Wednesday newsletters always feature a hotel or flight review.
Late September, I was supposed to travel to French Polynesia for a holiday of a lifetime. Unfortunately, due to the ongoing pandemic, that trip was cancelled two weeks prior to departure, so I had to look for a last minute holiday elsewhere. In the end, I choose Spain as a travel destination, where I enjoyed a wonderful time, despite some unusually rainy and dreadful weather. You can read my trip reports here:
Today: Review of Six Senses Ibiza Resort
Conceived by architect Jonathan Leitersdorf, Six Senses Ibiza is a year-round destination set in Xarraca bay, a long-hidden secret on Ibiza’s northern tip. Integrated into its contours to enjoy unobstructed sunsets, the property features 116 guest rooms and suites. Six Senses Ibiza offers a comprehensive range of amenities and programming, farm-to-table dining, music, art, sustainable fashion, culture, longevity and wellness. Unfortunately, despite it being a brand-new Six Senses Resort, the property did not live up to its hype during my visit, and I would not advise to book a stay there unless it has sorted out its teething problems (which I am sure it will in the coming months, given all the bad Tripadvisor reviews the resort got over the past summer).
Six Senses Ibiza features in my top 10 list of the best luxury hotels in Ibiza.
Have you ever stayed at Six Senses Ibiza? If so, what was your experience? Leave a comment.
In this review (more info and photos below my YouTube video):
PROS & THINGS I LIKE
- Located just 30 minutes from the airport, Six Senses Ibiza is tucked away in a picturesque cove on the northern tip of Ibiza. Famous for its laidback lifestyle and raw, unspoiled nature, the island’s sleepier north side is a world away from the party scene and legendary nightlife on the southern shores. Ibiza’s north side also has a reputation as a wellness and healing destination, offering several excellent yoga and spa retreats. Ibiza’s quieter, more rural and calmer north side is also the place that most often is connected with the hippie movement and the bohemian culture. For example, the whitewashed hamlet of San Juan with its happy, hippy Sunday market is a 10-minute drive away from the resort.
- Sprawled across a pine-clad hillside, the vast property is comprised of several pavilions which tumble down the cliffs towards the crystalline waters of Cala Xarraca Bay. Due to its hillside position, most hotel areas enjoy unobstructed and dramatic views of Ibiza’s northern shoreline, the Mediterranean Sea, and spectacular sunsets. On top of the hill is the hotel’s massive welcome pavilion, which houses the reception area and the Farmers’ Market Restaurant. From here, a walkway leads to the hotel’s central piazza, which is home to the main pool area, the activity center with library, and HaSalon Restaurant. Below the pool area, just above the shoreline, are the spa and caves rooms (more on that below).
- Blending into its brilliant natural surroundings, Six Senses Ibiza is designed to look like an utopian village. The resort’s unique exterior was conceived by architect, developer and owner Jonathan Leitersdorf, who drew on themes of spirituality, celebration and community. The result is a tactile Finca-style aesthetic which mimics the tonal colors and textures of the Balearics, from shifting rust hues of the walls that mirror those of the cliffs across the bay to bamboo-clad roofs that resemble Ibiza’s traditional fisherman huts. All hotel pavilions are immersed in greenery with living roofs and bougainvillea trailing across walls, while the surrounding Mediterranean landscape is dotted with of lemon, fig and pomegranate trees.
- Also designed by Leiterdorf, the Six Senses Ibiza’s slick and understated interiors are largely inspired by the local landscape and traditional Ibizan craft. The resort’s chic, contemporary dwellings are decorated in a soothing color palette dominated by rustic stone and earth tones. Public and private areas are fitted with the highest quality features, midcentury furniture and modern finishes, while natural materials like rattan, wood, leather cushions and woven fiber add an authentic touch. The walls of the hotel’s corridors are adorned with classy Magnum black-and-white photograph. Design aficionados will be able to identify iconic furniture pieces like Michel Ducaroy’s Togo sofas or Herman Miller’s Eames chair.
- Six Senses Ibiza features 116 guest rooms and suites, including a couple of cave suites built into the cliffs. For guests in need of more space, three-, four- and five-bedroom townhouses are also available, each with private pools, indoor-outdoor living spaces and garages. For my holiday at the resort, I had booked a ‘Sea View Premium Junior Suite’. Featuring a locally-sourced décor, the gorgeous suite had a modern yet cozy atmosphere. A generously sized bedroom gave way to an outdoor sitting area and private rooftop garden terrace, providing extra living space from sunrise to sunset. The large ensuite open-plan bathroom was fitted with his and her sinks, a rain shower, and standalone bathtub. Floral robes by Milan-based brand La Double J were provided.
