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The major hotel news from the past few weeks has surrounded property award category changes at the major chains, including Hyatt, IHG and Marriott. However, one of the biggest developments in the hotel industry was the recent acquisition of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas by IHG (InterContinental Hotels Group).
IHG paid $300 million in cash to purchase the hospitality and wellness company from Pegasus Capital Advisors in a deal that includes the management of 16 hotels and resorts, 37 spas and Six Senses’ sister companies, Evason and Raison d’Etre. Six Senses currently has 18 new management contracts in the pipeline and 50 further deals under active discussion. Six Senses expects to encompass 60 hotels within the next 10 years thanks to this deal.
If you’re not already familiar with Six Senses, the company includes standalone spas, but also very high-end luxury resorts in 21 countries across Africa, Asia and Europe with a focus on spa and wellness amenities. Many are located in offbeat, nature-driven, leisure locales, such as the Maldives, the Con Dao archipelago in Vietnam and Portugal’s Douro Valley.
Hallmarks of the brand include commitments to “community, sustainability, wellness and design, infused with a touch of quirkiness.” The spa offerings in particular are predicated on a “wide range of holistic wellness, rejuvenation and beauty treatments administered under the guidance of expert therapists,” for a “high-tech and high-touch approach [that] guides guests on their personal path to well-being….”
In addition to the hotels and spas Six Senses currently operates, the chain has future projects under development in Austria, Bhutan, Brazil, Cambodia, China, India, Israel, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and the US, and presumably this deal will accelerate that expansion.
This is an interesting foray for IHG. The chain has been looking to develop its luxury portfolio lately, including with its 2018 purchase of small luxury chain Regent Hotels. The release accompanying the announcement of the Six Senses deal noted that the acquisition “takes IHG’s portfolio of open and pipeline luxury hotels to 400 hotels (108,000 rooms) globally.”
Exciting Properties for Points
It will likely be some time before we know how IHG Rewards members will be able to earn and redeem points for award stays at Six Senses’ properties. Start saving now, though. Given that rooms and villas at Six Senses resorts can go for well over $1,000 per night, points rates are likely to be expensive, too.
It also remains to be seen whether we will be able to earn and redeem IHG Rewards points at Six Senses’ standalone spas, much like World of Hyatt recently added that ability through its own partnership with Exhale Spa.
For now, here are several of the most fabulous Six Senses Resorts where you might eventually want to put your IHG Rewards points to use when the time comes.
Why stay at one Six Senses when you can enjoy five intimate lodges (with just 82 suites and residences total), all in one destination. Six Senses just opened reservations for its first three lodges in Bhutan on Feb. 15 for reservations starting April 1, with the last two lodges targeted for a summer opening. Each is unique and situated in its own picturesque parcel within the country’s western and central valleys. Guests can stay at any of the individual lodges, or plot a bespoke journey that includes visits to several, or all, of them. Like Six Senses elsewhere, the focus is firmly on healthy cuisine, comfort, spa and wellness, all in the service of self-discovery with the beautiful backdrop of Bhutan’s spiritual natural spaces.
This tropical treasure opened in April 2018 on Malolo Island, a quick boat ride away from Fiji’s international airport on Nadi (NAN). The resort has just 24 private pool villas as well as residences ranging from two to five bedrooms. The resort is fully solar powered off its own microgrid, while other sustainability measures include growing much of the produce used in the hotel’s restaurants. Guests can enjoy activities like scuba, sailing and surfing, outdoor yoga, movie nights and, of course, an abundance of Ayurvedic spa treatments.
This Maldives resort has to be one of Six Senses’ crowning jewels. Located about an hour’s flight from Malé (MLE) by seaplane, the hotel is the only resort in the remote Laamu Atoll, and includes a mix of beach and overwater villas as well as a gorgeous, jungle-set spa, all constructed with sustainable materials. The resort includes six dining outlets, including Zen for sushi, and the treetop Leaf for Maldivian fish dishes and fresh fare featuring ingredients grown in the hotel’s organic garden. The house reef is among the most vibrant in the Maldives, though guests who want to venture farther afield will find plenty of opportunities to scuba, surf and explore nearby islands.
Set at the tip of a forested peninsula along Vietnam’s central coast, the Six Senses Ninh Van Bay feels a world away from the crowded beaches of Cam Ranh, across the bay. It has just 59 rooms and villas sprinkled along the rocky coastline and up the surrounding, jungle-covered hills. While here, visitors can island hop on traditional local boats, visit hot springs, take Vietnamese cooking classes in the organic garden, or even plan a personalized fitness, diet and spa regimen with the help of visiting alternative medicine practitioners.
Set to open later this year in Israel’s Arava Valley, the desert-inspired Six Senses Shaharut will have 60 deluxe villas constructed from materials sourced nearby and decorated with items custom-made by local artisans, not to mention private pools. The hotel will have its own extensive gardens to help supply its restaurants, which will include a juice bar at the spa, as well as a poolside grill for casual dining.
If Phuket is a bit too crowded for you, venture to this isolated isle just about halfway between Phuket and Krabi on the Thai mainland for a bit of resplendent rest and relaxation. The resort maximizes postcard-worthy views of Phang Nga Bay and its iconic limestone karsts. The hillside spa proffers a mix of Ayurvedic and traditional Thai treatments that incorporate the elements of earth, water, fire and air. Guests can also spend their days at dive sites around the archipelago, taking a speedboat to Phi Phi Island, kayaking among mangroves, learning Muay Thai boxing, or simply cruising from island to island aboard one of the resort’s several luxury yachts.
At once a desert oasis and a premier beach getaway, this world-class resort is located along the dramatic coastline of Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, about a 90-minute drive from Dubai’s international airport (DXB). The resort has its own 90-foot yacht for sunset or overnight cruises, and offers on-the-water activities like snorkeling, scuba diving and kayaking. Guests can also go rock climbing, mountain hiking and even paragliding among the area’s craggy peaks. Each villa is a secluded, self-contained sanctuary built in a traditional Omani style, with high, cobblestone walls, wooden gates and an expansive private outdoor area, complete private plunge pool and areas for sunning, dining and dozing.
Surrounded by granite boulders and coral reefs, Six Senses’ only African resort is a private island idyll just 30 miles northeast of Seychelles International Airport (SEZ). Although many guests simply while away the hours by the magnificent private pools in the 30 villas and three- and four-bedroom residences, they can also go swimming with turtles, hike various nature trails and take helicopter scenic tours, among other activities. The spa has an elevated saltwater pool, a yoga and meditation pavilion and a range of treatments inspired by traditional African healing techniques as well as the island’s own flora and fauna.
Featured image courtesy of Six Senses.
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