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Best loved from our hosts

February 11, 2021 - From Bhutan to Fiji, Oman, Portugal, Vietnam, Israel, Thailand and the Maldives, our hosts share tales of secret sandbanks, skydiving, swimming camels, treading grapes and dueling yaks. The best things about our resorts that make them what they are!

  • Paro Treatment Room At Spa [9219 A4] (1)

Best loved from our hosts

Six Senses is globally recognized for eco-friendly wellness breaks and wow-worthy experiences. But what makes our Marketing Communication team leap out of bed in the morning? And what best-loved secrets can they share about their resorts?

Best secret hiding place?

According to Richard at Six Senses Zighy Bay, “just next to the infinity pool, each of our villas contains a summer house, which is perfect for grabbing a book and escaping for a few hours. Built from jareed, which is sustainably produced from the spine of the date palm leaves, summer houses are common in Oman and elevated just off the ground. They provide a perfect airflow for the hot summer months.”

In Bhutan, if you want the best spot, says Claudine, you have to earn it, “Lungsigang Viewpoint is located a steep 10-minute hike up from our lodge. Its name means ‘Windy Place’ and it’s the perfect spot for a reflective moment to take in the views of the Himalayas and the Thimphu Valley below.”

One of the best-kept secrets at Douro Valley, Portugal are the follies, which, says Joana, are “little ornamental buildings in the forest, built as a nostalgic nod to a bygone era. Originally, they were there for children to play in or for reading or afternoon tea. Everyone loves them and today we use them to help guests to reconnect with the nature all around.”

“A remote sandbank in the middle of the Indian Ocean has to be one of the most secluded, romantic ways to say ‘I do’ (or say it again!),” says Leanna at Six Senses Laamu. “Your wedding is accompanied by a Boduberu band (Maldivian traditional drumming) and post-ceremony celebrations start with a romantic sunset cruise and private dinner on the beach.”

Which out-of-the-ordinary activity will guests love the most?

“Sound healing meditation at our jungle spa is most serene and calming,” recommends Ary at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam.

Another relaxing activity is to light a butter lamp in Bhutan, “to dispel darkness and offer guests a brighter and more peaceful state of mind.” And, even if you only do it once in your lifetime, Claudine urges you to check your stars. “Have your astrology chart read in our local Dzongkha language by a Bhutanese monk in a sixteenth-century monastery. Who knows what it will tell you, but the experience will definitely stay with you!”

There are also many wildlife encounters at our resorts. Rose recommends iguana spotting at Six Senses Fiji, “take an evening walk through the Iguana Reserve and spot these friendly fellas in the treetops.”

For marine life meet and greets, head to the seagrass meadows at Six Senses Laamu, which are “the primary food source for green sea turtles and a key scavenging ground for eagle rays, feathertail rays, and porcupine rays,” says Leanna. “Most people would only think to snorkel on the coral reefs in the Maldives, but for me, a seagrass snorkel is more rewarding.”

Guests always love to visit our family of camels at Six Senses Zighy Bay. “There’s much more to it than feeding them stone apples (Ed. from the local bael shrub). Depending on the day, you can also watch them being washed in natural neem tree products in our ‘camel spa’, or even join them for a story or swim in the Gulf of Oman,” adds Richard.

How about goat therapy? Yes, you heard that right. According to Alice at Six Senses Samui, “the Goats at Farm on the Hill are becoming way too popular and guests are starting to believe that our General Manager Gary is the farmer!”

Joana invites you to take off your shoes and tread the grapes. “According to our Douro Valley winemakers, the human foot is the best extraction tool for all the aromas that are in the grape skins while avoiding over extracting the tannins that cause astringency.”

What is something you would love to try but haven’t yet?

“Skydiving onto our beach looks incredible,” says Rose. “What could be better than experiencing the beautiful blue bay and white sandy beach of Six Senses Fiji from above?”

Over in Six Senses Zighy Bay, “believe it or not, I’ve yet to experience our famous paraglide arrival,” says Richard. “I mean, where else can you fly into the lobby to check in? Guests are always on a high long after the experience ends. I’ll get around to throwing myself off the Hajar mountains sometime soon, accompanied by our pilot Itsu of course …”

“All 42 flavors of ice cream and sorbet at Ice at Six Senses Laamu! In December, we had many divers at the resort who stayed for long periods of time. As a thank you gift on their departure, they treated the Six Senses family to a pop-up ice cream parlor at our host village. Everyone has their favorites but has anyone actually tried all 42?” Could someone please pass Leanna the heartburn remedy …

“Riding a donkey like I used to do when we were kids,” says Joana. “The stubborn noisy animals are cute and have a very strong personality, but it’s the most fun way to explore the hiking trails around Six Senses Douro Valley.”  

Ary, Naama and Alice have more relaxing pastimes on their minds, with Ary opting to try kayaking to the private beach in the early morning at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay and Naama setting her sights on a massage using our camel milk cream at Six Senses Spa Shaharut. Alice recommends the Amazing Senses Four Hands Signature Therapy with the tropical sea breeze flowing over you in a private sala at Six Senses Spa Samui but warns you may never want to get up from the bed again!

