Audemars Piguet Has Its Own Hotel in the Historic Center of Switzerland’s Watchmaking Industry

The venerable Swiss watch brand resets the clock.

The exterior of the Hôtel des Horlogers, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group
The new Hôtel des Horlogers, designed by Bjarke Ingels Group. Photo:


In 10,000 years, it’s likely that there will be no trace of Hôtel des Horlogers. And if that’s the case, things will have gone exactly as planned.

The 50-room hotel, which opened in May 2022 about an hour’s drive north of Geneva, was designed to one day decompose back into the landscape, and everything inside the terraced building is natural or biodegradable: wood from the surrounding fir forests, walls of local stone, cotton Literie Bonnet bed linens, even the carpet glue and writing instruments. (Guests are encouraged to take the pencils home and plant them; there are thyme seeds inside a specially designed capsule at the tip.)

Two photos from the Hotel des Horlogers, including a tree sculpture in the lobby, and a scene from the hotel's restaurant
From left: A tree-root sculpture by Alain Zerbib hangs over the hotel’s lobby; Brasserie Le Gogant, the hotel’s casual all-day restaurant.


This attention to detail should come as no surprise. Hôtel des Horlogers (literally “the watchmakers’ hotel”) is the first hospitality project from luxury watch brand Audemars Piguet, founded in 1875 right near the site of the hotel. The property is located in the Vallée de Joux, a historic center of Switzerland’s watchmaking industry. But this project is decidedly mindful of the future. On a tour ahead of the opening, general manager André Cheminade told me a stay at the property has “a smaller environmental footprint than if you were to pitch a tent in the valley.”

The renowned Danish architecture firm Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) took on the challenge of qualifying for Switzerland’s Minergie-ECO certification — a strict set of environmental sustainability rules — in executing its design. The décor plays into the earthy feel of the surrounding Risoud forest, with guests entering the lobby under a sculpture of dangling tree roots before approaching the front desk, which is shaped like an unfurled ammonite fossil and embellished with large mushrooms.

Watches on display at the Audemars Piguet museum
Audemars Piguet watches on display at the brand’s museum.


What you won’t find at Hôtel des Horlogers is the obvious: there are no oversize wall clocks in sight, and watches can be spotted only in books from the library and on the wrists of fellow guests. But horolophiles won’t be disappointed — especially after they follow the short path to the spiraling Musée Atelier Audemars Piguet next door. Also designed by BIG, the museum has more than 300 watches on display and offers a five-hour watchmaking master class for true aficionados. Gourmands, meanwhile, will delight in menus from French chef Emmanuel Renaut (of Megève’s Michelin three-starred Flocons de Sel).

But even just the simple pleasures of village life make this Swiss sanctuary worth a visit — after all, the true luxury is the leisurely passage of time.

A version of this story first appeared in the October 2022 issue of Travel + Leisure under the headline "A Place Out of Time."

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