Photo © William Croall Photography
© William Croall Photography

Hotel Zermama

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Matterstrasse 23, 3920 Zermatt, Switzerland

Hotel Mama is centrally located in the fashionable town of Zermatt, steeped-in-tradition, in the immediate vicinity of the Gornergratbahn and the valley station of the Sunnegga funicular, with a view of the world-famous Matterhorn. Opened in 1978 as the Hotel Admiral and since then family-owned, the hotel was expanded in 2019 after a generation change in the management and was completely renovated, so that it continues to meet the high expectations of the international clientele.
In addition to a new and innovative marketing strategy, which the company developed as part of a distinctive corporate identity, a contemporary architectural concept was also developed. Its primary goal is to give the guest a feeling of carefreeness and safety in a relaxed, casual yet stylish atmosphere, “just like at home at Mama’s”.
Schematically, the processes in the public areas on the ground floor were revised and restructured with a view to first-class gastronomic service. The bar with its cosy lounge areas, the fireplace and the dining room, where guests can indulge in culinary delights with a view of the show kitchen, became the central meeting point of the hotel. In addition, a small shop with regional specialties and a spacious co-working area were added as a place for communication, cooperation and concentration.
On the upper floors, the guest rooms were reorganized with a view to achieving the greatest possible comfort with maximum flexibility, so that cosy single rooms can be interconnected with double rooms to form spacious suites. The generous balconies on which you can enjoy an original Swiss cheese fondue with a view of the Matterhorn were of particular importance to the client. The wellness suites on the top floor are an absolute highlight, each with a private sauna as well as a roof terrace with an automatically opening glass roof and whirlpool.
The overall architectural concept, from the characteristic design language of the dark wooden façade to the design of the floor plans and the detailed interior, to the selection of building materials, colours and fabrics was conceived by the South Tyrolean firm of architects, Perathoner Architects – the architect Rudolf Perathoner and his team. The firm of architects MLS from Zermatt, above all project manager Andreas Imboden, was responsible for the technically flawless implementation of the planning and together with Perathoner Architects, they worked on the execution planning on site and ensured a smooth handling of organization on the construction site.
The aim of the architectural design was to create a characteristic building envelope that reflects the dynamic of the generation change and the energy of the new management, without introducing an element that would seem out of place in the structural context. In our opinion, this is achieved through the combination of strong angular reveals, modern design language and the use of typical alpine building materials, such as natural stone and wood cladding. The dark wooden façade in combination with the golden logos and the warm white lighting has a timelessly elegant yet invitingly warm effect that is further enhanced by the structured and backlit façade elements.
The lateral wooden panelling across all floors turns the deep balconies, which face south towards the Matterhorn, into weather-protected transition areas between the inside and outside. Since the project was a refurbishment of existing buildings and we were therefore confronted with static and technical circumstances, the planning of the interior areas was primarily about optimizing the programmatic processes in the public areas on the ground floor. The bar, with the large terrace and its cosy lounge areas, the fireplace and the dining room with a view of the show kitchen, became the hotel’s central meeting point, where guests can indulge in culinary delights. In addition, a small shop with regional specialties and a spacious co-working area were added as a place for communication, cooperation and concentration. As always, we placed great emphasis on the use of high-quality materials and fabrics in the interior, which combine to form a timeless overall design concept. Even on the upper floors, maximum flexibility in the guest rooms with regard to the greatest possible comfort was a priority. Comfortable double rooms were created that can be turned into spacious suites, with a fantastic view of the Matterhorn. The love of detail by Perathoner Architects is clear time and again and is evident throughout the project both in the façades and in the interior. The fabric cladding in the cloakrooms, for example, invokes the typical Swiss paper cut-outs (“Scherenschnitte”) without simply appearing to follow a trend or looking tawdry. The overall result is impressive – a timeless, cosy hotel in Zermatt. As the saying goes: Mama is the best!

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