Montagne Alternative

COMMEIRE, ORSIÈRES, SWITZERLAND

Located in the picture-postcard Alpine village of Commeire, Montagne Alternative is devoted to preserving and nurturing the unique identity of this beautiful Swiss region and teaching the world about its rich traditions. It is made up of a group of 300 year old buildings, which have been lovingly modernised to create a sanctuary in which to learn, create and rest. Montagne Alternative encourages guests to connect with nature and explore longstanding traditions, such as the medicinal properties of wild Alpine plants.

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Creating the idyllic retreat Montagne Alternative has been an innovative, privately funded effort. The resort was developed by entrepreneur Benoit Greindl who discovered the area by chance whilst on holiday and felt inspired to develop a nature-based business there that would help it thrive.

 

Prior to Benoits investment the medieval village of Commeire struggled, as young people would leave in search of work. His visionary plan has seen the villages population recover to around 100, with many local residents employing centuries-old skills to support Montagne Alternative, such as plant-gathering and bread making, fostering a new sense of community based on shared history.

 

The guiding philosophy at Montagne Alternative is find your nature, and every aspect of the resort is anchored in the understanding that life is enhanced by a deeper connection to and respect for the natural world. Guests enjoy locally sourced produce for every meal and are encouraged to learn through nature-based activities, such as walking, climbing, skiing or even paragliding.

 

Montagne Alternative is a sanctuary from the modern world, run on a sustainable profitability basis, making a positive impact on the local economy. In addition, it creates opportunities for new complimentary businesses and increases income for existing neighbouring projects. It is the traditional Swiss Alpine village meets the latest in hospitality.

 

www.montagne-alternative.com

The 4Cs

Montagne Alternative joined The Long Run in 2017 and committed to a holistic balance of the 4Cs – Conservation, Community, Culture and Commerce – as a means to contribute meaningfully to the biodiversity and the people of their local region.

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CONSERVATION

One of the unique features of Montagne Alternative is that the retreat space was fully incorporated into the existing village, meaning family homes are dotted around retreat spaces. During the projects development it was critical that the original features of the historical buildings and eco systems were preserved without compromise. This was achieved by exclusively using local craftsman in the renovations and with continuous input from villagers. The result is that the interiors of the former barns have been converted into stylish, timeless modern living areas, while the exteriors remain largely unchanged. A new network of footpaths weaves between the buildings and open spaces, leading guests away into nature and inviting it in.

 

The garden of Montagne Alternative emphasises the direct link between the field and the plate, and the benefits of a local, natural diet. Fruits, vegetables, herbs and special aromatic plants found in the region are used in the restaurant Arpalle, producing traditional dishes. Some plants are cultivated to make unique syrups, herb teas and cosmetics. Furthermore, Montagne Alternative collaborates with organic certified local developers and mountain agriculture to ensure the quality of the landscape is maintained forever.

 

COMMUNITY

Montagne Alternative describes itself as a glocalconcept: thinking globally and acting locally.

 

It believes in preserving the identity of its local community, and that respecting and learning more about different identities is the solution to building a better world. The retreat is fully integrated with its Swiss community, both structurally and culturally, and close links with local people are key to its ethos of passing on age-old knowledge about the natural world and its bounties.

 

To help guests connect with nature and create a deeper sense of community the retreat offers unique expert-led workshops and activities. These include a special walk seminar accompanied by a local astronomer, and a nutrition course which involves collecting wild Alpine plants to be used for cookery and learning about their medicinal properties and health virtues. There are also no televisions and no room keys which allows guests to build up a sense of connection with each other.

 

Montagne Alternative has enriched the existing local community by bringing people to the village of  Commeire, which has led to the opening of an independent business start-up and a shop to serve guests. The retreat believes that connecting with nature is a powerful tool for developing self-awareness and becoming a conscious actor for creating a better world.

 

CULTURE

In a world of noise, Commeires quiet tranquility means it’s a spiritual place. Montagne Alternative promotes new ways of learning based on the different human dimensions: body, mind, heart and spirit. The guiding philosophy is that the world is in deep transition, so people should take the time find their natureto help create the most positive future for themselves and the wider world.

 

The culture focuses on developing the spiritual development of guests by creating a safe place for reflection and inspiration, a space to share with peers, learn and get the energy to impact the world positively.

 

Enjoy local produce served to you whilst admiring the highest peaks of the Mont Blanc mountain range and the Valais Alps original cookery workshop based on healthy nutrition.

 

COMMERCE

Commeire was once a farming village, however, agricultural activity has gradually disappeared over the last few decades. Montagne Alternative has helped revive traditional practices, helping to ensure the regions extraordinary Alpine culture lives on by reaching a much larger audience.

 

The owner, entrepreneur Benoit Greindl, passionately believes that businesses can be a force for good when driven by innovation and the desire to create value for society. Montagne Alternative strives to integrate all stakeholders of the company into the business equation, which has resulted in it becoming the first B Corporation in Switzerland in 2014 – committing it to a series of environmental and social strictures.

 

Montagne Alternatives philosophy is based on the principles of conscious Capitalism: a value-based organisation, strong connections with the local community, a fully aligned team and a strong consideration of the environment. It works with towards a higher purpose a connection to nature – meaning the purpose is not just to optimise profits, but to guarantee sustainable profitability on a long-term basis. It believes that purpose and profit can come together. The company has been created and developed following that philosophy.

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