Wellness Opening: Six Senses Botantique, Brazil

For the dedicated party people, the pinnacle of bacchanalia carried on this week in the form of New Orleans’ annual Mardi Gras. But the samba shaking and wild celebrations of Rio’s de Janeiro’s Carnival were decisively shut down by the coronavirus crisis – with the grounds being converted to a vaccination center.  

To be sure, the reality of being 11 months into this global pandemic – although a light is starting to shine at the end of the tunnel – means that the raucous crowds and endless imbibing that characterize Carnival season will have to wait until 2022. But with the notable opening of the first Six Senses property in Brazil this month, visitors can consider the alternative agenda of wellness, nutrition and finding one’s sense of calm amidst nature’s beauty – which is really what we need most right now.

Located a few hours outside of Rio and the hurly burly of São Paulo, Six Senses Botanique is serenely nestled between three river valleys in the Mantiqueira Mountains. Surrounded by springs, rivers, and abundant flora, the intimate accommodations consist of seven suites and 11 private villas that all pay tribute to the country’s indigenous materials and the nature that surrounds them. It’s the brainchild of Fernanda Ralston Semler, whose vision was to build a small luxury property that mirrored Brazil’s traditions, culture, and resources. Brazilian architects and designers utilized reclaimed wood from nearby farms, locally mined slate, three-ton boulders from the adjacent river, and a neutral color palette, then installed floor to ceiling glass panels to give the sense of actually living amongst nature. 

Keeping with the theme – and the ‘Eat with Six Senses’ philosophy – contemporary regional cuisine made with herbs, fruits, and vegetables grown in the resort’s organic gardens and farm are served at Mina, the hillside restaurant, and the Fire Side lounge in the main building. Whether sitting cozily by the fireplace or perched on the outdoor terrace, views of the river-laced mountains provide the backdrop for sipping probiotic home-grown cocktails, snacking on local cheeses and house-made coxinha (chicken croquettes), or indulging in a wine paired eight course dinner. 

The lush grounds also play host to a Six Senses spa, offering wellness days and workshops led by an expert alchemist, who elucidates the locally sourced ingredients, textures, and aromas meant to open one’s senses. The spa is equipped with four treatment rooms, a salt flotation room, rainforest misted sauna, beauty salon, and flotation pool, for the sort of rest, relaxation and healing that more than a year of pandemic stress will certainly be calling for.

“Helping people to reconnect with themselves, others and the world around them is at the center of all that we do,” explains General Manager Dominic Scoles. “We bring a holistic approach to our food, beverage, wellness, sustainability and out-of-the-ordinary experiences. The idea is that the guest returns home better than when they arrived.”

And while trips to Brazil may still be a few months away, what better philosophy to ultimately employ in the service of restoring our minds and bodies?

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