeger-LeCoultre Manufacture or the AstroVal observatory.

Among these packages, the Hôtel des Horlogers provides a limited number of tickets for one of the guided tours  of the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet which is connected to the hotel by a didactic watchmaking path. The guided visit will introduce visitors to Audemars Piguet’s rich cultural heritage through a display of some 300 timepieces spanning over 150 years of history. Architecture lovers will also be able to admire the inside of the extraordinary glass pavilion designed by BIG. – TradeArabia News Service