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November 16, 2020 - Surrounded by lush, mid-tropical Atlantic forests, our first resort opening in Brazil, and indeed the Americas, is aptly named Six Senses Botanique. It is planning to open its doors early 2021 so come on in for a sneak peek.
Six Senses Botanique lies in the desirable Mantiqueira area, halfway between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, 3,940 feet (1,200 meters) above sea level and at the confluence of three river valleys in the heart of the Mantiqueira Mountains. These are known as the “mountains that weep” due to the abundance of springs and rivers.
Enjoying a temperate climate with endless sunny days, Six Senses Botanique integrates mountain serenity with local features and modern luxuries to create a place in which to rekindle connections with nature and the world around.
Formerly known as Botanique Hotel & Spa, the hotel was born out of Fernanda Ralston Semler’s vision to set a new benchmark in luxury hospitality that was completely home-grown, recognizing local traditions and culture, as well as its natural setting. The hotel was constructed in 2012 by regional architects and designers using indigenous materials such as jacaranda wood, natural stone, and chocolate slate. The slate is mined just once every 17 months and the hotel’s bearing walls incorporate three-ton boulders from the adjacent river. The massive 120-year-old wooden beams are reclaimed from farms in nearby Minas Gerais. Huge glass panels line the rest of the construct to evoke a sense of “outdoors inside” with uninterrupted views of Mantiqueira’s valleys and mountains.
Fernanda’s vision has remained at the heart of the hotel ever since: “Ironically, Brazil did not have a hotel that was profoundly and uniquely Brazilian. Botanique was built over many years to fulfil this niche, with entirely local architecture and interiors, and also a locally inspired library, gastronomy, spa and cosmetics, and even films in its in-house cinema. Added to this was a dedicated team of locals who learned their trade in a new format that eliminated departments. This resulted in what is considered Brazil’s utmost small luxury hotel – and nothing would be more fitting than joining forces with the world’s utmost luxury hotel brand.”
When the property adopts the Six Senses brand in early 2021, it will offer seven suites in the main hotel, ranging from 645 to 970 square feet (60 to 90 square meters), and 13 private villas, from 1,184 to 3,230 square feet (110 to 300 square meters), dotted in the hills around it. A further 14 villas are planned and will be constructed off-site in a modular manner using local materials. They will be sited to minimize their impact on the surrounding flora and fauna.
Six Senses signature venues such as the Experience Centre, Alchemy Bar and out-of-the-ordinary dining spots will also be added next year.
There will also be 37 branded residences, again constructed using an eco-friendly modular approach, available for purchase off-plan, with the first phase already underway. Owners will have access to all the hotel’s facilities, amenities and services and the opportunity to place their homes into the rental program managed by Six Senses.
Just as the farm-to-table cuisine and fine wine celebrate Brazil, so does the design. Each of the design elements, from the choice of building materials to the interiors and unique services on offer, has been thoughtfully chosen to respect the region’s topography, native traditions, art and contemporary culture.
The dining room is in the main building and perched on the ridge to maximize the views. It is warmed by suspended fireplaces and there are rich wood floors underfoot. The spacious outdoor hillside terrace is shaded by natural awnings, playfully filtering shadow from light. It is also home to a signature bar which will serve a range of ‘living drinks’ from homemade probiotics to tonics made from local ingredients alongside a traditional beverage menu.
Outside, a main pool, Grow With Six Senses kids’ club activities and Earth Lab are also planned for Six Senses Botanique in 2021. In addition to fitness programming including capoeira, the Afro-Brazilian martial art, there are hiking and horse-riding trails for exploring the native forest and observing the exuberance and beauty all around.
Nowhere is the local influence more evident than in the spa, which currently features eight treatment rooms, relaxation suites, floatation pool, CO2 bath and tropical rain humid sauna for a host of water-based therapies. New treatment rooms, relaxation and wellness areas, as well as a fitness center will be added next year.
In addition to treatments which incorporate Brazilian botanicals, the spa will offer a holistic haven of wellness programming integrating specific programs such as yoga, detox and anti-aging. Guests can also allow time to reset with a wellness takeover through a choice of Wellness Days including: Boost Your Immunity to build a strong body; Mind Your Brain to improve mental clarity; and Love Your Heart to achieve deeper self-connection and harmony.
“Six Senses Botanique will appeal to guests seeking an eco-retreat in nature along with authentic Brazilian design, culture and cuisine,” says Six Senses CEO Neil Jacobs. “We’re also putting together a program of rituals, workshops and festivals, offering time out to focus on living at ease with oneself and others and in a more reciprocal way with the natural world. What a wonderful place to breathe in the peace and beauty all around to find harmony and reconnection.”