Mary Gostelow is emotionally awed by the Negev Desert

Girlahead finds solace at Six Senses Shaharut in Israel

Panorama Pool Villa, outdoor sunset, Six Senses Shaharut

Israel’s Negev Desert might not be as big as the 348,750 sq km Great Victoria Desert but even at a mere 13,000 sq km it deserves to be taken seriously – as does its premier resort, Six Senses Shaharut. It’s a unique oasis, four hours’ drive south of Tel Aviv. In a 360-degree empty panorama, palest pink with uninterrupted blue sky over. You’re emotionally lost in another world even before you arrive.

This was the austere landscape that philanthropic entrepreneur Ronny Douek chose for his resort. By the time it opened, a decade later in the latter part of 2021, he’d built, or rather dug down into the rock, a total 60 villas, plus extensive eatertainment and wellness. Of course it champions the brand’s culture. Be welcomed and watered. Plant a pinky-sized seedling, to grow into something special. Admire a working bicycle, fashioned from recycled espresso capsules (the single-tarmacked road, here, is sadly far too steep for actual cycling).

Arava Valley, Israel

GM is the exuberant Alicia Graham, from Victoria. She shows the adjacent garden, ideal for weddings and pop-up Bedouin dinners. There’s a five-metre metal and glass sculpture of a camel with wings, a maquette for the wood piece Douek commissioned for Israel’s version of Burning Man. As photographs are taken, a bird flying overhead plops its contribution on her jacket lapel. She laughs. Good luck.

Don’t miss an Earth Lab tutorial. Learn which herbs, all picked, dried and distilled as essential oils, do what? Have your already-booked spa treatments, or a sublime massage from an Israeli genius. Hike, laze by one of the pools, indoors or outdoors, whatever.

Panorama Pool Villa

Choose one of the eight villas with private pools. 65 sq m villa #9 is reached via 19 rough-stone steps down the side of a dry-stone wall. A pressure-pad opens an unadorned wood door, nearly two metres wide. It swings open, to review lengthy sliding windows. Look past your six-metre pool, heated of course, to infinity. Neutral interior colours complement wrought iron-hung lemon fabric-art temporarily hiding CNN and dozens of other channels on the outsize screen. Hardbacks include Ancient Trees, and The New Artisans. A bottle of 2018 Paradigma, Syrah-Grenache-Mourvedre, awaits, a corkscrew atop long-stemmed crystal. Bathroom taps have Hot and Cold bronze levers. All pipes are deliberately exposed, retro.

Suite hand-carved stones

Cocktails are in Jamillah (‘female camel’). A pair of giant JBL double-speakers, Japan, mid-1960s, hang overhead, above a Technics SL-1000R table. Choose from over 400 vinyls, best of the Middle East through to Silk Road. Plan. Yes, it’s possible to do a day trip to Petra. One hour to the Jordan border, and on to that Rose City, total three hours. Back home for dinner.

Dine tonight in Shaharut’s Wine Cellar, its walls a gallery of decades-old political posters. By choice, food’s sharing, plate after plate of appetizer mezze, and entrées galore. Syrah Merlot 2016, Judean Hills, shares praise with 2019 Ten Minutes by Tractor ‘Up The Hill’ Estate Pinot Noir, Mornington Peninsula.


Any morning can start with sunrise laps (no-one except an occasional bird can see you). Dress Israel-style, casual-chic athleisure. Progress awestruck round copious breakfast buffet stations – one’s a wooden boat. Anything you can think of, a variety of salmons, yummy cheesecake and oh the breads – from pumpernickel and sourdough through to bagels, every bite is more-ish. Two cooks, in crisp white tunics and peaked linen shower caps, whistle up whatever, to order. Espresso or decaf cappuccino, quick as a flash. Sit outside on a terrace, already-warm sun invoking the enormity of the desert. Stay here forever, or at least a couple of hours. Six Senses Shaharut can claim the world’s longest-lasting breakfast, but other Petra passengers are waiting.

Panorama Pool Villa swimming pool

Mary Gostelow publishes the daily, a weekly newswire Mary Gostelow’s Inner Circle, and a unique weekly 15-minute industry Mary Gostelow Girlahead Podcast, all part of Almont Global.

Subscribe to LATTE’s free eNewsletter to keep up to date with everything in the luxury travel industry.

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.

WP to LinkedIn Auto Publish Powered By :