To rebalance the nervous system, one should spend at least two hours per week in nature concluded the latest research on well-being and the human-nature relationship. The Whitepod eco-luxury hotel in the heart of the Swiss Alps offers a lot more than two hours.
The 18 individual prefabricated tent pods designed by Montalba Architects are part of the modern hospitality trend. The geodesic domes perched on wooden platforms on the side of the mountain in Valais, a mountainous region about an hour’s drive from Lausanne, offer “a sense of wellness, connectedness and completeness of experience” according to Nuno Ravara, the head of the design studio’s office in Switzerland.
The eco-luxury hotel takes environmental conservation to the next level. When guests check-in at the reception they are signing up for a nature boost to their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. The 15-minute walk to their pod, complete with a provided backpack, map, headlamp (that should tell you something) and walking sticks, sends them on a journey like no other.
Navigating on the hiking trails to the pods, guests get their first dose of fresh, pristine mountain air and views over the valley and the distant mountains. At 1,400 meters above sea level, the quiet surroundings will quickly absorb any stress hormones accumulated from too-busy and pressured lifestyles in their urban homelands.
Guests arrive at the amazing, designed hotel rooms that are each like a cozy cocoon. Heart rates slow and muscle tensions ease almost instantly. The Japanese promote forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku in Japanese, as the ultimate solution for a well-balanced heart, improved bowel movements and much more. The Whitepod hotel has a similar, maybe even more profound effect on the human organism.
The architects and owners of the Whitepod hotel took the concept to heart and created an oasis of luxury immersed in nature in a quiet and pristine environment. This luxury is not only awarded to guests but to nature, too.
The dome-shaped pods and their platforms and respective patios can easily be dismantled with minimal impact to the environment. Just like the Shipwreck Lodge in Namibia, the pods could just disappear one day with almost no trace. But for now, they are here and ready for visitors.
The pod’s colors are adapted to the season–green for summer and white for winter to optimally blend in with the environment and reduce disturbance to the landscape. The biophilic design includes large bay windows for panoramic views that create positive reactions to the mood. Rounded wood walls intensify the feeling of cocooning.
The three types of Pod Suites–Swiss Pod, Forest Pod and 007 Pod–take the transformative experience up a notch up by bringing the wood themes into the rooms. The Forest Pod, with birch trees and a hammock, should especially do the trick for total carefree relaxation.
The wood-burning stove, organic luxury bedding and strict energy- and water-use management are additional ways in which the owners fulfill their ecological mission.
The eco concept is all-encompassing. The staff walks to work, the waste is fully recycled, the ingredients at the restaurant are only locally and regionally sourced, the wood for the slow-burning pellet stoves comes from the nearby forest and local spring water is used.
If people venture out from their pods, there is a range of outdoor activities offered to satisfy the deep-rooted need for nature-energy. Studies show that being in nature can improve memory functions and problem-solving skills. Taking a hike or navigating the ski slopes bear longer term benefits than just the fun of the day. The experience and the awareness of this new form of luxury changes one’s mindset and increases creative thinking.
The 2,000-hectare areas of the Whitepod hotel with the Pod House at its center was previously awarded eco-responsible tourism awards and the Responsible Tourism Award for Innovation. This year the pod suites are shortlisted as one of the international projects at the World Interiors News Awards 2019. Winners will be announced on October 24, 2019, in London. Let’s root for the Whitepod hotel to be among them.
Source: photos are courtesy of Whitepod hotel and v2com.