- Leitersdorf’s design of the resort was guided by the following motto: “a perfect day consists of 12 hours to connect with yourself and 12 hours spent with the rest of the world.” As a consequence, half of Six Senses Ibiza’s spaces are meant for solace and privacy, while the other half are dedicated to convivial, community socialization. The heart of the hotel’s social areas is the main pool area, which features a fabulous infinity pool lined by two rows of comfy loungers. Curving alongside Cala Xarraca Bay, the pool decks enjoys some of the most spectacular views on the entire island and is in the sun until sunset. It’s the perfect place to unwind with a book and order a cocktail, on condition that you are able to secure a lounger (more on that below).
- Six Senses Ibiza offers four restaurants:
- Located within the minimalist lobby is the Farmers’ Market Restaurant. Replete with red Porsche tractor and a twisted ceiling-height olive tree, the venue is an informal all-day dining destination, surrounded by a juice & veggies bar, a coffee shop offering the Dalgona coffee, a bakery, a pizza stall, and a pinchos station.
- Located next to the Farmers’ Market Restaurant is Orchard, an outdoor venue with communal tables beautifully laid in the shade of our citrus trees. It’s the property’s most intimate dining venue, blending classic, local cuisine with Mexican-Peruvian cocktails.
- Helmed by Israeli chef Eyal Shani , the resort’s signature restaurant HaSalon showcases plant-based dining, hereby harnessing the island’s natural abundance of ingredients – from avocados to watermelons, oranges, lemons and Ibiza rock salt. The venue features a stunning 50-seat chef’s table in the shade of 100-year-old olive trees.
- Beach Caves is a stunning feat of design and architecture built into the rock overlooking the sea on the edge of Xarraca Bay. The complex comprises a series of caves, including two dining rooms where Hip New York sushi outfit BondST offers a menu of sushi and sashimi alongside a range of Japanese-inspired dishes.
- The highlight of the resort is the Six Senses Spa, which is built into the cliffs below the main pool area. From tailored treatments provided by global practitioners and expert yogic masters to multi-day immersive retreats, everything is centered around the wellbeing of guests. Spa facilities include a steam room, hammam, indoor pool, and several treatment rooms along with a state-of-the-art fitness area, café and juice bar. The spa is also home to the Rose Bar, a one-of-a-kind destination for impactful longevity programs, combining diagnostics with nutritional guidance and modern healing methods. Outdoors there are massage catacombs with direct access to organic gardens, where ingredients for the spa botanicals are grown.
- Powered by its own renewable energy source – up to 51 percent at any given moment – and with punchy zero waste and zero single-use plastic targets, the Six Senses Ibiza has sustainability at its core. The result is the Balearic Islands’ first resort to achieve certification by BREEAM, the world’s original and leading assessment of sustainability within the built environment. For example, 298 solar panels cover 10% of the resort’s electricity needs and10 Olympic sized swimming pools of water are saved each year by using modern geothermal cooling systems. The property also supports a local hedgehog sanctuary that takes care of the spiky little animals populating Ibiza Island when injured or in need.
- The resort is operated by Six Senses, one of my favorite luxury hotel brands in the world. After its launch in 1995 by Soneva CEO Sonu Shivdasani, Six Senses quickly became recognized as the hospitality industry’s pioneer of sustainable practices, demonstrating that responsibility can be successfully wedded to uncompromised high-end facilities. Six Senses Resorts & Spas are always located in some of the world’s most unique and beautiful places. Whether it be a Six Senses resort on a remote private island or a Six Senses Spa in an exciting urban setting, the touch-points are always decidedly the same. I have previously reviewed the following Six Senses properties:
CONS & THINGS TO KNOW
Due to its spectacular views, fabulous design, brand new facilities, and management by the Six Senses brand, you would expect Six Senses Ibiza to be the best resort on the island. Unfortunately, it’s not. I am writing this review with a heavy heart as I wanted to love the property so much but there are just too many kinks the resort needs to work out first before positioning itself as Ibiza’s top hotel.
