Technogym
Technogym
Technogym

People profile

Neil Jacobs

CEO, Six Senses


We are certainly in a period of industry consolidation,” says Neil Jacobs, CEO of wellness resort brand Six Senses. In February, InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG) acquired Six Senses from Pegasus Capital Advisors for a reported US$300m (€267m, £229.5m). The sale included the management of 16 Six Senses hotels, 37 spas, and sister spa management companies Evason and Raison d’Etre. Jacobs says the deal “reinforces the IHG commitment to creating a very high-end portfolio of brands, and says to the markets that they care enough about wellness and sustainability to conclude the Six Senses acquisition, rather than another boutique brand.”

It was Six Senses’ focus on wellness and sustainability, along with its “impressive management team”, that IHG pointed to as reasons for the purchase. Jacobs, who’s been CEO since 2012 and who has a personal passion for spa, sustainability, design, food and experiential travel, is certainly a part of that team. He has more than three decades of experience in running and developing hotels and spas, including heading up the Spa Task Force at Four Seasons.

Wellness innovation
Many of Jacobs’ passions are growing in importance – and increasingly overlapping – for today’s travellers. “As people become more conscious about their health, they’re more accepting of different modalities, including the spiritual and mindful, and become more curious each year as to the possibilities,” Jacobs explains. “What will keep [wellness] relevant is continued work around new initiatives, jumping feet-first into the lesser-known healing arts, and doing work to devise programming that is interesting and exciting for our customers.”

Those new initiatives and programmes are driven by a Wellness Innovation Group, headed up by Anna Bjurstam, vice president of spa and wellness for Six Senses. The group is charged with the ongoing creation of wellness content for the brand, which recently has included the launch of a Grow With Six Senses programme for children; a holistic anti-ageing concept at Six Senses Kaplankaya; the development of a jet lag app; and the Sleep With Six Senses (see SB18/2 p66) and Eat With Six Senses programmes, which address sleep health and nutrition, respectively.

Focus on ‘spa as spa’
Despite these broader wellness initiatives, spas remain at the heart of each Six Senses property, with every location offering signature treatments and therapies, plus locally inspired therapies, yogic programmes, and more traditional feel-good pampering. Therapists are drawn from all over the world, and visiting practitioners add an extra depth of knowledge.

But it’s the move to take wellness outside the spa, integrating it into the entire stay for guests, that has set Six Senses apart from the competition. “Spa is a big part of the wellness offering, but it’s not the only part, as we know,” says Jacobs. “We remain focused on ‘spa as spa’ to ensure that our spa offerings remain vibrant and relevant, and interface properly with all of our other content.”

Accelerated growth
Jacobs says it’s ‘business as usual’ at Six Senses since the acquisition, though some restructuring may follow to deal with growth and the multiple new properties which are scheduled to launch in the next few years. These planned openings include a hideaway in Israel’s Negev Desert; the transformation of a series of 19th-century mansions in Istanbul; and the group’s first project in North America, a contemporary duo of twisting towers designed by inspirational architect Bjarke Ingels in New York . Additional projects are currently underway in Austria, Brazil, mainland China, Spain, Switzerland, Taiwan and Thailand.

In March – just after the acquisition – Six Senses opened two ambitious projects: Krabey Island in Cambodia, set on a private island near Ream National Park, which includes an expansive spa inspired by the sacred Khmer Kbal Spean River; and Six Senses Bhutan, which will include five lodges and a circuit of spas spread over the remote Himalayan kingdom.

“This is an exciting new era for Six Senses,” says Jacobs. “IHG believes in our purpose to merge the two platforms of wellness and sustainability to promote personal health, and the health of the planet. Joining forces with IHG means we can use a wealth of systems and operational excellence to grow our brand and reach new markets – without losing our quirky personality and playful touch.”

Six Senses is now expected to grow to 60 hotels within the next 10 years, as IHG plans to accelerate the brand’s growth globally. But with other major hotel groups jumping on the wellness bandwagon, whether with in-house offerings or buyouts, will the demand for wellness continue?

“There’s absolute certainty that wellness is here to stay,” says Jacobs. “The entire world is talking wellness. It means different things to different people, but it’s not going anywhere.”

