Six Senses chief teases host of new properties

The chief executive of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas has teased new properties in Africa, Scandinavia and the Americas.

Neil Jacobs labelled 2021 a “crazy” year after opening five properties in Brazil, Spain, Israel, India and the Maldives. However, he confirmed the group’s ambitious growth strategy would not be stalling.

“The goal was to take Six Senses from a resort-focused brand on the beach to a global platform on every continent, including select urban environments,” he said.

“Over this 10-year period, we have accomplished those goals. 10 years ago, we didn’t have one hotel in Europe. We now have three or four in Europe and five or six under development. It’s the same in the Americas and we continue to do some properties in Asia. 

“We haven’t yet conquered Africa, but we will probably be announcing something quite soon in the southern part of the [continent].”

Speaking on a webcast with Aspire, Jacobs also hinted at more properties in Scandinavia following the recent announcement of a resort in Norway and the upcoming opening of Six Senses Ossura Valley in Iceland.

Admitting the hotel brand likes to create “circuits” in destinations, he said: “We’re actually looking at doing something in Lapland in Finland.”

Six Senses, which currently has properties in Belize, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Grenada under construction, also hopes to do more in the Americas.

“There’s plenty we can do in the Caribbean and it would be super cool to have one or two more islands and then that’s probably enough,” Jacobs said. 

“On Ecuador, we were the first brand to be given permission to build in the Galapagos which is a super fragile ecosystem so we’re very excited about that. Ecuador is the kind of country where one could do three or four small hotels.

“Latin America is very under supplied compared to other parts of the world. Partly because it’s not for the faint hearted to do business in Latin America – inflation and currency value is like a rollercoaster so you really need solid partners who are of the area who understand their way around that. I think that’s why there aren’t more branded hotels, but I’d love to be in Argentina, Chile and Peru.”

Six Senses will also open its first property in London at the end of 2023. The 110-room hotel will form part of a largescale restoration project of department store Whiteleys in Bayswater, West London, which will also feature 14 condominiums and retail space.

The hotel will offer one of the first iteration’s of Six Senses’ membership club concept, Six Senses Place, which will be open to residential owners and hotel guests as well as the local community. 

“The big idea here is to create community around Six Senses and what Six Senses does,” said Jacobs. 

“We're finding these days that probably 50% of our projects have a residential component that go alongside it so – and sorry if it sounds a bit corny – it really is a lifestyle statement and this ability to create community for like-minded people that care about the same things.”

Asked what the brand looks for in a property, he told Aspire: “They have to have a story to them. Yes, they need to be beautiful and we’re okay if they’re a little bit remote - it allows us to celebrate the land, culture, history and folklore. It’s stuff like that that really gets us excited about the future and future projects.”

He added: “We’re often asked how many is too many? The answer to that is as long as each property is accretive, you can do 50, 60, 70 but you can never get caught up in the numbers game of it. It needs to be one at a time and we need to be very discerning because every new property impacts all the ones that come before it. That’s the focus. We’re not frightened to say no – we say no to way more than we say yes to for that reason.”

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