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

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