The interiors are modern, open, artistic, with a very different design language from their watches
December 20, 2022: Inspired by the seat of watchmaking - Vallée de Joux in Switzerland – Audemars Piguet’s newly renovated Hôtel des Horlogers opens its doors in the village of Le Brassus.
It’s not the first time a lifestyle brand has opened a hotel. Think Bvlgari and Armani. The location of this hotel, however, is noteworthy, as the watchmaker gives a tribute to its origins through this hotel.
In 2003, Audemars Piguet purchased and refurbished this local historical landmark, previously known as Hotel de France. Its doors opened to a new generation of visitors in 2005 under the name of the Hôtel des Horlogers. Then, willing to embark on a project more in line with the brand’s values and evolving ecological norms, Audemars Piguet closed the hotel in 2016 to rethink its design. The first stone of the new project was laid on June 4, 2018. After four years of work, the Hôtel des Horlogers is now ready to follow in its predecessors’ footsteps and welcome its new visitors to the Vallée de Joux.
This hotel has been designed and executed by BIG – Bjarke Ingels Group and 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, which ensures that all the rooms offer a breath-taking view of the region. Inside, 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.
AUM, the interior design architect, used local materials such as stone and wood to create the interior design, which 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 refined, interweaving local spruce surfaces, large bay windows and smooth concrete for a contemporary touch.
The Hôtel des Horlogers’ three eating establishments are under the supervision of French three-Michelin-starred Chef, Emmanuel Renaut. First, the Bar des Horlogers pays tribute to the Vallée de Joux’s inhabitants. Its small local à la carte menu and its signature cocktails made from plants from the Risoud Forest can be enjoyed throughout the week in a relaxing atmosphere.
The 80-seater Le Gogant (meaning an often-isolated white fir tree), presents a refined extensive menu served throughout the week, at lunch and dinner. The restaurant’s large bay windows open onto both the meadows and the kitchen for a unique dining experience in a décor inspired by the Vallée de Joux.
La Table des Horlogers is a more intimate concept where up to 12 guests gather around a single table for a convivial experience. A tasting menu is served every day for a unique exploration of the senses.
The hotel’s hot water and heating system are supplied by the remote local wood-based heating network Le Brassus Bois SA which offers a fully local and sustainable solution, while 126 photovoltaic panels provide part of the energy needed for the establishment. Furthermore, water sourced in Le Brassus is bottled on site to drastically reduce grey energy linked to transportation, while organic waste is transformed into biomass via a Meiko Green Waste Solutions system before being converted into electricity and heat.
The Spa offers 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. The hotel has its own fruit and vegetable garden which covers part of the restaurants’ fruit, vegetable and herb supply. 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.
All cosmetics provided in the rooms are fully traceable and supplied in eco-friendly dispensers, thus reducing waste by 67 % and minimising the hotel’s environmental impact. The hotel team has also opted for hessian bags, wooden combs, fully biodegradable slippers and even pencils containing thyme seeds instead of the usual pens.
Lastly, the hotel’s two car parks, with underground and outdoor spaces, are equipped with 10 charging stations for e-cars and 10 for e-bikes.
To promote the unique heritage of watchmaking, 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. The Hôtel also 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 Hôtel des Horlogers builds on the history of the Hôtel de France, which was established in Le Brassus in 1857 and welcomed international visitors to the Vallée de Joux for over a century. The hotel was an important stop on the Chemin des Horlogers – the watchmaking route that connected the Vallée de Joux workshops to Geneva, where timepieces were sold by retailers. A historically meaningful location, coupled with local, sustainable touches, makes it a unique hotel that will stand the test of time, yet again.