A year since the opening of Six Senses’ first destination spa, brand managing director ANA MARIA TAVARES spoke to LIZ O’REILLY about the concept
Please can you explain a little about the Six Senses Destination Spa wellness concept and what it means for visitors?
There are a variety of avenues for total wellness and with the development of the Six Senses Destination Spa brand comes the opportunity to define wellness in one clear message: Total wellness is created by continually balancing all the facets of one’s lifestyle (the self) into a healthy flow and balanced integration where people have wellness in five definitive areas social, physical, intellectual, emotional and spiritual and where they are able to find satisfaction with the levels in each.
What was the inspiration behind the creation of this new part of the brand and how does it differ from the other Six Senses properties?
Due to the increase in lifestyle diseases and the lacking awareness of how to prevent them, destination spas are enjoying increasing popularity and importance as they fill this void by offering guidance to prevention. Recognising this Six Senses decided to add the dedicated wellness brand to its portfolio.
Six Senses Destination Spa is differentiated from its sister properties by offering all-encompassing and integrative facilities, programmes and services that guide individual spa-goers to develop healthy habits. The whole environment is dedicated to healthy-eating, fitness, wellbeing, relaxation and renewal and is supported with spa services, integrative health programmes, physical fitness, wellness education, healthy (and raw) cuisine, edible landscaping and special interest events. The goal is to help guests develop a holistic and balanced approach to wellbeing.
Are there any exclusive treatments only available here?
Yes, consultations for various needs including an arrival consultation for each guest to develop a tailor-made personal programme; one of the most differentiating experiences for guests is certainly the option of lifestyle coaching through a programme called the Wellness Wheel which introduces 12 key dimensions. The supporting coaching programme allows guests to understand how to make specific aspects of wellness active in every life choice, activity and belief. The programme starts during the stay at the Six Senses Destination Spa and continues long after the guest leaves by providing feedback, insights and guidance on the guest’s lifestyle.
How has the destination been received in its first year of operation?
Due to the global economic crisis, the starting months – late 2008 and into 2009 – experienced comparably slow business. However once optimism returned to an increasing number of markets and the positioning of the new Six Senses brand was well underway in key markets, occupancy levels tremendously increased so that we ended 2009 with close to 100 per cent. Having now had a significant number of guests who spread the word-of-mouth, surely 2010 will be positive all throughout. Many guests have returned already multiple times.
Is the spa popular with Middle Eastern guests?
Yes, we welcome increasing numbers of guests from all throughout the Middle East.
Numbers are growing and mostly they are looking for fitness and weight-loss support. It is myth that in order to lose weight one has to decrease food intake and literally starve, which is absolutely the wrong thing to do. We guide guests towards firstly a healthier and more balanced diet that can be sustained long-term and secondly by identifying an exercise regime that starts as a booster at the resort and can then also be taken forward and integrated into daily life.
Are there any plans to expand the destination spa brand and if so where? Would you consider bringing it to the Middle East?
There are definitely plans for expansion now that the first Six Senses Destination Spa has been successfully developed. The Middle East is certainly one of the targeted regions. The Middle East already enjoys some of the best spas I have seen that are at a very high international level. Taking a destination spa to this region would be perfect and complete what is there already. What the region lacks are the complete integrated wellness services that will encourage people to change/adjust their lifestyle and become more aware of how much they can do to prevent some of the lifestyle diseases that now prevail in this region, such as obesity.
Are there any special offers available?
There are a number of promotions available through our regional office in Dubai including a GCC resident offer and special offers for Visa Infinity Ultima and Ultimate card holders, in conjunction with Citibank Dubai, UAE, and Bank of Muscat, Oman, Visa Infinity card holders.
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