Hospitality Design Special
By Pari Syal
Photography: Yves Garneau; courtesy Concrete
|Swiss Chalet Exterior|
W Hotel is the new ski resort in the Swiss Alps that combines the romance of Swiss chalets with the sporty spirit of skiing...
Global jet-setters and Verbier enthusiasts now have immediate access to ski-in and ski out alpine action. Four traditional wooden chalet-style buildings, interconnected by modern glass atriums give shape to the new ski resort at the foot of the slopes next to the Médran gondola in Verbier, a village located in south-western Switzerland in the canton of Valais and a famous ski area in the Swiss Alps.
Inspired by the dynamic carving of skis through snow, it brings an indelible, distinct New York City glamour to the Swiss Alps. Conceptualized and designed by Concrete under project architect, Lisa Hassanzadeh, the hotel provides guests with an unforgettable experience using interiors that complement and contrast the breathtaking scenery around the hotel.
The design features smooth lines that carve through the spaces; a movement that derives directly from the tracks left by the activities in the mountains Verbier is so famous for: the carved slopes during wintertime or the smooth mountain bike tracks in summer.
Contrasting elements – a 6m wide fireplace inside vs. the snow covered landscape outside; prolific application of natural materials such as wood, leather, felt, wool and fur wood vs. black and silver glossy materials and glacier inspired glass bars; carved blocks of natural stone vs. glamorous inlays of brass and backlit marble, juxtapose the simplicity, beauty and energy of Verbier and the contemporary cool of New York.
It is interesting to see how the mountains are ushered into the hotel by reinterpreting local elements in a contemporary way: a giant staircase (a contemporary reference to the Swiss railway system) in one of the glass atriums connecting the four chalet buildings has the mountain flowing into the built form with comfortable benches, where guests can relax, hang out, meet and flirt. While this offers a spectacular view down the valley by day, by night it pulsates with an intimate mood illuminated by deep red light.
The resort boasts of individualistic signature spaces and 123 stylish guest rooms and suites that are akin to a boutique hotel within the hotel. Specialty treatment is ingrained into the design and designation of the suites and public areas. The romanticism of the Swiss chalet-styled buildings in warm contrast to the sleek furnishings and contemporary lighting make this get-away a perfect holiday spot – luxuriant, uber chic and comfy!