The combination of the words ‘family lodge’ and ‘Switzerland’ is apt to produce a certain impression of dowdiness. All the more reason to applaud the Zurich-based architect Philip Loskant for his work on this sleek 47-room hotel (with a further wing of 43 private apartments) in the tiny Swiss village of Melchsee-Frutt.
At this height, nearly 2000m above sea-level on a remote peak that, in winter, is accessible only by a small cable car, the air is sharply crystalline – a word that, incidentally, perfectly describes the Frutt’s complex of four monolithic concrete and timber cubes that Loskant describes as an ‘optimistic statement of how architecture and nature can become a fantastic whole’.
The exteriors, clad in glass, natural stone and concrete, give way to an interior lined with Swiss oak. At this height, the views of the Alps, especially from the bay windows in the bedrooms, are literally, breathtaking.
That said, the spa – swathed in stone quarried from Valle Onsernone and inserted into an underground cavern of polygonal chambers and saunas capped by a skylight – provides an unexpected relief.
Meanwhile, a cinema, mini-bowling alley, wine bar, and restaurant alongside the usual suite of snow activities hold at bay any sensation of isolation.