Alpine chalets are usually associated with vernacular cosiness or swanky glamour; not the case with Experimental Chalet in Verbier, Switzerland, the latest destination from Experimental Group, which reframes the warm ambience of Alpine hospitality through a lens of minimalist elegance and retro sophistication. The hotel occupies a 1950s building that has been thoroughly renovated by Paris-based, Milanese interior designer Fabrizio Casiraghi. Sumptuous but not flashy, stylish and yet laid-back, the Chalet’s interiors reflect Verbier’s understated luxuriance which sets it apart from more glitzy ski resorts like St Moritz and Courchevel. Conceived more as a private members club rather than a hotel, the Chalet’s 39 rooms and suites are complemented by the Experimenal Group’s first spa, a bistro by the revered Parisian chef Gregory Marchand, a signature cocktail bar, and the legendary Farm Club, Verbier’s iconic, world-famous nightclub which has been operating there since 1971.
With its scenic location, sunny weather and exciting terrain – Quatre Vallées boasts the most extensive networks of ski slopes in the Alps – plus a vibrant après-ski night-life, Verbier is the perfect location for Experimental Group’s first alpine venture. Having emerged as a vanguard in Paris' cocktail bar culture a decade ago, the Group has been organically and selectively expanding ever since, opening restaurants, wine bars and boutiques hotels in Paris, New York, London and Ibiza. The Group’s French savoir-faire and exacting sense of hospitality is in full view in Experimental Chalet, which along with a palazzo in Venice and a finca in Menorca are the latest destinations catering to a cosmopolitan clientele of bon vivants.
Casiraghi’s interior design combines the modernist glamour of mid-century resorts with a contemporary aesthetic of minimalist elegance in order to establish a laid-back, clubby style. Deep jewel and sorbet tones, natural and lacquered wood, bespoke Portuguese tiles, and plush carpets are harmoniously interwoven contrary to what one would expect. Crisp white-washed walls are jazzed up by decorative mouldings or pistachio, sleek brass and chrome light fittings add modernist touches, while features such as deer antler chandeliers and framed pressed flowers imbue the public areas with Alpine references.
Complementing the panoramic views of the surrounding Alpine peaks, dark green wainscoting, thick velvet curtains in deep orange and dusty rose carpets create a warm ambience in the guest rooms and suites, while vintage oil paintings, rounded lacquered tables and retro-tiled bathrooms imbue the spaces with character.
The décor’s combination of classical elegance, contemporary finesse and Alpine references is echoed in Chef Gregory Marchand’s farm to table menu which offers a contemporary take on traditional Alpine cuisine. Classics like rösti, spaetzle, and tartiflette meet line-caught lake fish and the freshest salads and vegetables, along with house-made granolas, cakes and other freshly baked treats.
A key destination for every Experimental Group property, the Chalet’s first floor bar offers après-ski, pre-dinner apéritifs in a soothing environment of mid-century elegance. A menu of signature cocktails like The Chalet, a peach liqueur, lemon juice, vodka, bitters with a splash of champagne concoction, is the perfect preamble before heading downstairs to party at Farm Club Verbier’s legendary hot spot that has been entertaining visitors for more than four decades and which is now under the umbrella of the Experimental Group.
Although the plush fabrics, working fireplaces and deep seated armchairs create the ideal ambience during the winter, the Chalet is just as welcoming during the summer months when the hotel spills out unto the balconies, terraces and sun rooms. With a varied selection of available activities, guests in the summer are sure to appreciate the hotel’s distinct brand of Alpine hospitality after a day’s hiking, hang-gliding or paragliding as much as after skiing in the winter season – although we suspect that the bar’s stellar cocktail and wine list is even a bigger draw.