Brought to you by Hotel de Londres.
Melissa Van Roosbroeck recently visited Hotel de Londres in Brig, Switzerland to chat with the owners about the hotel’s history and recent renovation.
Can you tell us a bit more about the history and background of Hotel de Londres and its link to England?
The name of our hotel goes back to the time when the mountains were conquered by the English in the late 19th century. Parts of the building already existed in 1527, but it wasn’t until 1884 that it was actually run as a hotel.
The name of the hotel is also a tribute to London where the founder of the hotel, Anton Arnold, worked in the hospitality industry for many years. His son, Paul Arnold, later followed in Anton’s footsteps and returned to the family’s home town Brig after living in London for a while to take over the family business.
Why did you decide to renovate and expand the hotel? What was the goal of the transformation?
It simply wasn’t an option for us to take over and run the hotel in the state that it was in. The entire infrastructure needed an overhaul, so we just decided to start from scratch. Our dream was to launch an exciting and innovative concept. A home away from home. A clubhouse. The only boutique design B&B in Valais. And if realizing that dream meant going down to the bare bones of the building, well then so be it, we thought.
What was the hardest part about the renovation?
The physically strenuous work. Many friends and family members spent days tearing out carpets, scraping down wall paper, taking out windows and so on. We even took down a part of the roof ourselves. This hotel is literally the result of blood, sweat and tears.
How would you describe the new concept of the hotel?
Friends and family come first for us, always. Everyone who is involved in the hotel is very family-oriented and has a big circle of friends, so it was important for us to have this reflected in the spirit of the hotel. Our interior designers immediately understood that the atmosphere at the Hotel de Londres had to radiate familiarity, comfort and authenticity. And we are happy to say that that is exactly what it does now.
Can you share a bit more about the establishment’s unique design and architecture?
We were lucky enough to get Atelier Zürich on board to help us realize our dream design. We wanted to give the hotel a modern vibe while still respecting its history and background story, so we mixed typical Valais tailoring with modern eclectic elements. Everything in the hotel is down-to-earth and uncomplicated and has a distinct English character, from the colours and lighting to the furniture and accessories. But there are also some very obvious Valais elements present, like the typical Valais diamond shape pattern on the façade of the hotel, on the floors and even on the doors and bed headboards.
What sets Hotel de Londres apart from other hotels? Why should guests stay there?
To discover and enjoy a new kind of hospitality in the recluse yet well connected valley of the Valais. We are obviously the perfect home base for those wanting to venture out into the beautiful nature surrounding Brig, but our hotel is also a wonderful place to just relax and unwind and enjoy the moment. We invite our guests to just ‘be’ and feel at home with us. We have a fully equipped living room with a terrace and a kitchen that our guests are free to use as well as a well-stocked honesty bar and a wine bar with a fine selection of hand-picked wines. Our beverage bars are available to guests around the clock and the Otto’s Stuba, our event room, is the perfect venue for corporate and private events such as seminars and banquets.
As hotel professionals we felt that Brig not only had the room but also the need for a modern hotel. Plus the location is fantastic of course. We are close to the Alps and popular tourist spots like Zermatt and Italy for example are just a short drive away. But we didn’t just choose Brig from a business point of view. Our whole hotel team is from Brig, so it was also a decision from the heart.
What are you most proud of about the new hotel?
The great feedback that we get from our guests and the motivation of our team. Opening or reopening a hotel can be extremely stressful and asks for a lot of flexibility from everyone involved, but we know that every single member in our team could and still can count on one another. You can’t put a price on that kind of commitment. This kind of unconditional devotion takes friendship and I’m proud to say that as a team we use that friendship as an engine to drive us and keep us going.
What kind of guests visit you?
The hotel is a home for friends travelling for leisure, sport and exploration, for culinary tourists and for those homesick for Valais. All kinds of people visit our hotel, from couples and single travellers to executive committees and guests who simply want to relax and disconnect for a bit.
What is the link between Hotel de Londres and wine?
With 5,000 hectares of arable land, Valais is the most important wine-producing canton in Switzerland. That’s why Hotel de Londres hand-selects local wines and organises regular wine-tasting sessions with outstanding winemakers from Valais. But we don’t just have Swiss wines in our wine assortment. We also serve speciality wines from around the world. Our goal is to gather and offer the best of all countries and regions.
Melissa Van Roosbroeck is a style and fashion writer.