The Vallée de Joux, located in the Swiss Jura mountains, is a legendary place and a familiar name to those who obsess over high-end watches. It houses some of the most respected names in horology including Blancpain, Patek Philippe, Vacheron Constantin and Jaeger-LeCoultre. What better place for a new eco-friendly hotel? Inspired by the beauty of the local environment and designed as a meeting point for those interested in watches and architecture, the Hôtel des Horlogers is the brainchild of Swiss watchmakers Audemars Piguet. It opens its doors as the brand celebrates the 50th anniversary of its most famous watch, the Royal Oak.
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Set in the village of Le Brassus, the hotel is a stunning and inventive creation that aims to showcase the best that the region offers, be that food, spa treatments or good old-fashioned breathtaking views. And of course, with the whole area steeped in watchmaking history, the hotel draws from that heritage.
The distinctive building was brought to life by Bjarke Ingels Group and Swiss architecture office CCHE, the names behind AP’s Musée Atelier. It’s a striking design that features a quirky zig-zag style with the hotel following the shape of the mountain down to the meadows below. Imagine a building that traces the natural ridges of a mountainside but with a unique internal corridor that then follows the hotel as it descends over five floors.
Externally, it fits seamlessly into the surrounding environment and features a simple, almost rustic style. Internally, the natural theme continues with each of the 50 rooms incorporating local spruce, smooth concrete and large windows that offer views of the Risoud Forest. The forest is referenced throughout the hotel, with bleached-white trees hanging from the ceiling. But don’t worry, watches are referenced too, with a library of watchmaking books at hand.
The Swiss take pride in their watchmaking skills and this carries over to the Hôtel des Horlogers where materials are sourced locally as much as possible – also making the hotel Minergie-ECO certified. The hot water and heating are supplied by a local wood-based heating network and the hotel offers bio-degradable slippers, spa products made using plants and flowers from the Vallée de Joux and a bar stocked with Swiss-made beers.
The Hôtel des Horlogers offers an authentic experience that channels the charm and natural beauty of the region into a modern and distinctive eco-friendly building. It includes the luxuries of a 4-star hotel, including dining by French three-Michelin-starred Chef Emmanuel Renaut. But it also offers sustainability and a simple aesthetic, ideal for fans of both watches and architecture.