French hotelier Thierry Teyssier’s 700,000 Heures has no permanent address.
One always associates a hotel with a particular place, but 700,000 Heures is the first wandering hotel that shifts its base every six months. Teyssier’s fundamental reason behind creating such a hotel is that human beings spend an average of 700,000 hours on Earth. The world has so much to offer. Teyssier wants people to spend their time more meaningfully and for that life is too short to stay in one place.
The hotel enables its guests to indulge in soulful experiences that can transform how one sees the world.
Founded in 2018, the hotel’s first base was in Puglia, in Salento, Italy. The location was a 19th century palace with sprawling gardens, a beach and olive groves. Teyssier channels his advertising side and his years of being in hospitality to curate rich experiences that immerse guests in the local food, culture, scenery and terrain. A picnic by the beach with fresh sea urchins caught from the sea, lunch under olive trees, breakfast in a cave, a leisurely stroll through the local villages… the activities and experiences are all about making the most of the hours in our life.
It then moved to Cambodia, Brazil and Paris. It is currently housed within a historic temple in Koyasan, Japan, and a traditional house in a nearby fishing village, where it will remain until November 2020. The experiences include mochi pounding (a Japanese sweet made from rice), visit to hidden bars, lessons in gardening, calligraphy and fire ceremonies. Due to the pandemic, this is open only to residents of Japan.
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Thanks to Teyssier’s custom made 100 travelling trunks which store just about everything from sofas, tables, kitchens, beds, sinks, showers and bars, the hotel doesn’t need four walls and rooms to set up shop. The hotel can magically appear on a secluded beach or in the middle of a forest. It also ensures some amount of familiarity for guests, even though the locations may change.
The hotel takes personalised guest experiences to another level, and it all comes at a cost. For those who want to stay at 700,000 Heures, one needs to become a member of Le Cercle des Amazirs. The entrance fee starts at €2,000 euros and there is an annual fee, apart from the cost of rooms per night which also start from around €2,000 euros. Membership will be capped at 250 people.
The next stop for the hotel is La Malbaie in the Charlevoix in Quebec, Canada.
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The hotel actively engages with the local communities where it sets up base and aims to elevate them through sustainable economic transformation, ensuring long-term positive impact even after the hotel as left the place.
Recently, the hotel has launched a philanthropic initiative, Daem, to benefit local communities. Under this initiative, the hotel will provide hospitality training, environmental protection, and responsible tourism promotion through funding for strategic local projects. This is funded by donating a percentage of the hotel’s turnover along with donations from Amazir members and friends.
One such project is to open several ‘Constellations’ or houses before they leave a particular place. These are set within the most remarkable landscapes and embody the spirit of 700’000 Heures. Run by the locals who have been trained Teyssier’s team, they are open to non Amazir members as well. Some of them are open all year round or during specific seasons.