HONG KONG “We don’t sell rooms, we don’t sell massages, we sell experiences,” Bernhard Bohnenberger, president of Six Senses Hotels, Resorts and Spa, told Mix.
The Bangkok-based company, which manages 10 resorts and 28 spas in 20 countries under the Six Senses and Evason brands, is known for creating exceptional moments in some of the world’s most beautiful locations.
The company was recently acquired by US-based Pegasus Capital and now has 15 properties under construction, including one in Chengdu, China.
Dining in a cave, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
“We remain true to the DNA that attracted Pegasus to us: our very strong focus on ecological and social responsibility. It is really about making the most of where we are – the location, the destination,” said Bohnenberger. “In the old days, you built a big wall around the resort and didn’t care about the neighbours. We are exactly the contrary. We have vegetable gardens growing in all our resorts. We work with farmers and fishermen in the area to set up excursions and cooking classes with local people to give our guests amazing, authentic experiences.”
Vegetable garden at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
Six Senses, the company’s high-end luxury brand, is all about tailor-making these special moments, according to Bohnenberger. “We can do this for small, select groups – board members of a company, no more than 20 people. In fact, 12 people would be ideal. Meetings can happen on the beach, in the forests, on hilltops. For us, it is about finding the most stunning location in the world. We can build into the programme neck massages during breaks and a healthy menu that would make them actually feel better.”
Furthermore, each property has its set of unforgettable moments. In the Maldives, Six Senses Laamu has the open-air Jungle Cinema where a movie can be enjoyed with popcorn and cold champagne. Visitors can also go fishing and have their catch cooked for supper. In Vietnam, Six Senses Ninh Van Bay offers private excursions to the local markets of Nha Trang with experienced guides and a classy five-star dinner set up in a cave.
Six Senses Laamu, Maldives
Companies who pay attention to ecological protection as part of their CSR programmes would be glad to know that Six Senses is taking this advocacy a step further.
“Four years ago, we banned bottled water simply because shipping bottles of Perrier and Evian around the world – past millions of people dying of thirst or polluted water – is an arrogant insult. Also, having a water menu of 20 different types of water somewhere in the desert in the middle of Oman is ridiculous,” Bohnenberger said.
He added that with new resorts under construction, Six Senses “bring onboard companies like UK-based XCO2 and engineers who study the lay of the land, the movement of air and wind, the movement of the weather”.
“It is only in the last 100 years or so that men started building something that doesn’t fit into the environment and then put in an aircon, put in heating and other stuff to fight nature. These companies are helping us go back to the smart way of building and if you do this during the planning stage, you also build in a lot of savings already.”
“Luckily, technology – from solar to anything else today – is becoming more and more affordable and competitive. And you can prove an ROI. Before, people said it cost more to do it this way. Now, it makes more business sense that you have to do it.”