The average person has 700,000 hours to live, a jolting statistic that prompted Frenchman Thierry Teyssier to create the “wandering hotel” 700’000 Heures. Though the logistics are complicated, the concept is simple: 700’000 Heures will take up a fleeting residency in an entirely new location to provide a never-to-be-repeated immersion in the destination.
Guests will stay in magnificent private homes ordinarily inaccessible to the public; insiders will provide privileged access to the region’s most exceptional attractions; lavish surprises will feature throughout.
As the founder of Morocco’s storied Dar Ahlam, Teyssier has drawn on years of experience to craft this unprecedented offering. He told me it was «the laboratory» for 700’000 Heures.
Just as Dar Ahlam guests can choose where to dine, future visitors to Teyssier’s roving properties will eat where and when they wish. The concept is being bolstered to create «a hotel with no limits, a rubik’s cube» that can be modified at will to provide every guest with an entirely personalised experience.
The project debuts in September in Gagliano del Capo, Salento in southern Italy, with the accommodation a vast old palace decorated with frescos and mosaics. There guests might travel the countryside in a vintage Fiat 500, dive for sea urchins and dine on freshly made pasta in the property’s candlelit courtyard.
As Salento is one of the world’s oldest wine producing regions, oenophiles will no doubt want the 700’000 Heures team to facilitate a tour of the region’s ample vineyards — the team will be happy to do so.
In November, the project pops up in Siem Reap. There guests will tour cordoned-off pockets of the temples of Angkor and reside in one of Cambodia’s most exquisite Khmer wooden houses.
Next year the concept will emerge in Lencos Maranhenses in the north of Brazil, with guests occupying a lagoon-side beach house close to the dunes. Simple pleasures are likely to form a significant part of the itinerary: sailing or kitesurfing, leisurely barbecues and caipirinhas enjoyed barefoot at the outdoor beach bar.
Other details are scant for now. As every pop-up will be a complete one off, the full range of possibilities that will be available to guests is being kept under wraps. Access to the trips will be restrictive too.
Teyssier intends to build a sense of community around the concept by developing a members’ club called Le Cercle des Amazirs, with membership fees starting at €2,000 (an amount that is refunded against any stays booked). As well as staying at 700’000 Heures properties, members will be able to participate in scouting trips; will enjoy special access to artists associated with the project; and will enjoy special private events at various interesting locations throughout the year.
It’s an ambitious, unusual offering and while potential guests will be obliged to invest significant trust (and capital) in Teyssier’s vision, his pedigree in luxury travel and background in theatre have produced high hopes that something intriguing, dramatic and uplifting is about to be unfurled. For his part, Teyssier promises that every hour spent with 700’000 Heures will feature its own magic moment.