- A major design fault of the resort is the relatively small pool deck (with only around 75 sunbeds) compared to huge number of rooms (116 rooms, none of them with a private pool). As a consequence, during times of high occupancy (which was the case during my stay), there are not enough sunbeds available at the pool. It’s pretty much absurd to pay all this money for a high-end resort to be confronted with no seat availability at the only pool area. Apparently, the resort has known this issue since the opening a few months ago, so the right thing to have done was to block some rooms during the past summer season to avoid a capacity problem at the pool. Also, the resort is popular with families, so inevitably, you’ll be confronted with playing and screaming children at the pool (that’s not their fault of course).
- Food is a huge disappointment, especially at the signature restaurant HaSalon, which is promoted as a fine dining destination helmed by a Michelin-starred chef. Well, it is not, and it doesn’t even come close to a sophisticated dining experience (despite astronomical prices). First, the poorly presented menu of HaSalon is very confusing with no distinction between starters and main courses. Second, the taste of the meals is blend and their presentation uninspiring: most of the dishes I ordered during my stay consisted of grilled meat and vegetables just thrown on a plate. I also had dinner at the Farmer’s Market one night, where meals looked and tasted the same as the ones I was served at HaSalon, so there is no differentiation between the two main food outlets. In addition, the dining venues feel very crowded and getting a reservation at one of the restaurants during times of high occupancy is challenging.
- Service is not good. The staff is very friendly and tries their best, but apparently lacks experience and training. Some examples:
- At breakfast, I consistently received the wrong dishes. Also, all dishes were always served at once, making breakfast a very rushed affair (maybe to clear tables for other guests since the resort was operating at full capacity).
- I had lunch one day at the pool (on the one day I was able to secure a sunbed) but it started raining halfway my meal. The staff was rushing to remove all the seat cushions but nobody seemed to care about me, the only guest left at the pool (which was utterly weird). When I finally took my plate and glass myself to the indoor bar, everything was soaked with water and still nobody came to offer assistance.
- My dinner reservations were made at the wrong restaurants. One night, we had a reservation at the Beach Caves (confirmed by the staff) but it turned out to be at HaSalon (and the BEach Cave had no record of our reservation). Again, the staff seemed not to care about these mistakes, nor to make any effort to try to correct them.
- Although it is a matter of personal taste, I feel that the design of the lobby is not what you would expect from a luxury resort. It feels more like a foodcourt in a theme park or shopping mall, with the red tractors adding a weird touch to an underwhelming decor. The poor design of the lobby contrasts with the resort’s beautifully executed exterior and the great decor of the rooms.
- The Six Senses brand is all about serenity, tranquillity and understated luxury. Unfortunately, the massive scale of the resort (with a huge number of rooms) and the fact that there’s only one pool area makes a serene ambiance almost impossible. IMHO, this would work for an InterContinental Hotel (to stay within the IHG group) but not for a Six Senses.
In summary, my main issues with Six Senses Ibiza are the lack of seat availablity around the pool, the disappointing food experience, the crowded ambience everywhere, and the lack of service. If the hotel does not address all of these issues, it might cause harm to the Six Senses brand in the long term (since its guest come with certain expectations). On a positive note, I was contacted by the management after sharing my feedback with them, who recognized there were several problems during their opening season. To tackle the issues, resort management decided to build a second pool, to diversify the food offerings, and to further train its staff to the levels you would expect from a Six Senses. They convinced me to give the resort a second chance, so I am going back next summer, after which I will write a new (and hopefully more positive) trip report.
- Location: 9/10
- Design: 8/10
- Pool: 8/10
- Rooms: 9/10
- Food: 4/10
- Breakfast: 5/10
- Spa: 9/10
- Service: 4/10
- Value for money: 5/10
- Overall experience: mediocre 6,5/10
TIPS FOR FUTURE GUESTS & SAVE MONEY
- Save money: read here my tips for getting the best deal at a luxury hotel like Six Senses Ibiza (and/or receive many free perks).
- Save money: IHG – the mother company of Six Senses – has a loyalty program which I reviewed here and which allows you to collect points and exchange them stay for free stays at IHG properties, including Six Senses Singapore.
- Read my tips for preparing your trip in time.
BEST TIME TO VISIT
The best time to visit Ibiza is during the summer months, from late May through early October, when temperatures are hot and the parties are even hotter. Expect lots of action, plenty of tourists, and expensive hotel rates. Visit late spring or early fall to avoid the biggest crowds and the hottest temperatures.
HOW TO GET THERE
Six Senses Ibiza is located 30 minutes from the airport. Check the Wikipedia page of Ibiza Airport for an updated list of airlines that offer direct flights to Ibiza.
Below is a selection of my photos of Six Senses Ibiza. To view more hotel photos (including meals), click here.
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