Swiss entrepreneur Remo Stoffel and US-based architect Morphosis unveiled the design – a stupendous mirror-clad structure, designed to reach a height of 381 metres. The 80-storey hotel would be the tallest building in Europe. It would eclipse the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel in Dubai, the current record-holder at 355 metres.
Not everyone is convinced the project will go ahead, however. A few critics have described the very idea of a colossal skyscraper in a remote and unspoiled Swiss valley as plain wrong.
A few hurdles remain to be overcome. Switzerland is one of the most democratic countries in the world – citizens are actually asked about things that matter and given a direct say in whether they go ahead.
The project has yet to receive planning permission and it will have to go to a public vote of Vals residents. Whether locals feel an enormous skyscraper is just what they need remains to be seen.
“It’s hard to imagine a more obnoxious gesture to inflict on a sleepy spa town,” the Guardian’s architecture critic wrote.
Will the locals agree? It remains to be seen.
The proposed hotel would offer 107 guestrooms and suites, spas and ballroom, an art gallery, a library, restaurants, cafes, sky bars and swimming pool.
Those behind the proposal aim to target rich tourists from Asia and the Middle East. The cheapest rooms would cost about 1000 Swiss francs (AUD 1344) a night and the most expensive would cost 25,000 Swiss francs (AUD 32,256).
A few eccentrics might decide they prefer to stay in some charming little Swiss guesthouse in the next valley instead.
Written by : Peter Needham