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Epic houses

June 18, 2024 - What anchors us to a particular place? The artifacts we proudly house in our historic resorts in India, Istanbul, and Portugal whisk you back to a bygone era. Step into the story with us.

We all have a drawer, box, or cupboard at home bursting with personal treasure: old photos, musings, collected artifacts. They help tell our individual stories and chart our journey through life in a series of tangible memories and observations. Similarly, within the storied walls of our Six Senses properties, we’re lucky to showcase a treasure trove of artifacts, each telling a unique and emotion-filled story of a particular place and time.

If walls had ears: Six Senses Fort Barwara

Imagine the stories a 14th-century historic Rajasthani fort could narrate. Tales of intrigue, derring-do, and the immeasurable details that make up everyday life. Although time marches onwards, humans are ever seeking purpose and meaning, a connection we share with our ancestors.

Responsibly restored in 2021 to become a Six Senses sanctuary of well-being, Six Senses Fort Barwara was originally owned by the Rajasthani Royal Family. Following a significant conservation effort to incorporate two palaces and two temples, the resort reinterprets the gracious and regal ambiance of a bygone era dating back 700 years while harmoniously blending modern amenities, from a spoiling spa to sumptuous guest bedrooms and suites, and imaginative dining offerings to crafted experiences.

Working with local tradespeople, every effort was made to retain original structures or rebuild brick by brick using traditional materials to showcase Fort Barwara’s rare beauty. Floors, ceilings, form, and function have remained faithful to traditional Rajasthani architectural proportions and designs while retaining the intimacy of a (royal) family residence.

Journey to ancient wisdom and a temple goddess 

Inside, you’ll happen upon a treasure trove of Indian heritage and culture, with each corner unfolding a chapter of the fort’s story. This unique journey of discovery is inspired by Panchatantra, the Indian collection of fables, which are said to reveal the knowledge to make life "richer, happier, and more fulfilled," thanks to the elegant style in which it reinterprets wisdom for the ages. We encourage you to stop, reflect, and smile as you catch your breath amidst the stunning scenery and heritage surroundings.

Dotted throughout are local artifacts interpreted in a quirky, modern fashion. For example, the Rajasthani mustache and specially designed washbasins in beaten silver finish, and room signage with open/closed eyelashes of a turbaned figure serving as a do-not-disturb element, weave local art and crafts into the modernized design. The curation of handmade rugs throughout the property, each created by local artisans, brings to life unique stories.

Six Senses Fort Barwara faces the Chauth Mata temple — one of the oldest temples in Rajasthan — built by Bhim Singh, Maharaja of Marwar Kingdom, who discovered the Chauth Mata idol, goddess of the lunar month, in a nearby village and placed her divine presence in a temple of worship. Revered as the giver of wealth and prosperity, devotees must climb around 650 steps to reach their spiritual destination.

A must-do experience is our Heritage and Rewilding Walk, which regales you with interesting stories and anecdotes about local culture, traditions, myths, and associated rituals while delving deeper into the history of the Rajawat Dynasty, the most recent ruler of Fort Barwara.

Ghost hunting at Six Senses Douro Valley

This 19th-century manor sits high on a hill overlooking marching vine-covered terraces and the Douro River gently flowing beneath. It has been beautifully restored, with contemporary interiors reflecting the region's rich heritage to lift your spirits and bring joy to your soul.

The Quinta Vale de Abraão (Six Senses Douro Valley to us) is a manor with a story to tell. A Portuguese writer once described the property as “more of a Palace than a house, with the sky as the ceiling and the river Douro that flows at its feet as a companion.” And indeed, Six Senses Douro Valley had a royal past: in a document dating from 1464, the original vineyard belonged to João Lourenço de Seara, a valet to King Afonso V. Roll forward to the end of the 19th century, and his descendants, the Serpa Pimentel’s, inherited the estate. Next time you’re at Six Senses Douro Valley, head to the Open Kitchen in the Vale de Abraão  Restaurant, where photos of the family are on display.

We have two beautiful 18th-century tile panels behind the hearth of Vale de Abraão Restaurant that have inspired us to start a unique project: The Wall of Fame. You can choose the design you like from our life-size catalog of 55 unique tile patterns displayed on the wall of our organic garden. Then, our resident artist will create a perfect copy of one of these ancient tiles to add to the wall and sign your name in history. Join our Tile Painting experience and practice this art form that traditionally tells stories from Portuguese history if you’d like a hand-painted masterpiece to take home.

From making to make-believe

Can it be a heritage house without its very own ghost? Introducing “Admiral” Alfredo Passanha, who was once a foreman of the property. The story tells that he donned a cape to scare off some boys who had come to steal the grapes, thereby entering local folklore even though he wasn’t an admiral or even a ghost!

Bringing La Belle Époque to life at Six Senses Kocataş Mansions, Istanbul 

The conquest of Constantinople (now Istanbul) in 1453 marked the end of the Byzantine Empire and the rise of the Ottomans, whose empire spanned swathes of North Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and as far north as Greece and Macedonia. The empire lasted 600 years until the last Ottoman sultan was overthrown in 1922.

Our two restored Ottoman-era mansions include the eclectic Kocataş Mansion, inspired by the European art and architectural influences of its time, and Sait Paşa Mansion, built in a classic style, located side by side in the prestigious Sarıyer district of Istanbul. Offering remarkable views over the glittering waterway and incorporating splendid architectural features and artifacts paying homage to the building’s original footprint, this is a place of juxtapositions: natural yet urban, contemporary yet historic, gilded yet minimalist. It’s where East meets West.

Restored and revitalized with sensitive respect for 150 years of history, luxurious details in La Belle Époque style fuse with our calming signature minimalism across 43 generously sized guest bedrooms and suites, and variety of dining restaurants. The three-level Turkish-inspired spa features authentic hammams, an ode to oriental bathing, with their decorative glass walls from which you can glimpse the sparkling Bosphorus Strait as it begins its last curve towards the Black Sea.

This iconic Strait has been sailed since the Roman era and today marks one of the world’s most strategic waterways, separating Europe and Asia. Why not hop aboard one of our boats for a relaxed cruise into the peerless cultural melting pot of this special city to visit the Blue Mosque, Hagia Sophia, Basilica Cistern, and Grand Bazaar during our Old Istanbul Excursion.

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