Audemars Piguet’s Hôtel des Horlogers In Switzerland Encourages Guests To ‘Make Time’ For Themselves

Audemars Piguet’s Hôtel des Horlogers is a 50-room hotel showcasing a contemporary interpretation of vernacular Swiss chalet-style architecture as a response to the site's topography.

  • 28 Jun '24
  • 11:47 am by Pallavi Mehra

The Vallée de Joux is considered the birthplace of fine watchmaking. In 1875, two childhood friends reconnected in 1874 to form a partnership of exquisite Swiss watchmaking in the awe-inspiring region near the Jura mountains, north of Geneva. Considered the birthplace of watchmaking and home to Audemars Piguet’s office in Le Brassus, it is full of museums and experiences for horology enthusiasts.  

Nestled in the heart of the Vallée de Joux, Le Brassus, Switzerland, sits Hôtel des Horlogers. At first glance, this terraced zig-zag building appears to be an extension of the surrounding verdant forest. When you look closely, you realise it is a unique luxury hotel. Opened in 2022, Hôtel des Horlogers (translated to Hotel of the Watchmakers) is a 4-star hotel surrounded by the Jura Mountains and Lake Neuchâtel. Conceptualised by renowned Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), the hotel’s interiors and architecture are inspired by the world of horology, and it offers a range of experiences related to watchmaking, such as workshops and visits to local watchmakers. Furthermore, the hotel is committed to environmentally sustainable practices and has been awarded the Gold certification by the Green Key eco-label. 



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Hôtel des Horlogers is a 50-room hotel exhibiting a contemporary take on the vernacular Swiss chalet-style architecture. Image Credit: Maris Mezulis.


Biophilic Design

Additionally, for the conceptual design of this distinctive hotel, BIG was inspired by the natural scenic landscape. The property has been carefully designed to blend in with the picturesque surroundings. The meandering building features well-landscaped terraces. This way, nature pours within and merges with the hotel. “In designing the hotel, we aimed to respect what was there already, but create something new that has its own identity and adds to the context. The hotel is nestled into the landscape behind the historical town waiting to be discovered; this idea of discovery and using topography as part of the design was also the driver for the hotel,” mentions Daniel Sundlin, partner at Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG).

BIG was inspired by the natural surrounding landscape while designing the hotel. Image Credit: Audemars Piguet.


Locally-sourced Materials 

BIG celebrates the local area’s legacy through the hotel design, and using materials traditional to Swiss chalets. All the locally sourced materials used to construct the hotel are natural or biodegradable. For instance, the wood is from the encompassing fir forests and the walls are made of local stone.

“What I find interesting about the watchmaking process is that every component has a purpose, and every material choice is carefully considered – a watch is designed to last. Architecture is quite similar in that sense. We were very much inspired by the idea of letting the materials and the performance of the building become an integral part of the design,” adds Daniel.



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The interiors of Hôtel des Horlogers are contemporary, simple and earthy, reflecting the surrounding Risoud forest. Image Credit: Audemars Piguet.


Evocative of Swiss Chalets 

This distinctive hotel responds to the topography of the site and its built area. As it has been constructed on a slope, the ground floor’s spaces are staggered on different levels. Guests have to walk up or down in response to the topography of the ground below. “The main influence for the hotel was traditional Swiss rural chalet-style architecture that takes advantage of the terrain and highlights views and wood craftsmanship,” explains Sundlin. “Quite early in the process, we fell in love with this idea of a terrace building that follows the topography, as the site is essentially sitting on a slope. It was important that the look and feel of the hotel integrate with its surroundings, so a major part of our development process was to explore options that break down the scale,” he adds.

This hotel features a distinctive meandering form. Image Credit: Maris Mezulis.


Open Spatial Experience

The interiors of Hôtel des Horlogers are modern, simple and earthy, reflecting the surrounding Risoud forest. Upon entry, guests are welcomed by a sculpture of dangling tree roots before approaching the front desk, which exhibits the form of an ammonite fossil and is adorned with large mushrooms. In addition, the light-filled hotel boasts an open layout. “The seamless spatial experience – how the building weaves together amenities and circulation, making hotel stays feel more integrated and intimate. You can walk anywhere in the building without using a stair, almost like an indoor trail,” remarks Daniel Sundlin.



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The interiors of Hôtel des Horlogers are contemporary, simple and earthy, reflecting the surrounding Risoud forest. Image Credit: Audemars Piguet.


Serene Sanctuaries

Hôtel des Horlogers’ encompasses 50 guest rooms that are luxuriously decorated and feature all the amenities you need for a relaxing stay, including cosy beds, en suite bathrooms, and flat-screen TVs. Additionally, the guest room offers panoramic vistas of well-manicured terraces that merge with the surrounding landscape. While the hotel’s interiors have a rustic design style they are well-equipped with contemporary furniture and lighting fixtures. The furnishings are minimalist pieces that also exhibit the material palette of the region. “The hotel rooms have many unique features. Terraces and planted landscaping frame the guests’ view, making the rooms akin to being nested in the landscape. At the same time, the ceiling height varies dramatically, evoking a dynamic spatial generosity similar to historical attics and churches,” concludes architect Daniel Sundlin.

The guest room offers unobstructed vistas of well-manicured terraces and the surrounding countryside. Image Credit: Audemars Piguet Hotel.


Invitation to ‘Make Time’

Hôtel des Horlogers is also a well-loved wellness destination. The hotel boasts two elegant restaurants—La Table des Horlogers and Le Bar des Horlogers, which serve a range of delectable Swiss and international cuisine dishes crafted using the freshest local ingredients. The property invites its guests to slow down and ‘make time’ for themselves. Visitors can take walks on the well-landscaped terraces, read a book in their well-appointed rooms, or unwind at the property’s spa which offers several treatments, including massages, facials, and body wraps. Hôtel des Horlogers is designed for visitors to pause amidst nature. While a leading watch company is the force behind the hotel, horology isn’t in your face. Instead, time is subtly used as a reminder to slow down and enjoy each moment. 

Hôtel des Horlogers invites guests to slow down and enjoy a pause amidst elegant design and nature. Image Credit: Maris Mezulis.