With Iceland enjoying clean air, sustainable energy and high national happiness, it is no surprise that Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas is daydreaming about the country of fire and ice for its next development: Six Senses Össurá Valley. It will be a hub for people passionate about nature, wellness and adventure by day, and indulgent dining, comfortable beds and perhaps a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis by night.
Where fairy tales come from
The rugged southeastern coast of Viking country has an expansive and diverse natural environment. From glacier tongues, craggy volcanoes, ice-filled lagoons and geothermal lakes to untouched highlands and long black beaches; many of these natural wonders have become famed for their beauty and are visited throughout the year (via the single ring road).
This is the mythical setting for Six Senses Össurá Valley, 4,000 acres (1,619 hectares) of privately-owned land in Svínhólar near Lóni. The flatland at the southern end is adjacent to the Lón Lagoon, which is separated from the North Atlantic Ocean by a beautiful black sand beach. This is the biggest gathering space for swans in the country and Six Senses will be involved in monitoring and protecting this Icelandic population.
Design inspired by sustainability and spirituality
The first phase of the project will see the opening of a 70-guestroom resort and private cottages dotted on the surrounding land serving as an icon for sustainable living. Six Senses-branded residences will offer residents the opportunity to call this exquisite location home and tap into all the unique amenities and privileges of the Six Senses resort.
Built using renewable and locally-sourced materials and adhering to high standards of energy and water efficiency, guest accommodation and residences will tread lightly on the earth while providing an uncompromising level of space and comfort. The project's architect John Brevard has added another layer to the design brief to create a space that considers the implications of human bioenergy, electromagnetism, astrology, sacred geometries and the principles of Feng Shui. The goal is to align guests and residents with natural order and hyperdimensional realities so they recharge and reconnect.
To this extent, the country's mystical elves whose pyramid-shaped homes are scattered around the land will also add a touch of mysticism to the project's design.
The space to flourish
Reinforcing the relationship between the inside and outside, while providing a feeling of comfort and warmth, the resort's welcome lounge will feel integrated into the surrounding environment and include a library, a cinema room, Earth Lab showcasing the project's sustainability efforts, and a water bar.
Six Senses Spa with a functional fitness center, yoga studio and comprehensive wellness programming will be a highlight of any stay. There will be a farmhouse with an organic garden and a cooking school where chefs will share their passion for hearty and healthy food and showcase farm-to-table seasonal recipes.
All-day dining, a specialty restaurant offering seafood delicacies and a lively bar will embrace indoor and outdoor living, following the guiding principles of Eat With Six Senses. Meal with a view will take on another meaning with different destination dining options ranging from over-water wooden walkways and a romantic setting by a waterfall to a traditional boat house.
"This development epitomizes our commitment to finding locations where guests can be right in the heart of nature, and where they will come face-to-face with the raw beauty, power and soul of this magical destination. It will also appeal to experience-seekers looking for something uniquely joyful and playful. Legend holds that mystical elves still occupy the rocks and cliffs of this land. Each time we talk about the project we smile," said Chief Executive Officer Neil Jacobs of Six Senses Hotels Resorts Spas.
Six Senses Össurá Valley is owned and being developed by the Álfaland Hotel ehf under the care and creative inspiration of its partners; architect John Brevard, fashion entrepreneur Áslaug Magnúsdóttir and cultural entrepreneur Jakob Frímann Magnússon.
Áslaug Magnúsdóttir said, "Joining forces with Six Senses represents a great alignment of visions: a passion for protecting Iceland's natural habitat while affording guests the opportunity to connect with pristine nature. We're excited to be creating a special place dedicated to wellness, self-development and sustainability in a breathtaking location. It is a first of its kind resort in Iceland."
Exploring beyond the resort
To the north, Six Senses Össurá Valley is surrounded by a mountain range and the vast Össurá Valley and River. The valley's multiple waterfalls and surrounding landscape lend themselves to out-of-the-ordinary experiences including dog sledging, horseback riding, ice and rock climbing, bird watching and boat trips.
To the northwest of the development is the Vatnajökull National Park with Europe's largest glacier and Iceland's highest peak, the Öræfajökull volcano. The dramatic southern landscapes have also provided breathtaking settings for many movies and shows including Interstellar, Batman Begins, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider, James Bond and Game of Thrones.
Six Senses Össurá Valley is located a 30-minute drive from the airport at Hofn. Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, one of the most popular sites in the country to watch the otherworldly color displays of Northern Lights, is an hour's drive away. Six Senses Össurá Valley is slated to open in 2022.