The announcement of the new development on Ambergris Caye, Belize at Cayo Rosario and Secret Beach, was made this week that boasts an ‘out of this world experience’ for its guests and residents.
“Six Senses Belize, resort and residences, will be uniquely set across two areas: The sun-drenched stretch of secret beachfront on Ambergris Caye, the most sought-after destination in Belize, offers an abundance of water sports, adventure and wild nights in equal measure. A five-minute boat ride away, or swim for the sporty, offers private island bliss for the secluded overwater villas, spa and wellness facilities.”
The development of this property as come with lots of controversy and friction from local island residents who say that the island is known as a “bird caye” – a rookery for migrational birds and a nesting spot/hatchery for wading birds and is a crown jewel of Ambergris Caye’s fly fishing world. In recognition of the importance of these waters to the reef, to the tourism industry and to the ecology, the waters around Cayo Rosario were added to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve in 2015.
The intended developers wanted to build quite a number of over-the-water structures for the resort, but constant public pressure from conservation-minded San Pedranos and assessments by the government’s environmental departments have forced a significant downsizing of the project. Below is the press release from Six Senses Belize Describing more about the development.
Exhilarating Adventure and Isolated Bliss
This means, after hopping on a short flight, guests can check in to their desert island abode, enjoy a swim or massage in paradise and sundowners on the deck and then get dressed up to head over the water for a fun night out with family and friends all on their first day.
“Throughout, the emphasis has been placed on sensitive integration of landscaping to connect guests with nature and allow for greater privacy and coveted ‘desert island’ appeal,” says Neil Jacobs, Chief Executive Officer of Six Senses. “We’ve drawn inspiration from local craft and Belizean life, capturing the spirit and history of Mayan architecture and local heritage. Everything has been done to embody a new generation of travelers, eager to make memories, while preserving the island for future generations.”
Secret Beach is the main activities hub for Six Senses Belize. This 18-acre (7-hectare) resort boasts over 700 feet (215 meters) of private beachfront and is just up the coast from lively San Pedro on desirable Ambergris Caye. It offers an eclectic mix of daytime and nighttime amenities, anchored by the Experience Center. There are plans for organic gardens complemented by a labyrinth, mushroom hut, cooking school, food market and teens’ club. Another outdoor pool, ice cream parlor, overwater restaurant and Cinema Paradiso offer nightlife, socializing and Belizean culture galore. Secret Beach will also be the main location for watersports with a dive center, Marine Discovery and a wide range of activities on offer. Secret Beach is home to 20 residences, ranging from two-bedroom to seven-bedroom, available to purchase.
There will be 45 resort villas and a handful of residences for purchase also located on a 10-acre (4-hectare) private island, 1.7 miles (2.7 kilometers) across the water from Secret Beach. During the short boat ride, guests pass a large sandbar, with unimaginably turquoise waters. This also belongs to the property and will be the setting for private picnics, reconnection experiences and “I do’s”. The current arrival to the southeast of the island is like entering an untouched, mysterious paradise and Six Senses Belize will maintain this sensation. It also stages the first glimpse into the island, where its inner wetlands and mangrove forests are at their most pristine. This landscape will be sustainably protected as a natural preservation area for the existing flora and fauna and will be made accessible to connect to the island’s biotope. The south of the island also enjoys unspoiled horizon views, which will be shared by an overwater sunset bar, All-Day Dining Village, BBQ Hut serving freshly cooked seasonal catches, communal outdoor pool, and children’s club.
Along its 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 totally in tune with the mangrove reserve, sea, wildlife and nature all around.
Built around the natural lagoons to the north of the preservation area, the Six Senses Spa and Wellness Village will be the beating heart of the resort. This offers inward-looking, healing experiences among the existing mangroves at the edge of the wetlands. Initially, it will feature an Alchemy Bar, Holistic Anti-Aging Center, fitness center, indoor and outdoor treatment areas, Temazcal lodge and outdoor yoga pavilion. Spa treatments and wellness programs will focus on natural healing, energy medicine and traditional Mayan practices. Nestled within the organic gardens to the north is the plant-forward Leaf restaurant and a raised viewing lounge, offering a completely different experience, high in the canopy and framing the pure night sky.
An exceptional opportunity for a handful of owners, the island is also home to a collection of two, three, and four-bedroom residences, available for purchase. Organized along a central breezeway, and rising organically in and around natural foliage, the buildings allow for an indoor-outdoor lifestyle that is typical for Belize and the Caribbean climate. Loosely dispersed, they eliminate any sense of boundaries to form a continuous landscape experience as a barefoot sandy beach community while existing flora will protect privacy and shield the structures from each other.
Here “feet in the sand” has evolved into an architectural concept, living within the sublime landscape, protected and shaded in a casual yet refined way. Passive design strategies are employed to reduce energy consumption. Each residence is placed between the precious mangrove forest and estuary on one side and its own expansive stretch of beach on the other, framing wide views to each.
The design sets the stage for diverse experiences of the landscape, ocean and balance of community and seclusion. The western residences have ocean views from most rooms and beach access with a lifestyle that engages with the ground. The structures further east provide raised living rooms with access to wide horizon views and connecting to the pool gardens below. In addition to the generous master suite, there is a separate lock-off villa, which may be rented out separately at the owner’s convenience.
With longevity and low environmental impact in mind, renewable wood is 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 maximize passive solar strategies for energy efficiency and to capture cooling breezes. Green roof areas will 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 and there are plans to re-vegetate red mangroves and plant species to further preserve the beach and serve as a roosting and foraging habitat for birdlife. The overwater structures are built in such a way as to provide a benthic habitat to enhance productivity and biodiversity as well as fish life.
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, exuding a contemporary and casual island vibe. The soft materials and harmonious blending with the surrounding nature invite guests to intuitively unwind and become fully enveloped by the island.
Daniel Kalenov, Head of Business Development at Cayo Rosario Partners LLC says: “Welcome to Six Senses Belize, a world more magical than you could imagine. You’ll be struck by the stunning 81-degree turquoise water, the laid-back vibe, and genuine smiles that greet you off the plane. Belizean hospitality is second to none, and you will not find a broader array of activities, experiences, and memories to be had in a smaller package! Our world has changed a lot, and increasingly we all crave an escape. Six Senses Belize offers a select number of families the chance to start a new legacy in a spectacular, safe, and accessible place. This project is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced, and it’s right on your doorstep.”
Six Senses Belize is targeting an opening by mid-2025. Belize is just 2 hours from Miami and 4 hours from New York. There are several onwards transfer options including via boat or helicopter.
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