Project of the Week: Six Senses Belize

Image © Six Senses
Our ultra-luxury Project of the Week will combine vivacious beach and secluded island elements offshore Belize in Central America.

IHG Hotels & Resorts’ Six Senses Belize will encompass both resort villas and residences, with opening scheduled for mid-2025.

Secret beach

The resort and residences will be set across two areas surrounded by 4,448 acres of protected wetlands and mangrove forests. A stretch of beachfront on Ambergris Caye, the most sought-after destination in Belize, will offer watersports, adventure and nightlife, while a five-minute boat ride away is a  private island for the secluded overwater villas, spa and wellness facilities.

Secret Beach will be the main activities hub for Six Senses Belize. This 18-acre (7-hectare) part of the resort boasts a private beachfront and offers an eclectic mix of daytime and nighttime amenities, anchored by an Experience Centre. 

There are plans for organic gardens complemented by a labyrinth, mushroom hut, cooking school, food market and teens’ club. Further amenities will include an outdoor pool, ice cream parlour, overwater restaurant and Cinema Paradiso. Secret Beach will also be the main location for watersports with a dive centre, Marine Discovery and a wide range of activities on offer. This area will be home to 24 residences, ranging from two-bedroom to seven-bedroom, available to purchase.

Private island

The other section of the retreat will be located on a 10-acre (4-hectare) private island, 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometres) across the water from Secret Beach. Located there will be resort villas and a handful of residences for purchase, with a selection of the residences placed on expansive decks. Facilities will include an overwater sunset bar, all-day dining village, BBQ Hut serving freshly cooked seasonal catches, communal outdoor pool, and children’s club.

Along the island’s Eastern and Western shores, there will be 44 one- and two-bedroom resort villas and a three-bedroom retreat villa, most of which will be overwater bungalows accessed by jetties. Blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor living, they offer a place to reconnect that’s in tune with the surrounding mangrove reserve, sea, wildlife and nature.

Integrating nature

Built around the natural lagoons to the north of the preservation area, the Six Senses Spa and Wellness Village will feature an Alchemy Bar, Holistic Anti-Aging Centre, fitness centre, indoor and outdoor treatment areas, Temazcal lodge and outdoor yoga pavilion. 

Nestled within the organic gardens to the north is the plant-forward Leaf restaurant and a raised viewing lounge, high in the canopy.

Refined residences

The island’s collection of three, four, and five-bedroom residences will be organised along a central breezeway, and rising organically in and around natural foliage, allowing for an indoor-outdoor lifestyle that is typical for Belize and the Caribbean climate.

Passive design strategies are employed to reduce energy consumption. Each residence is placed between the mangrove forest and estuary on one side and its own stretch of beach on the other.

The western residences will have ocean views from most rooms and beach access, while the structures further east provide raised living rooms with access to wide horizon views and connect to the pool gardens below. In addition to an expansive master suite, there is a separate lock-off villa, which may be rented out separately at the owner’s convenience.

Sustainable development

With longevity and low environmental impact in mind, renewable wood will be the principal material used in the facades and buildings are modular and prefabricated to keep on-site construction to a minimum. Buildings are orientated to maximise passive solar strategies for energy efficiency and to capture cooling breezes. Green roof areas should provide an extra layer of insulation and thermal mass, while other areas will be covered with discreet solar panels.

The natural vegetation along the beach zone will be left intact, preserving this natural barrier. Plus there are plans to revegetate red mangroves and plant species to further preserve the beach and serve as a roosting and foraging habitat for birdlife. The overwater structures will be built in such a way as to provide a benthic habitat to enhance productivity and biodiversity as well as fish life.

Design collaboration

The resort and residences are the result of a design collaboration between architects Studio Caban, interior design house Maed Collective, landscape designer Maat Handasa, and sustainability experts XCO2.

The choice of materials and interior finishes is inspired by an understanding of the cultural and natural local resources. Soft materials will be employed for the resort, which is designed to harmoniously blend with the surrounding nature.