Who would you most love to meet at your resort?  

What a fantasy guest list …

For Ary at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, “it would be a great honor to meet Jane Goodall and explore our jungle with her. I am sure she would be interested in our black-shanked douc langurs and I would learn so much from her.”

Richard, Naama, Alice and Leanna would (gently) fight over David Attenborough as a man who has “led the way in showcasing earth’s natural beauty and raised awareness of the importance of conservation (…) and the need to act quickly to safeguard the irreplaceable. Truly a selfless individual who has a greater purpose.” Just say the word David, you have an open invitation to Six Senses Zighy Bay, Six Senses Shaharut, Six Senses Samui and Six Senses Laamu!

The Obamas are top of the list in Portugal, Rose would like to pick up sustainability tips from Leonardo DiCaprio in Fiji, and Claudine would be honored with a royal visit from His Majesty King Jigme, King of Bhutan.

Best loved dish?

The Fijian Kokoda, which is a traditional light fish dish, similar to ceviche, is a popular reconnection experience with Rose’s guests at Six Senses Fiji. Bhutanese comfort food is momos: “We serve our dumplings stuffed with organic beetroot filling from our gardens for a twist on this favorite Bhutanese comfort food,” explains Claudine.

Ary opts for crispy Vietnamese pancakes filled with seafood, locally known as Banh Xeo, while Richard recommends our authentic Omani Shua Shack experience. “Having been marinated for hours in local spices, the lamb is cooked slowly in a pit under in the sand for 24 hours. It smells and tastes amazing, and really is as an authentic Bedouin dining experience as they come.”

For Alice, hands down it’s the Kra Pao Moo pizza, with baked duck eggs and a handful of hot basil plucked daily on Six Senses Samui’s Farm on the Hill.

As it’s nearly Valentine’s, let’s end with the food of love at Six Senses Laamu: chocolate. “We are one of only three hotels in the world which makes our own artisanal, small batch chocolate. The cocoa, which arrives at the resort in cardboard boxes with brown paper packing, is sourced sustainably from suppliers we know well in the Sri Lankan highlands. Our most loved flavors include lemongrass, mango truffles, sea salt and Maldivian chili.”

Any special moments that have melted your heart?

“I never get tired of seeing the camels enjoying their meals together,” says Naama at Six Senses Shaharut. “Another host and friend recently made a gluten-free dish just for me and I was so touched by that. We also have a tradition of celebrating our hosts’ birthdays every month.”

For Rose, New Year’s Eve in Fiji is always a special evening. “We always have incredible guests that come together and enjoy the evening with the hosts. When the clock strikes twelve, we’re one big family!” In fact, music and singing is a big part of Fijian culture all year round. “The friendly welcome song Bula Maleya, sung to all guests on arrival, never fails to put a smile on my face. Likewise, the departure song, Isa Lei, brings a lump to my throat every time as it is sung so beautifully and with such meaning.”

There are several moments that stand out for Claudine, each as different as they are wonderful. “The first was being warmly welcomed for lunch in the family farmhouse of my driver in Six Senses Gangtey. Witnessing the color and pageantry of the Punakha Tshechu festival: no words. Getting fully kitted out in a kira (the traditional woman’s dress in Bhutan). The tying of prayer flags to share auspicious blessings across the four corners of the Earth. The sound of horns and cymbals at the start of prayers accompanied by the low guttural bellowing of monks as they chant age-old prayers: this gets me every time. Encountering dueling yaks roadside at 3,000 meters en route to Gangtey.” Claudine, for the yaks alone, we want your job!

“A few years ago, two budding young conservationists visited the resort and joined the Maldives Underwater Initiative (MUI) team through the Junior Marine Biology program,” says Leanna. “Last year, when the team launched Junior Marine Biology online, the siblings joined straight away and participated in every single activity. In fact, the MUI team have been adopted into the family. We can’t wait to welcome them back in person.”

Six Senses Douro Valley is dedicated to upcycling. “Clélia, our in-house needlewoman, recycles old woolen blankets and miraculously produces stuffed donkeys, little ragdolls and small couches for pets. It is so beautiful to watch the way she turns rags to art,” says Joana.

Naama treasures the opportunity to welcome the Shabbat every Friday, winding down, gathering for dinner and spending time with family.

At Six Senses Yao Noi, Nicolette Ng remembers a recent moment, “when the team came together to produce our latest video on social media. Just love the spirit of togetherness despite the hard times.”

Alice recalls a long stay guest recently departing Six Senses Samui. “The entire team came to the reception to give them a send-off, never to be forgotten. This unprompted action reflects true hospitality driven from the heart. The guests were overwhelmed and touched by the team.”

And last but not least, for Ary the sunsets at Ninh Van Bay are truly spectacular and would melt anyone's heart …

A hearty thanks to our wonderful Marketing Communications team: Richard Thorburn, Ary Arbani, Naama Ben-Dror, Joana van Zeller, Leanna Crowley, Rose Kavanagh, Alice-Apichana Hiransathitporn, Nicolette Ng and Claudine Triolo for sharing their Six Senses experiences.

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