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Six Senses Hotel, Cala Xarraca, Ibiza

Six Senses: engineering an eco-hotel design on a cliff

Situated in Portinatx, on the northern coast of Ibiza, the Six Senses luxury hotel offers a unique sustainable experience built on wellbeing and connection to nature. The complex, the first resort in the Balearics to secure a BREEAM sustainability seal, stands on the cliffs of Cala Xarraca, built in clusters of terraced buildings facing the sea.  

The five-star resort is set across 33,000m2  and comprises 18 houses, two mansions and up to 116 luxury hotel rooms of varying sizes and layouts, as well as a gym and shopping areas. Visitors can enjoy a first-class spa and wellness amenities, alongside a fantastic range of restaurants and bars. 

Arup teamed up with GCA Architects, Hill International and the Six Senses hotel chain to help the developer Beach Box Ibiza design the civil infrastructure of the hotel, and create the mechanical, electrical and fire safety systems in the complex.

Project Summary

5-star hotel



Digital tools help unlock the site

Perched on a pine-clad hillside, the hotel is built into the cliff rocks, making the terrain one of the main challenges on this project. Arup’s engineering experts used 3D modelling tools to adapt the infrastructure design to the complexity of the site. The hotel adopts a waterfall shape, with independent levels that stand at different heights.

Our team also designed the building services of the hotel to fit in with the partially existing skeleton of the old Hotel Vista Bahía. The goal was to ensure the discreetness of the building services to match with the exterior and interior design, avoid noise pollution and ensure a distraction-free stay for the guests.

Arup used digital tools to provide robust advice on how to achieve the architectural intent for the hotel design. Our digital experts created parametric 3D models of the MEP systems using Revit, as well as WaterCAD and SewerCAD for the infrastructure design, enabling effective collaboration between the architectural, engineering and construction teams.

The greatest challenge – and source of pride – was doing justice to the beauty and complexity of the location while bringing the client’s sustainable vision to life. ” Archie Campbell Archie Campbell Associate Director

Harnessing local resources

Embrancing sustainability as a key driver, the design team looked for creative ways to harness the use of local natural resources to achieve a low energy solution for the heating and cooling systems. 

Taking advantage of the hotel’s proximity to the Cala Xarraca bay, we designed a series of water-cooled heat pumps that use seawater – extracted by boreholes – as the primary heat source. The heat pumps use refrigerants with zero global warming potential, and were one of the first of their kind to be installed at this scale in Spain. 

The all-electric system is supported by a 100 kW photovoltaic panel array located on site. The overall result is a singular solution that combines several emerging technologies to achieve a sustainable energy utility fully integrated into the hotel’s location and aesthetic. 

Our sustainability experts also acted as a Green Loan Coordinator to assess the environmental performance of the hotel and helped the client secure a green loan financing.