Entrepreneur, Lilian Roten, is fueled by the passion to cultivate something extraordinary and meaningful to a community. When the opportunity arose to own a charming 19th century hotel in her birth town of Brig, nestled in the heart of Valais, Switzerland, she couldn't resist. Find out more, including how the hotel uses Falcon throughout and where to visit outside the hotel, in our recent interview with Lilian.
RETAILERS, RESTAURANTS, RETREATS
RETREAT. HOTEL DE LONDRES. VALAIS. SWITZERLAND
Can you tell us a bit more about you and your journey to Hotel de Londres?
My purpose has always been to provide a caring environment for people on their journeys and adventures. I aim to inspire through authenticity, integrity, and kindness. I also encourage my team to be curious, especially as they interact with our diverse clientele from around the globe. Sustainability isn't just a buzzword for us; it's a catalyst for innovation. We've thoughtfully designed our Clubhouse concept to be available for our guests 365 days a year, 24/7, while also preserving time for our own well-being. Our slogan, "at home with friends," perfectly encapsulates this concept. Guests can help themselves from the fridge, cook their own meals, and enjoy quality time in our cozy living room or on the beautiful terrace overlooking the town square.
FYI: The hotel name and London: The name of the Hotel de Londres is reminiscent of the time when the mountains were conquered by the English in the late 19th century. Parts of the building existed in 1527 but it has been run as a hotel since 1884. The name is also a tribute to London, where the founder of the hotel, Anton Arnold, worked in the hospitality industry for many years.
How have the hotel's extensive new renovations gone?
The Hotel de Londres has a storied history, welcoming guests since 1884. We take pride in offering a unique experience that harmoniously blends British elegance with Valaisan tradition. Our recent renovations, curated by Atelier Zurich, were inspired by the traditional institution of the picnic. The English picnic represents effortless refinement and has influenced our living room on the first floor. Here, our guests can experience the ambiance of a British summer with its green meadows and shared moments with friends and family. The Swiss picnic, on the other hand, stands for down-to-earthness and regional authenticity, and has inspired the entrance area on the ground floor. It embodies the joy of simplicity and high quality. For me, the Hotel de Londres is more than a property; it's a canvas to express my love for hospitality and design. It's a place where artistry and warmth intertwine, offering a sanctuary for guests to immerse themselves in the beauty of the Valais and experience genuine heartfelt care from all of us.
What's your favourite Falcon product and why?
Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and your mugs are perfect for my foamy cappuccino with oat milk. I also love using your sleek white plates to elegantly serve my omelettes. During the Christmas season, your mugs are our go-to for serving heartwarming mulled wine, setting the stage for quality time in front of the Christmas tree. On the topic of breakfast, our homemade granola is a hit, beloved by both our hotel guests and local breakfast aficionados. Your prep set is invaluable to us as we meticulously prepare over 10 different ingredients. It aids us in blending them to perfection before spreading the mix on a baking pan and baking it to achieve that ideal balance of crispness and moisture.
Is there a specific dish that you might make at Hotel de Londres using any of our Falcon products?
Your serving plates are a staple for us, especially during breakfast. We use them to bring our guests' favorite hot beverages right to their tables. It's a special moment that allows us to engage with our guests, offering personalized tips on local attractions and activities.
What do you love most about Valais during the Winter months?
Valais is a winter wonderland, boasting 41 mountains that soar above 4,000 meters. Brig serves as a great hub, reachable from almost anywhere in Switzerland within 2 hours, and acts as a gateway to these natural wonders. I particularly enjoy snowshoeing on the Rosswald and skiing on the Belalp. It's just a 30-minute journey to reach Belalp, which sits 2,000 meters above Brig. From there, you can marvel at the 23-km long Aletsch Glacier and the Valais Alps, including the iconic Matterhorn. For those looking for an adrenaline rush, snow kiting on the Simplon at 2,000 meters above sea level offers an exciting adventure. Pascal, the owner of the local kiting school, introduces you to a whole new dimension of snowboarding and skiing through the power of kite traction.
Are there any local companies you'd like to shoutabout? Where do you usually eat, drink, and source ingredients in your local area?
Molinari Sempione – Butcher
This artisanal is celebrated for its commitment to Swiss quality and craftsmanship. Their specialty, the truffled ham, stands as a testament to their dedication to 100% natural, locally-sourced ingredients.
Over 100 years of tradition in the 5th generation
A fifth-generation family business known for its rye bread and homemade pastries, it's a cozy stop for travelers and locals alike.
Both are warm and welcoming hosts where you can discover excellent wines and learn about vineyard life.
Restaurant Salwald. Located in Mund, the region renowned for saffron cultivation, this exceptional restaurant offers seasonal and regional delicacies, and their legendary saffron risotto is a must-try.
Gianni’s Genuss Atelier: https://www.gia-nni.ch/
Nestled in the heart of the picturesque old town of Naters, just a stone's throw away from Brig, Gianni's Genussatelier is a sanctuary for wine aficionados. The establishment offers an extensive wine selection and features a gourmet delicacy shop. Gianni also delights guests with lunch and dinner options, showcasing set menus crafted from the finest produce. During the summer, don't miss a visit to Gianni's Gelateria, located just 3 minutes from our hotel—a must-stop for ice cream enthusiasts.
A visit of Stockalper’s Castle is a must… even if you do not like Museums
Built between 1651 and 1671 by Kaspar Stockalper, the Stockalperschloss is a monumental Baroque structure in Switzerland. Its square towers, constructed from granite blocks and topped with gilded onion domes, are named Kaspar, Melchior, and Balthasar, in a nod to the Three Wise Men. It stands as the largest Baroque building in Switzerland.
Brigerbad Thermal Springs - Even the Romans bathed here.
Just a 10-minute shuttle bus away, the Brigerbad thermal springs serve as a year-round wellness oasis. Offering water temperatures ranging from 21 to 50 degrees, the lithium-rich sodium-calcium sulfate waters are particularly beneficial for those with osteoarthritis or rheumatism. The springs have a long history of use, dating back to Roman times.
We pride ourselves on serving the best breakfast in town, sourcing our ingredients locally and seasonally.
Our eggs come from happy free-range chickens at the Adam chicken farm on the Simplon (2,000 m ASL), and our dairy products like yogurts and cheeses are sourced fresh from the Sennerei Simplon dairy farm (https://www.sennerei-simplon.ch/ueber-uns/sennerei)
We source our air-dried meat, known as Walliser Trockenfleisch—a Valais delicacy—from Molinari Sempione.