Four hours’ drive south of Tel Aviv to get to a bed for the night? Yes yes yes, in the case of SIX SENSES SHAHARUT it is not only worth every second but this is the perfect example of rising above the norm to reach a unique calm. There are other desert retreats (think AMANGIRI in Utah and some of the myriad of pojects under way in Saudi Arabia) but here you have a massive sculpture that is burrowed into the rock. The land is undulating anyway, dotted with crater-like concavities called makhestim, so the architecture is appropriate.
Philanthropic entrepreneur Ronny Douek had the idea of a resort like this over a decade ago, and the concept grew as time progressed. By the time of opening, September 2021, there were several groups of buildings.
Arrive at the Main Gate, where your car will be parked. Be welcomed with water, plain or flavoured with fresh herbs. Plant, and water, a pinky-sized seedling in a hanging tray, to grow into something special. Next to this planter station is a working bicycle, fashioned from recycled espresso capsules.
No cycling here, unfortunately. The tarmacked road up to the rest of the buildings is much too steep. Buggies, electric of course, are de rigueur. There are five building ‘collectives’ up there, a kilometre east of Main Gate. You have the spa and Olympic-size indoor and outdoor pools. There’s Reception, the main restaurant, main bar and outdoor amphitheatre, and there are three groups of villas.
Villa 9 is one of nine pool villas. From the tarmac, take 19 rough-stone steps down the side of a dry-stone wall to a courtyard shared with Villa 8. Veer right to your private area, with a semicircular, covered, seating place. The pressure-pad opens an unadorned wood door, nearly two metres wide. It swings on an axis to reveal the 65sq m suite inside, a large sitting area – neutral colours, with wrought iron-hung pale lemon fabric art that can be yanked to one side to reveal the television. There’s more fabric art, écru this time, as headboard, wrought iron hung, above the oh-so-comfy bed.
They like exposed metal here. In the bathroom, all dull-copper pipes are deliberately on show, and taps have Hot and Cold metal levers. Being Six Senses everything is basic, suitable and sustainable. Toiletries are in metal push-pots. Everything also assumes you are cultured, or want to be, and you would like to live off the land. This villa’s hardbacks included tomes on Ancient Trees, and The New Artisans. A bottle of wine is a local, 2018 Paradigma, Syrah-Grenache-Mourvedre.
So much more to discover, and share …
See Villa 9