Inside Six Senses Shaharut, Israel’s Five-Star Desert Oasis
A luxurious desert resort to rival those in Morocco or the Emirates.
Stark, ethereal landscapes abound in Israel’s vast Negev Desert, but there’s something special about its southern region, in the Arava Valley. On a clear day you can look west toward Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula or spot the red mountains of Jordan to the east. Sunsets glow like the sky on fire, followed by a canopy of stars. It’s here, about an hour north of the Dead Sea resort town of Eilat, that you’ll find the new Six Senses Shaharut—assuming, of course, you can spot it.
“Our design is about creating a seamless flow with nature, so that you can barely see the man-made structures even when you’re in the middle of the resort,” says general manager Manish Puri. Once atop the hill on which it’s built, “none of the brick and mortar blocks the 360-degree views, wherever you are.”
While the hospitality scene in the northern Israeli cities is booming, one of the goals for Six Senses Shaharut was to create something the country didn’t have: a five-star desert resort to rival those you might find in Morocco or the Emirates. Inspired by the structures of the semi-nomadic Nabataean community that once called the Negev home, the 60 suites and pool villas on the 46-acre property have been crafted using natural stone, wood, copper and reclaimed teak, while Israeli artists, ceramists, weavers and more helped create interiors that evoke the area’s ancient Incense Route. (Book the three-bedroom Private Reserve, which comes with its own pool, pizza oven and chef service.)
Everything from the cheeses, wines and beers to the custom bath products are produced by local artisans using local ingredients; even the vinyl selection at the library bar is heavily focused on music born in the desert. As a nod to the history of the land on which the resort is built, once a famous camel camp, the destination features a stable of 12 camels, which guests can visit, help feed or ride into the endless Negev. Just make sure you can find your way back. Six Senses Shaharut’s official opening is scheduled for June 1, pending the lifting of Covid-19 restrictions.