Concrete designed the interior of the new W hotel in Verbier Switzerland. Inspired by the dynamic carving of skis through snow, it brings an indelible, distinct New York City glamour to the ski resort in the Swiss Alps. For the global lifestyle brand’s first alpine and ski retreat, concrete wanted to provide 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. The famous Verbier mountains have been brought into the hotel by reinterpreting local elements in a contemporary way and creating a juxtaposition to reflect the simplicity, beauty and energy of Verbier and the contemporary cool of New York by using contrasting materials.
W hotel Verbier is part of the Starwood group and owned by Les Trois Rocs. The hotel is situated at the foot of the slopes next to the Médran gondola and directly on the newly developed Place Blanche. Featuring four traditional wooden chalet-style buildings, interconnected by contemporary glass atriums, the retreat will offer global jetsetters and Verbier enthusiasts immediate ski-in, ski-out access to the alpine action. Verbier is a village located in south-western Switzerland in the canton of Valais and a famous ski area in the Swiss Alps.
W Hotel entry & welcome area: A 6m wide fireplace with a flame over its full width. W Livingroom: A cosy, 10mx3m wooden block with carved out seating elements and fireplaces. As a contrast, a carved light feature made of different types of wood is suspended above it, following its footprint. W Livingroom bar: A giant, carved ‘ice rock’ made of glass and a carved, translucent light feature above it that follows the same footprint and enhances the ‘icy’ impression. 360 degree street art panorama by tape artist Buff Diss on the living room walls. W Guest rooms: Cosy fireplaces in each of the hotel’s 123 stylish guest rooms and suites.
Walk through the W Hotel
Hotel entry and welcome area
When guests enter the hotel they come face-to-face with a 6m wide fireplace. The element of fire is the ultimate contrast to the snow-covered landscape outside. The same element is further showcased in cosy fireplaces throughout the public areas and in each of the hotel’s 123 stylish guest rooms and suites. Turning right the guests face the welcome pods: two carved blocks of natural stone with glamorous inlays of brass and backlit marble. A bespoke light feature highlights the welcome pods.
A few steps down from the welcome pods, passing the ‘whatever/whenever’ concierge’s desk, guests come to the lounge area. In this area the notion of Swiss chalet life is brought into the glamorous world of W. The cosy, 10mx3m wooden block with carved out seating elements and fireplaces offers a spectacular view down the valley from the W Livingroom. As a contrast, a carved light feature made of different types of wood is suspended above it, following its footprint. The wood is accompanied by other natural materials such as leather, felt, wool and fur which contrast with the black and silver glossy materials featured at the core of the living room and the white, glacier inspired glass bar at the opposite end of the lounge block. The lounge flows into a terrace where guests can chill in bulb chairs overlooking the spectacular scenery.
W Livingroom bar
A giant, carved ‘ice rock’ made of glass forms the bar where guests come to meet, mingle and flirt. A carved, translucent light feature hangs above it, which follows the same footprint and enhances the ‘icy’ impression. The lounge bar is a good place to reside at any hour of the day. It transforms from a breakfast bar in the morning into a bar where guests can prepare for a wild night out.
The Gaint Staircase
The Giant Staircase is situated next to the living room in one of the glass atriums connecting the four chalet buildings. In these atriums the landscape appears to continue inside, creating a link between the mountain slopes above and the views of the valley below. The mountain flows into a giant staircase with comfortable benches where guests can relax, hang out, meet and flirt. During the day they can enjoy the spectacular view down the valley whereas at night the staircase is illuminated in deep red light to create an intimate mood. The staircase features a signal red tunnel, a contemporary reference to the Swiss railway system, that leads inside the mountain to the entrance of W Verbier’s exclusive destination bar, Carve.
After their daily activities, guests can dance the night away at CARVE bar. This secret bar is hidden in the mountain and can only be accessed by entering a signal red tunnel through the giant staircase. All the walls of CARVE feature signature benches in black leather which continue as upholstered leather panels on the walls and ceiling. The benches have various depths which makes them appear to be carved out from the material. In the middle of the ceiling a vast field of backlit convex mirrors visually multiply everything that happens on the dance floor.
The White Space
The White Space is situated in the glass atrium on the other side of the living room. This event space is kept completely white, like a white canvas, and will be used as a gallery space, or for conferences or presentations. The full height glass facades allow natural light to flood into the space. A glass bridge that connects the living room with the guest rooms crosses The White Space at half ceiling height, providing the guests with a spectacular panoramic view down the valley, the organically shaped, illuminated outside pool and the street art by tape artist Buff Diss on the walls. In the back of the White Space there are two meeting rooms that can be used as a spectacular break out space.
Away Spa, Wet Deck & Fit
After an active day in the mountains or a wild night out, guests can recharge at the hotel’s Away Spa or train their muscles at Fit. The Away Spa is the perfect place to pamper body and soul and escape from it all. Carved into the mountain it features a gradual journey from light to dark, and from straight to organic forms. Guests enter the spa via the light, cubistic welcome area decorated with white natural stone. All reception desks and display tables are carved out from the same material. From the reception area one can also access the Fit area and yoga room.
