Back in February 2019, IHG paid $300 million to acquire Six Senses Hotels.
Six Senses is, at its best, a true luxury hotel group in a way that none of IHG’s other brands are (sorry InterContinental, sorry Regent). It instantly became the top brand in the portfolio.
If $300 million seems cheap, it is because Six Senses did not own any of its properties. IHG was simply buying the brand, 16 management contracts plus a further 18 signed deals and a ‘work in progress’ pipeline of 50 projects.
Where can I find Six Senses?
Here is the current Six Senses property list, including 2021 openings:
- Bhutan – Six Senses Bhutan
- Brazil – Six Senses Botanique
- Cambodia – Six Senses Krabey Island
- China – Six Senses Qing Cheng Mountain
- Fiji – Six Senses Fiji
- India – Six Senses Fort Barwara (opens September)
- Indonesia – Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali
- Israel – Six Senses Shaharut (opens August)
- Maldives – Six Senses Laamu (pictured above)
- Oman – Six Senses Zighy Bay
- Portugal – Six Senses Douro Valley
- Seychelles – Six Senses Zil Payson (pictured below)
- Spain – Six Senses Ibiza (opens Summer 2021)
- Thailand – Six Senses Samui
- Thailand – Six Senses Yao Noi
- Turkey – Six Senses Kaplankaya
- Turkey – Six Senses Istanbul
- Vietnam – Six Senses Con Dao
- Vietnam – Six Senses Ninh Van Bay
The jewel in the crown, perhaps surprisingly, was not a beach resort. The property in Portugal, Douro Valley, is widely regarded as the most luxurious resort in Europe (photo below). It is set outside Porto and has an exceptional reputation for its rooms, food and spa.
What is happening with IHG Rewards?
IHG has historically been very slow to integrate new acquisitions into IHG Rewards, and Six Senses is no different. It has taken over two years to get to this stage.
As of today, SIX of the resort properties are now part of IHG Rewards. These are:
- Six Senses Yao Noi, Thailand
- Six Senses Laamu, Maldives
- Six Senses Botanique, Brazil
- Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam
- Six Senses Uluwatu, Bali, Indonesia
- Six Senses Fiji, Fiji
You can earn and spend IHG Rewards points at these hotels. Redemptions are possible for stays from 27th April.
You can’t book on ihg.com
Six Senses hotels show up on the IHG website but you cannot book there, even for a points night.
You need to go to the Six Senses website here.
Free nights seem to offer real value
In theory, IHG Rewards redemptions at these hotels are revenue-based. This usually means that you get around 0.4p per point.
There does appear to be a cap in place, however, which means that outsize value is possible on peak dates.
Here is an example in Bali:
You are looking at either 60,000 points per night or, after rounding, either £250 per night for a non-refundable room or £500 for a fully flexible one.
At £250, you are getting my target valuation of 0.4p per IHG Rewards point. If you need flexibility, however, you need to compare it with the £500 rate and you are getting 0.8p. 0.8p per IHG Rewards point is excellent value.
Here is the Maldives:
You are looking at 100,000 IHG Rewards points or £800 – £900 per night for cash. This means that you are getting 0.8p to 0.9p per point.
Note that IHG is imposing 7-14 days cancellation penalties on points booking at these hotels. You will not have the flexibility to cancel at the last minute in most cases.
Good news if you are Ambassador, Royal Ambassador or Kimpton Inner Circle
If you have InterContinental Ambassador (we explain what IHG’s Ambassador status is in this article), Royal Ambassador or Kimpton Inner Circle, you are in a good place with these hotels.
This is what you will get:
- Complimentary breakfast for two in the main restaurant each day.
- Signature Amenity of either a complimentary 50-minute Six Senses Spa massage for two or local experience once per stay
- Complimentary one category room upgrade (subject to availability, excluding residences and two bedroom or greater suites/villas) – so not guaranteed, even for Royal Ambassador members
- Extended check-out of 4pm for Ambassador members subject to availability. Guaranteed for Royal Ambassador & Kimpton Inner Circle members.
- Early check-in of 10am subject to availability for Ambassador members. Guaranteed for Royal Ambassador and Kimpton Inner Circle members and in circumstances where the room is not available at 10am, the member may be checked into another available room until the original booked room becomes available.
- All benefits are also applicable on reward nights when booked directly through IHG channels
Given that you can buy Ambassador membership for $200, it will be worth it purely to get free breakfast on a stay at any of the six hotels above.
Bad new for IHG Rewards elite members
Virtually all elite member benefits are suspended at Six Senses. You will receive a ‘welcome platter’ in your room but that is about it.
You will not even receive a ‘Member Rate’ if you book a room for cash.
This is only the first step in integrating Six Senses into IHG Rewards, with many more resorts to come.
Based on the pricing I saw yesterday, I am quite excited about the potential to get outsize value on Six Senses redemptions. Buying IHG Rewards points in a sale, when they go for around 0.4p, may makes sense at these hotels.
I think there will be some grumbling about the lack of elite recognition, especially from Royal Ambassador members who do not get a guaranteed upgrade. On the other hand, buying Ambassador for $200 looks good value as you will get free breakfast – and a Six Senses breakfast won’t come cheap.
I look forward to seeing Six Senses redemptions roll out, and potentially finally get to try out the Portugal property.