HUUS Hotel, Gstaad, Switzerland
The key insight behind HUUS Hotel is that nobody travels to the Alps to look at the inside of a hotel, no matter how luxurious or how carefully designed. People come to the Alps to see the Alps. By opening up the hotel to the landscape outside the hotel entices guests outside.
The hotel, which was formerly the Steigenberger Hotel, is one of the largest in Gstaad. The building is in the classic sturdy Swiss style, but the first thing we did was tear down a whole raft of interior walls, and enlarge the windows.
The result is that that magnificent view is everywhere - even in the bathroom. And the mountains literally come inside, too - the reception counter is crafted from a solid chunk of shimmering grey Alp, carefully selected from the boulders in a nearby stream.
It’s not just a gimmick, either. The hotel really is serious about making outdoor adventure accessible to everyone, regardless of their level of previous experience. HUUS has its own ski guides and a "mountain concierge" who can arrange a tailormade outdoor experience. Alternatively you can choose a ready-packaged adventure, for example skiing, climbing, snowshoeing or rafting. Every room comes with a backpack, water canteen and a pair of binoculars are provided so that guests are ready for the great outdoors.
The interiors are warm, welcoming and - compared to many flash Gstaad luxury hotels - unpretentious. Natural, genuine materials with a lot of tactile appeal, such as stone, wood and wool - dominate, and the muted colours are carefully selected to harmonise with the natural colours outside the windows.