Guests who go deeper into the spa are guided via the changing rooms to the more public functions, including the hammam, whirlpool, sauna, steam bath and foot baths. All these functions appear to be carved into the natural stone of the mountain. The more secluded the functions are, the more organic the forms get and the darker the stone becomes. The journey ends in the most intimate and relaxing parts of the spa: the oval shaped treatment rooms designed in black and soft gold. From there guests slowly start the journey back from dark to light, from round shapes to the straight lines of the welcome area. From this point guests can go for a late night swim in the organically shaped and beautifully illuminated heated swimming pool on The Wet Deck which stretches from inside to outside, allowing the guests to bathe under the stars and among the snow.
Arola and Eat Hola by Sergi Arola
The signature restaurant of W hotel Verbier consists of two parts divided by a central core, which is also the main feature of the space. Surrounded by a floor-to-ceiling backlit cabinet filled with bottles with an impressive range of different olive oils and vinegars, each with its own unique colour, the core forms the ‘liquid realm’ of the Spanish kitchen, which blends with the stunning views down the valley. On each side of the core two-Michelin star Spanish chef Sergi Arola presents a modern twist on Swiss classics. ‘Arola’ is the more formal and extroverted part of the venue, featuring a big outside terrace with spectacular views on the alpine vistas. Inside, a framework of vertical fins divides the seating area into three chambers. The fins can be set in various positions allowing different degrees of intimacy according to the time of the day. They also offer a subtle way to increase or decrease the size and seating capacity of the restaurant for the high and low season. The restaurant features earth tones and natural materials such as leather, fur and wood, which perfectly match with the colour blend of the backlit oils and vinegars presented around the core.
‘Eat Hola’ is the more introverted part of the restaurant. Hidden behind the backlit cabinet filled with olive oils and vinegars it features a 25m wooden tapas bar that faces the open kitchen fitted in marble. The bar offers guests delicious tapas and drinks and a natural environment for encountering new and old friends. Both restaurants are connected by two long high tables, which can be used by Arola and Eat Hola alike. Those who take their inspiration from uplifting art should point their eyes towards the sidewalls. From behind each of the tables one of the
7 Verbier legends by Dutch photographer Marcel van der Vlugt accompanies their dinner.
Located directly in front of the Médran gondola, this is set to be the ideal alpine refreshment stop with huge windows looking out onto the buzzing social scene. It is the place where sports meet top-quality hospitality in the extreme. Oak, natural stone and leather will be offset by sporty features, such as lamps hanging from climbing ropes. To enhance its social character an analogue ‘Facebook’ is placed in the serpentine shaped cupboard, which forms the backbone of the cafe. It features more than 200 fluorescent acrylic panels that provide food for thought: each panel features a witty, carved statement to make guests think, laugh and flirt.
Standard Guest rooms
W Verbier is the first W resort in Europe. In contrast to urban locations guests will stay at W Verbier for several days instead of only one or two nights. The rooms are designed as small suites, providing guests with both a spectacular bedroom area and bathroom, and a spacious seating area and large balconies, of which many support spectacular views of the surrounding mountainscape. As a key feature each of the hotel’s 123 stylish guest rooms comprises a cosy fireplace that can be enjoyed while lying in the bathtub or from the comfortable sofa to transform the room into a private hideaway. The bathroom and bedroom area are divided by a wooden cupboard in a serpentine shape, which contains all the functions you need in a room: the minibar, desk, seating area, cupboard space and even the toilet are linearly organised in this feature like tools in a Swiss army knife. The chalet-style wood of the cupboard provides a warm contrast to the sleek furnishings and contemporary lighting in the bathroom and bedroom area, in which frosted mirrors, translucent red glass, backlit vanities and bedside tables bring the New York glamour to Verbier.
Small boutique hotel within the hotel. The upper floors under the roofs of the four chalet buildings are dedicated to suites. In addition to spectacular views on the mountains, each suite and chalet has its own characteristic layout to create a small boutique hotel within the hotel. The various suites differ in size and form: the smallest is a cosy suite that can be seen as an extension of the standard room. Then there are spacious suites offering a secret private getaway with a stunning view that can be reached via a staircase carved into a central wooden block that supports functional elements such as the bathroom and wardrobe.
Last but not least are the two largest suites: the WOW suite and the E-WOW suite. Both face the valley with vast private balconies to enjoy the famous mountain panorama of Verbier. Additionally each of the suites offers a mezzanine level, which can be reached via an extraordinary staircase: a glass staircase in the WOW suite and a broad catwalk staircase in the E-WOW suite. The suites are similar in size but they differ in attitude: whereas WOW stands for excitement and living comfort, E-WOW is the place to party all night and enjoy the unexpected with a turning bed that provides views of the valley, the personal wardrobe with a full height mirror, the fireplace or the private Jacuzzi.
Keep on turning.
Designer: Concrete Architectural Associates Project name: W Verbier Client: Les Trois Rocs Project team: Rob Wagemans, Lisa Hassanzadeh, Daniel Schröter, Keshia Groenendaal, Paula Gäbel, Femke Zumbrink, Sofie Ruytenberg, Erik van Dillen
Project architect: Lisa Hassanzadeh
Architect building: Architecture Stephane et Vincent Luisier SA in collaboration with Fima Architecture SA
Developer: Les Trois Rocs
Specialist: joinery guest rooms IHD
Specialist: joinery public spaces IHD
Schletterer (spa, gym)
Decca (loose furniture)
Special features bespoke light pendants: Frandsen Lighting
Tape art: Buff Diss
Photography artwork ‘the 7 legends of Verbier’: Marcel van der Vlugt
Photos: Yves Garneau for Concrete Architectural Associates
Total area: 14200 m2
Duration construction: 36 months
Opening: December 1st, 2013