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 fagades will be finished with locally-sourced natural materials, such as wood and stone to reflect the rustic and authentic lifestyle of the Walser people.
Expected to open in 2026, the 69-guest room property will bring the brand’s legendary service and elegant design to the world-famous Swiss resort destination. Once open, the property will serve as the second Ritz-Carlton hotel in Switzerland, joining The Ritz-Carlton Hotel de la Paix, Geneva.
“We are thrilled to announce this milestone signing with Mario Julen who has a fantastic vision for the project,” said Satya Anand, President, Marriott International Europe, Middle East and Africa. “Zermatt is synonymous with outstanding skiing, mountaineering and jaw-dropping scenery. As the epitome of modern luxury, this landmark development and stunning destination will enhance our portfolio of iconic Ritz-Carlton properties across the globe, offering guests an exciting opportunity to experience Zermatt’s year-round snowy peaks, world-class ski slopes, and the iconic Matterhorn mountain. Today’s signing reflects the heightened demand for our luxury hospitality brands across Europe, Middle East and Africa.”
The Ritz-Carlton, Zermatt will be designed by award-winning Paris-based firm AW² led by partner architects Reda Amalou and Stéphanie Ledoux, with the architectural and interior design expected to offer a refined take on the classic mountain chalet. The property will offer unobstructed views of Matterhorn from both guestrooms and dining establishments.
Design plans are slated to feature two restaurants and two bars, an outdoor terrace for alfresco dining, and a private dining room for intimate gatherings. An array of recreational activities such as ‘ski-in ski-out’ access to the slopes, a tranquil spa with a gym and both indoor and outdoor swimming pools are part of the vision for guests to enjoy. The resort is also expected to offer meeting and event facilities.
“This is an emotional project for me as I have worked passionately for many years to bring it to life. It is not only a declaration of love to my hometown of Zermatt, but also to the luxury hotel business and its ability to inspire travel. As the first major, international brand in Zermatt, my wish is that this project will bring a new level of hospitality to the Swiss Alps,” said Mario Julien.
Views over the mountains are emphasised through the use of large openings and windows throughout the resort. The design plays with light, with natural materials being illuminated to best effect and light filtered to create a sense of retreat and respite.
The 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. The buildings will have integrated systems that will optimize and minimise energy consumption. A pellet-based heating system has also been incorporated as a sustainable and renewable way of heating the hotel.
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 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 baking bread together in a bi- annual village 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. The chalet plot is located adjacent to the ski slopes and includes the restaurant, bar, fireplace and terrace to enjoy the views as well as an Alpine room for gear store and maintenance.
Zermatt affords unrivalled skiing for all levels, climbing across the Matterhorn peak as well as easy access to Cervinia in Italy for off-piste, heli-skiing and glacier skiing in the summer months. The town is well renowned for its après-ski activities offering outstanding restaurants and luxurious retail. Visitors can travel to Zermatt from Geneva and Zurich international airports in under four hours by train through enchanting Alpine scenery, or via private helicopter.