Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas have emerged as the luxury hospitality brand to lend its name to northern Norway’s self-sustainable, off-grid resort at the base of a glacier on the Holandsfjorden fjord, located just inside the Arctic Circle.
Norway’s self-powered and “energy positive” Svart spa and wellness hotel has been mooted for the past four years and this week it was confirmed that the name of the property would be Six Senses Svart.
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Positioned close to both Bodø and Lofoten on the Norwegian coastline, the 94-room Six Senses Svart combines a futuristic design and technological innovation with earthy, organic materials that use the least embedded energy. The name Svart, which means black and blue in old Norse, is a reference to the natural heritage of the ancient Svartisen glacier. To minimize the on-site impact, Six Senses Svart is perched on poles above the crystal-clear waters of the fjord.
Six Senses Svart aims to inspire guests to “take a beat” and raise awareness of the possibilities of regenerative travel and the importance of the polar region, in partnership with the local community. Inherent in the project is the commitment not to compromise the fragile and pristine glacial surroundings or the property’s beauty and quality.
The major pillars of the design concept – environment and nature, sustainability, technological innovation, wellness, and mindfulness – are integrated in tandem because they all directly impact each other. The project has been a long time in the planning to make sure all parts of the operation support the vision from the start rather than being bolted on as an afterthought. The result will set a new standard in carbon-neutral travel.
Commenting on the brand’s first project in Scandinavia, Neil Jacobs, CEO of Six Senses said, “Sustainable properties call for extraordinary creativity, and Six Senses Svart takes us to a whole new level in terms of pushing boundaries. The concept has become bigger than the project itself, as it will provide a futuristic showcase for what can be achieved in terms of sustainability and energy solutions, and therefore a blueprint within our hospitality industry and the development sector in general.”
Visionary and optimistic design
Taking its cue from the “fiskehjell” (an A-shaped wooden structure for drying fish) and the “rorbu” (a coastal fisherman’s cabin), Six Senses Svart will be constructed on poles, eliminating the boundary between land and fjord, ensuring minimal land impact and seabed disruption. The circular form is tactile, creating a feeling of openness and perpetual consciousness of nature as it gives the building a transparent appearance. The roof not only provides panoramic views and privacy, but enables an expanded distance between rooms for rooftop solar collection.
Pioneering wellness is central to the Six Senses DNA, and this is an opportunity to innovate further, with each guest room becoming a wellness concierge through the Svart Touch concept. Non-invasive touchless technology will adapt the room to the guest’s state of mind and health, providing intuitive options to evoke a deeper sense of well-being.
“Building a unique environment through cutting-edge design and superior craftsmanship comes with clear obligations. Creating a sustainable destination through an optimised resort operation requires us to collaborate with the right partner,” said Ivaylo Lefterov, Svart Development Director.
“Six Senses shares the same ethos and ambition, to redefine bespoke travel through technological innovation, carbon-neutral approach, ground-breaking design, and an exceptional guest journey,” Lefterov said.
Off-grid and carbon neutral come full circle in the Arctic Circle
Six Senses Svart is the first building to be designed and built after the highest energy-efficiency standard in the northern hemisphere. It will harvest enough solar energy to go back into the system, covering the hotel, adjacent operations, boat shuttle, and the energy needed to construct the building – rendering it independent from the power grid.
Such energy-positive buildings could deliver 89% of the 45 percent decrease in emissions required to reach the scenario where global warming is limited to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. As such, Six Senses Svart is the northernmost implementation of the Paris Agreement, demonstrating that carbon neutrality can be not only feasible in a sophisticated development at an eco-sensitive site, but can also be profitable.
It will also be self-sustaining, complete with its own waste and water management, recycling, and renewable infrastructure. The team will work with existing sustainable fishing and farming operations and engage local like-minded suppliers for the restaurants and bars.
“To enhance the vision of Svart, we have established a Net Zero Lab, a vehicle for developing and taking to market the technology created by us in a joint effort with Six Senses to reach the common goal for net-zero travel. This means the guest journey will have zero environmental impact from start to end. The mission is to achieve common ground for all stakeholders pushing the technology to the next level to benefit the resort and the industry at large,” said Jan-Gunnar Mathisen, CEO of the project’s owner and developer.
Expected to open in 2024, Six Senses Svart will feature all the signature standards of the brand including Eat With Six Senses, Sleep With Six Senses, Grow With Six Senses, The Alchemy Bar and the Earth Lab – the latter an incubator for innovation and education, for guests to understand how new technologies can bring the sector closer to carbon neutrality as part of a cradle-to-cradle hospitality offering.
“Six Senses Svart is redefining the travel experience through technological innovation, ground-breaking design, and exceptional guest wellness journey by creating a carbon-neutral visionary destination where we can showcase the core pillars of what modern hospitality design and operation can achieve,” Lefterov commented.