Trees growing from the ceiling, rock-like light fixtures, sloping walls and deliberate bumps in the floor. Located in the heart of the Vallée de Joux, the Hôtel des Horlogers is anything but ordinary. Like a linear snail shell, it winds its way into the pristine landscape of the Swiss Jura so that guests can immerse themselves in the expanse and forest of Risoud from windows in every room. A house like a fossil that remembers and at the same time seems to be ahead of its time.
Danish architect Bjarke Ingels, founder of the internationally renowned architectural firm BIG, is known for his unconventional, playful and at the same time pragmatic buildings. A balancing act as complex as clockwork. With the avant-garde building structure of the Hôtel des Horlogers, the award-winning architect has not only created a homage to nature, but also to the innovative spirit of the alpine valley. For the first records of the house – at that time still called Hôtel de France – date back to 1857, when watchmaking experienced its heyday in the region. Since 2003, the 4-star hotel has been owned by the traditional Audemars Piguet company, which has not only given this legacy a fitting name, but also, since 2022, a new building that meets the sustainable requirements of Minergie-Eco in all respects.
The architecture is based on the topography of the Vallée de Joux: Flat structures that slope down towards the valley in a zigzag shape. Inside, a continuous, ascending concrete corridor connects all the rooms. Beyond this, a visit to the hotel is like a walk through the forest. The trees in the lobby allude to the surrounding vegetation, the reception consists of multiple layers of wood and in the restaurant large stone blocks, pebble-shaped seating areas and hollowed-out rock lights give structure to the space. This all comes with a Michelin-starred cuisine that works closely with local producers.
Each of the fifty guest rooms offers an individual experience of nature and architecture. What they all have in common is the expansive meditative view of the forest and meadow as well as the warm inviting atmosphere. In addition, the spa offers everything for guests to relax even more profoundly. A place to forget time.
Photos by Christophe Voisin/copyright Audemars Pigue and Maris Mezulis/copyright Hôtel des Horlogers
What to do
Experience nature around the lake, forest and mountains of the Vallée de Joux, go on hiking, biking and e-biking tours, skiing, visit the Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet (which is right next to the hotel and was also designed by the Bjarke Ingels Group) as well as other watchmaking museums in the region, relax at the Spa Alpeor, enjoy the Michelin-starred restaurant, and allow time to be time.
Why we like this house
Hotel architecture that sets new standards – a multi-layered and holistic experience.
This house is great for
Architecture fans, nature lovers and watch enthusiasts looking for a meeting place. It is also suitable for conferences and seminars.
Minergie-ECO certification, energy supply with district heating and photovoltaics, charging stations for electric vehicles and e-bikes, accessible by public transport.
|Region/Town||CH – Switzerland, Vaud, Le Brassus|
|Name||Hôtel des Horlogers|
|Scenery||In the Vallée de Joux|
|Number of guests||Max. 110 guests in 50 rooms of different categories|
|Design||BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group) , Copenhagen in collaboration with CCHE , Lausanne|
|Special Features||Adjacent to the hotel is the architecturally impressive Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet.|
|Criteria||Rooms for 1-2 (hotel), Hiking, Lake/river, Meeting, Mountains, Pet-friendly, Pool, Restaurant, Skiing, Spa, EV-charging station, excellent sustainability, No car needed|