Ritz-Carlton, Zermatt, a luxury resort in the heart of the Swiss Alps, has been designed by AW² to maximise views of the famous Matterhorn mountain nearby. Located next to the ski slopes, the 13,000 sqm, 69-room hotel is a collection of small buildings connected by roads and tunnels, in order to comply with Zermatt’s planning requirements to strictly limit building size. Zermatt is a car-free village with sustainability and eco-friendly options at the forefront of daily life, and the new hotel will support this approach with integrated systems to optimize and minimise energy consumption. The design plays with natural materials and light filtered to create a sense of retreat and respite. Inspired by the nomadic origins of the region’s Walser community, the hotel’s design aims to connect people with nature and celebrate the mountain location. The building façades will be finished with locally-sourced natural materials, such as wood and stone to reflect the rustic and authentic lifestyle of the Walser people.
The hotel ground floor is expected to include lounge areas, meeting and multifunction rooms, a lounge bar, a main restaurant and a large fireplace which are all positioned to frame the view of the mountains. Plans for the hotel include an indoor and heated outdoor pool which are connected through a window bringing filtered natural light into the indoor pool. The design uses large openings and windows to remove the barrier between indoor and outdoor spaces and uses stone interiors to merge with the natural environment outside. The restaurant concept draws upon the Walser community tradition of breaking bread in a bi-annual reunion. The central feature of the restaurant will be the bread oven which will reflect this ancient custom and give the guest a unique local experience.