Wedged within a rumpled bundle of gigantic granite boulders and tangles of untamed jungle on the edge of the Indian Ocean, the spa at Six Senses Zil Pasyon, Seychelles is one of the world’s most dramatic and surreal.
Transforming a wild, private island into a resort is no simple task— especially if your top concerns are sustainability and wellness. For their first foray into Africa, the luxurious Six Senses brand chose Félicité Island as their first port of call. One of the Seychelles’ inner Granitic islands and the fifth largest in the nation of 115 islands, Félicité is a gorgeous and challenging site, but Six Senses let their dual pillars of sustainability and wellness guide the way.
The location of the spa was the first big decision made in the resort planning process: It was clear to Studio RHE, a London-based design and architectural firm, that it just had to be placed on the island's north coast in a particularly theatrical group of rock formations, dangling out over the sea. The rest of the resort was designed around the decision to create the spa here.
"Early on, we discovered an incredible route between two 20-meter-high boulders," says Richard Hywel Evans of Studio RHE. "We then choreographed the arrival sequence from that via a rope walkway between the stones. We then located each treatment room in the best location between the stones [so that] each one is totally private with the most amazing views, harnessing the wind and sounds of the waves. Finally, we placed the spa pool out on the final rocks—just short of the ocean."
The 19,000-square-foot spa opened in the spring of 2017 some six months after the hotel’s grand opening. The delay was due in part to the brand's intrinsic dedication to preserving the surrounding natural environment. “At Six Senses Zil Pasyon we felt that nature was so dramatic that we could not tame it, instead we wanted nature to tame us,” said Anna Bjurstam, vice president, Six Senses Spas in a press release.
This is apparent in the spa’s rope bridges and elevated wood platforms, which leave plenty of room for nature to flourish unimpeded. The ethos is also reflected on the island of a whole: The resort only takes up about onethird of Félicité and the rest of the island remains completely untouched.
"Happily, we share the ambition of these pillars [of sustainability and wellness]," says Evans. "So it was a very natural marriage of design and operation."
"We always try to use as many local materials as possible, but here we are a very small island off another small island! So everything is brought into Mahé (the Seychelles' capital) then sent out by landing craft and transported around the island in manageable packages. The design called for a blend of natural and modern materials, and this meant that we could progress the construction of the hotel and residences whilst the prefabricated pieces were in manufacture, which lead to an effective working program."
The spa shares the natural and modern adjectives with the rest of the resort and residences: There's an elegant-but-untamed garden, which acts as a center point, as well as a source for fresh herbs like lemongrass to be used in holistic treatments. There are also five double treatment villas (ask for the The Nature Villa to enjoy a surreal outdoor shower), as well as a hammam, sauna, steam room and salon.
But the spa’s most extraordinary amenity has be the elevated salt-water infinity pool, which sits atop the massive boulders as if overlooking the edge of the world. The pool can be privately reserved, and that package includes a 60-minute aromatherapy massage followed by a sunset tipple of Ruinart Blanc de Blancs. For the ultimate unwinding massage experience, opt for the "Relaxing" massage oil made in-house with notes of vetiver and Katrafay, a white mahogany from nearby Madagascar.
In addition to the house-made oils, treatments also feature products by Terres d’Afrique, an organic botanical brand from South Africa; a whole rainbow of healing crystals; and Tibetan singing bowls. There are also salon treatments available, like avocado hair masks, mani/pedis, etc., and even a Junior Spa Menu with Mini Me facials and massages.
Treatments like a wellness screening to assess key physiological biomarkers; chakra meditation; and Abhyanga Marma Fusion, which is a form of energy balancing.
The spa is also the site of a sublime meditation and yoga pavilion, where classes like Discover Yoga, Yogic Detox, and Yogic Sleep are offered.
Elegant resorts offers a 7-night stay from £6,500 per person (a saving of £6,000 per couple). Price is based on two persons sharing a Hideaway Pool Villa (garden view) and includes a 20% rate reduction and complimentary full board, economy class flights from London Stansted with Emirates, private helicopter transfers and UK lounge passes. Minimum stay of four nights. Offer is valid until December 21, 2019. For further information, please contact Elegant Resorts Reservations on 01244 897294 or visit www.elegantresorts.co.uk