The first ever hot tub among the stars

“All aboard starship hot tub” is a phrase you’re not likely to hear when stepping into any Jacuzzi anywhere in the world. Hot tubs are heavy items and containing upwards of 2,000 litres of water, not to mention eight adults, the weight is somewhere in the region of half an elephant; a fully grown African tips the scales at six tons and I’ve never seen an airborne elephant. So in the normal world a hot tub sits in its designated spot and remains there, immovable and motionless.

Think again, Heinz Julen doesn’t do normal, he’s more than capable of thinking outside the box, he excels in turning the obvious upside down and re-inventing the most mundane of objects; consequently the hot tub at the Backstage Chalet in Zermatt doesn’t sit in a designated spot, it rises up and out through the roof hydraulically, high above the rooftops of Zermatt, revealing 360 degree views of the surrounding mountains, and on a clear night a spectacular vision of the stars.

Heinz Julen is a Swiss artist, architect and iconoclast par excellence; the Backstage Chalet is his latest creation and the hot tub is the chalet’s USP. I recently had the pleasure of staying there and have become a Heinz Julen fan. The nightly launch of the hot tub was exhilarating for sure but the chalet isn’t overshadowed by this show stopper.

Taking an existing chalet, completely gutting and extending upwards, Heinz has conceived and constructed a wonderful dwelling full of surprises. The top floor is flooded with light due to the expansive use of glazing and the lower floors are cosy and snug and a delight to inhabit. Heinz was restricted to a certain extent as the footprint of the original building wasn’t all that large but he’s turned that to his advantage and created a wonderful new addition to the Zermatt luxury chalet stock.

Rebecca Taylor is Director at SkiBoutique.

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