A Conscious Collection
A sustainable approach defines a stay at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay.
Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, Vietnam.
It is not everyday that you get to collect your own eggs for breakfast. But that was exactly what we found ourselves doing this morning. As our resort host Frankie threw open the gates to the free-range chicken farm, we were immediately greeted with a cacophony of squawks and growl. We then made our way to the coop and as gently as we could, scooped out two eggs from beneath the mother. With the eggs in our basket, we headed to the kitchen to have them prepared.
Collecting fresh organic eggs for breakfast is just one of the experiences guests are encouraged to have at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay, a luxury quasi-secluded resort across the water from busy Nha Trang. Six Senses, a chain of resorts with sustainability at its core, was founded in 2006 and today takes pride in sharing its principles with guests, such as in this morning’s activity. The chicken farm has plenty of room for its residents to roam. And it was evident from how plump they looked. The other thing we noticed about the farm was the lack of any unpleasant odour. “You noticed that too, didn’t you?” asked Ngoc Nguyen, the resort’s sustainability supervisor as she showed us around. “Chicken droppings usually have a very pungent ammonia smell. You don’t smell it with our chickens partly because of their diet. Here at the resort, we mostly feed them excess from our resort kitchen so they get stuff like our organic vegetables, rice and pho (noodles). Not bad for a chicken, yes?” Ngoc asked laughing.
The farm is part of the Six Senses Earth Lab initiative that exists across all other Six Senses properties. Six Senses Ninh Van Bay’s was launched in November 2018, continuing the brand’s values in preserving and conserving the environment. Guests are encouraged to take on the Earth Lab tour to learn more about the resort’s sustainability efforts. Which was what we were doing today. As Ngoc
guided us through the organic vegetable garden, she tells us about the children’s programme that lets them sow the soil and help with transferring seedlings. There is also a hut on site where a huge cauldron turns lemongrass, eucalyptus and orange peels from the farm into essential oils that are then used in the spa. Roaming further, Ngoc brought us past the water treatment plant and solar panels. The resort saves around 15,000 plastic bottles per month by producing their own water using reverse osmosis and bottling them in glass.
Putting the environment first is also at the heart of the resort’s architecture, where it deftly demonstrates you can seamlessly merge commitment to sustainability with luxury. All 59 villas are built to blend in with the local culture, have private pools an offer panoramic view of the bay. Our villa, a two storey beach-fronting abode and mere steps away from the water, is made
from sustainable wood and natural sourced materials. Large floor-to-ceiling sliding glass doors in the sleeping quarters allow natural light in while providing ample ventilation. This translated to minimal need for air-conditioning which in turn reduces energy consumption – and that is good for the planet. The living room upstairs is made of dark wood with highthatched roofs and an open concept to enjoy the late evening breeze and sunsets.
As with everything else, even dining at Six Senses Ninh Van Bay takes on the brand’s sustainable values. The resort’s organic produce supports the farm-totable concept with creations such as the stunning pomelo salad with laksa leaves. Sitting with Chef Alex one evening, we spoke about the food philosophy and why there will still remain imported cheeses and salmon on the menu. “A core value of Six Senses is to consciously choose better quality food from
the grassroots until it reaches consumers, or it is made consciously. There are some instances where there is no solution. We are a luxury resort and we are expected to have certain things like cheese, for instance, so we have to try to find the best of them.” But guests will not find blue fin tuna on the menu, and oysters and lobsters appear only on special occasions and big events.
The kitchen uses fresh ingredients as much as possible and cooks them as healthy as possible. The idea, says Chef Alex, is to have guests taste the food as how it should be, without flavour enhancers and the like. So here at the resort, pho broths are made from scratch and flavoured with prawn shells and vegetables and they make their own ketchup with just three ingredients: tomatoes, vinegar and sugar. The same goes with their homemade ice cream, complimentary to guests everyday at the ice cream shop, where seasonal flavours include passionfruit, green apple, mango and chocolate. “Ice cream in access is not good. But our ice creams are made on site. We do not use fillers and any of those nasty things that go into commercial ice creams. So essentially what we’re trying to do is encourage guests to really think about what goes into their food and know that there are better alternatives and that they should try to make that switch,” explains Chef Alex.
As I left Chef Alex at the restaurant and made my way to get my third sorbet serving of the day, I was comforted of the thought that being sustainable – whether in food or lifestyle choices – can be achieved while on vacation. Six Senses just made that offering a bit more plausible. Royal Brunei Airlines flies Ho Chi Minh City 6x weekly for easy connections to Ninh Van Bay. Discover things to do in Ninh Van Bay in www.muhibah.com.bn