Gallery
Click on an image to open the image gallery
company profile
Company profile: Blu Spas, Inc.
Since the 1998 launch of spa & wellness design and planning company Blu Spas, Cary Collier, Doug Chambers and their international team have provided solutions for a wide variety of projects, including hotels, resorts, clubs, mixed-use and residential properties. 
Try cladmag for free!
Sign up with CLAD to receive our regular ezine, instant news alerts, free digital subscriptions to CLADweek, CLADmag and CLADbook and to request a free sample of the next issue of CLADmag.
sign up
features
Marianne Shillingford
"The technology involved in paint is extraordinary"

Used cleverly, colour has the power to influence how people use the spaces they inhabit, says the creative director of Dulux

Elina Grigoriou
Elina Grigoriou
"Temperature, noise level and colour affect our stress levels. As designers we should be asking ourselves, how do these things match up?"

The London-based interior designer and wellness expert hopes her new book will help readers understand how to design with wellbeing in mind

Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards is housed in 35 Hudson Yards, a tower building designed by SOM’s David Childs
"Further hotels have been confirmed for Los Angeles, Santa Clara, CA, Seattle, Chicago and Houston"

Rockwell Group and Joyce Wang on the inspirations behind the guest rooms, public spaces, spa and gym at Equinox Hotel Hudson Yards

Catalogue Gallery
Click on a catalogue to view it online
To advertise in our catalogue gallery: call +44(0)1462 431385
Extreme Climates: Into the wild
"Funding woes and murky timelines are common problems. It can be easier to make a difference one small project at a time"

From parks designed to mitigate the effects of flooding to warming huts for one of the world’s coldest cities, these projects have been designed for increasingly extreme climates

The dramatic-looking Musée de la Romanité opened in June in Nîmes, France
Elizabeth de Portzamparc
"We need to stop the destruction of our world through predatory practices. We need to think of the future"

The architect behind Nimes’ Musée de la Romanité on designing to counter loneliness and the need for more cultural buildings

features
"We tried to take over in a friendly way"

The Standard’s first London hotel is bold, fun and full of surprising touches

Health & Fitness: Working it
"We’ve designed the space so that the atmosphere is intimate"

Les Mills’ new studio spaces at its iconic Auckland City Gym showcase a trend away from masculine ‘grunty’ gyms to something altogether different

cladkit product news
Alberto Apostoli and Newform collaborate to launch the A.Zeta showerhead
The showerhead offers two modes; rainfall or waterfall
Megan Whitby
Italian architect Alberto Apostoli has renewed his partnership with Newform – an Italian wellness company – and designed A.Zeta. A.Zeta ...
Fabio Alemanno Design uses elegant semi-precious stones to create memorable spa experiences
Alemanno believes the stones are well-placed in the spa environment thanks to their capacity to positively support physical and mental health
Megan Whitby
Fabio Alemanno Design has expanded its collection with semi-precious stones to enhance spas, wellness facilities, hotels and private residences. The ...
Eden project uses drones to spell out climate change warning
Magali Robathan
Almost 300 drones were used to signal an environmental message above the Eden Project’s biomes, during the UN Climate Change ...
cladkit product news
Alberto Apostoli designs tech-forward Wellness Therapy furniture collection for Varaschin
The furniture collection draws on absolute geometries, pure lines, neutral colours and strong references to nature
Megan Whitby
Furniture manufacturer Varaschin has unveiled the new Wellness Therapy range, designed by Italian spa and wellness architect and designer Alberto ...
Jaffe Holden helps bring Academy Museum of Motion Pictures alive
Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics for the Academy Museum
Magali Robathan
Acoustical consulting firm Jaffe Holden provided architectural acoustics and audio/video design services for the recently opened Academy Museum of Motion ...
Cosm unveils Experience Centre with ‘one of a kind’ LED dome
The new Experience Centre houses a 20m LED dome
Magali Robathan
Cosm, a global technology company that builds end-to-end solutions for immersive experiences, has unveiled its Experience Centre which houses a ...
cladkit product news
Móz Designs columns anchor the world’s largest indoor aquarium
The design of the columns was inspired by the sea
Magali Robathan
After a two-year renovation, Oakland-based metal experts Móz Designs have unveiled their inclusion in Georgia Aquarium’s new shark gallery. Located ...
Codelocks develops new glass door smart lock
The new lock model allows facilities and building managers to create and manage access via an app or online portal
Megan Whitby
Codelocks has launched its first glass door smart lock to bring intelligent access control to modern spa, leisure, fitness and ...
Diamond balloon concept merges tourist attraction with advertising billboard
Magali Robathan
A group of Dutch engineers have presented a new attractions concept that combines a flying observation cabin with LED digital ...
Technogym
Technogym