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Soneva Fushi Resort by Six Senses and Rocco Forte Hotels

Editorial by Murray Bailey / May 11, 2009 


We were wrong, it seems. One year ago, we reported Six Senses’ plans to establish a zero-emission resort in the Maldives - ie, Six To Zero.

We were wrong because Six Senses, not satisfied with zero emissions*, now wants to be ‘carbon positive’. Six plans to calculate how much CO2 the resort would have emitted if it used fossil fuels (which it doesn’t), and then plant trees or whatever to absorb that amount of CO2.

Also, it has banned imported bottled water at its resorts. “When so many people do not have access to clean water, it seems a little arrogant to fly in water.” It says revenue from bottled water would be US$250,000 per resort per year, but this is not all a revenue loss because although its own mineral water is free to guests, it charges for crystallised water. 

Other Six developments:

  • All its resorts have an organic farm, which also can be revenue-generating, not just a cost item.
  • One target is “low food miles”.
  • It uses waste for biomass.
  • It plans to use mirrors to heat water, which will then create usable steam, etc.
*The company admits it does not yet know how to achieve zero emissions. For instance, a sales trip by the resort’s marketing manager would emit CO2 unless he swam to India, and then walked to trade shows in Asia and Europe. But Six still targets zero-emissions at Soneva Fushi by 2010, and company-wide by 2020. It has named this process, ‘Evalution’.

Rocco Forte’s rocky road

Rocco Forte hotels is expanding out of Europe, and starting to lose its product definition by doing so.

Its 11 hotels in Europe (two more are due this month) are high-grade hotels in central locations and often in special buildings, with an average room count of 120. But three of its five new ones are bigger than that average, see table. Also, whereas all existing ones are owned, most of the new ones are managed. And although RF may add its luxury interiors and service, its planned hotels in the Middle East are nondescript - compared with many of its hotels in Europe.

RF is also changing by moving into resorts; until now it has concentrated on city centres, even though its market is divided 49% business and 51% leisure. Also, its largest source market is the US (followed by the UK), so that will need to change for most of the new hotels.

RF explains the moves by saying it has reached critical mass, and so it is moving into resorts and out of Europe. It also notes that Lord Forte, father of RF’s Rocco Forte, expanded into the Middle East, and so it is well equipped for this expansion. 

In fact this 40-year-old anecdote has little relevance today, except perhaps in terms of contacts. 

RF plans further expansion in the Middle East, probably 4-6 hotels in GCC countries, but in other Mideast destinations if opportunities arise. It has also opened a regional sales office in Abu Dhabi.

New Rocco Forte hotels:
Location Profile
Prague R-101;  O-May 2009; monastery.
Sicily R-200;  resort; O-May 2009; west of island, 1hr from Palermo, 230ha estate.
Abu Dhabi R-282;  O-late 2009/10.
Marrakech R-98; resort; O-late 2010; 225ha estate.
Jeddah R-198;  O-late-2010.
Notes: All managed except Sicily, owned. O = opening, R = rooms. Source: Travel Business Analyst.


Murray Bailey, Editor/Research Director
46 Blvd des Arbousiers
83120 Ste Maxime, France
Tel: (33-4)-9443-8160
Skype: TBAbailey

Also See: Six Senses Resorts Group (Zero Carbon Emissions) and Accor's Pullman Brand / Murray Bailey Editorial / May 2008



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