With sweeping views of the Rhône Valley just south of Lake Geneva, the Zen Suite is the latest addition to the Whitepod Eco-Luxury Hotel. Designed by Montalba Architects, the minimalist-meets-luxurious pod immerses guests in the Dents-du-Midi mountain range of Switzerland. A creative combination of natural materials and sustainable construction, the hotel’s series of pods is aimed at creating spiritual harmony with the surrounding alpine ecosystem.
The architects minimized environmental impact by raising the pods on platforms and leaving the surroundings mostly untouched. The eco-pods are positioned on elevated, stadium-style deck platforms along the side of the mountain, giving guests private and unobstructed views of the stunning landscape from almost every angle.
The Zen Suite’s central circle is surrounded by curved wooden walls that are finished with fine details and tatami floor mats. The entire pod measures about 150 square feet, with an additional 220 square feet provided by the connected terrace. The platform, pod and bath box are all prefabricated elements of the structure.
Hidden closets and storage compartments add to the contemporary feel of the space. In the simple bedroom, a sunken bed faces the front of the pod to make the most of the views. The wooden bathroom is constructed locally to minimize waste and transportation. The bathroom also utilizes an Ozone system to filter water without the use of harmful chemicals. A bathtub centers the distinct, circular design.
The zen concept found throughout the design is inspired by the Wu Xing movement, which states that all things are connected and made up of energy. The five elements connected to the Chinese philosophy are represented through earth, water, wood, metal and fire. Each corner and space of the Zen Suite is meant to revolve around simple human ritual and self-reflection based on this theory, resulting in a transformative experience. Prices range from 650 to 1,250 Swiss Francs ($670 to $1,287) per night.
Photography by Delphine Burtin via Montalba Architects