Neil Jacobs is a pioneer in the wellness movement. In fact, it’s the hallmark of Six Senses properties, where it’s common practice to have sleep scientists onsite or, in the case of Six Senses Ibiza, a longevity program called RoseBar that promises to restore energy and reduce the impact of aging. It’s an evolution that has much to do with Jacobs’ leadership. “I no longer have to preach sustainability the way we did 10 years ago,” he says, “because now people want it.”
His personal story is just as compelling. Jacobs speaks six languages, went to college in Paris, studied art history in Florence, and has lived in nearly a dozen countries. His career includes stints at Four Seasons, where he spent 14 years helping run the Asia-Pacific region; five years at Starwood Capital Group, where, alongside Barry Sternlicht, he led the development of the Baccarat and 1 Hotels brands; and for the past decade, Six Senses, where he’s been integral in growing the brand, combining his passion for sustainability with innovative design and experiential travel.
Today, Six Senses has 23 hotels with 20 more under development, and plans for 50 properties within the next four years. It is the only brand building in the Galapagos; it recently restored a 14th-century fort in India; the brand is expanding into residences; and it has taken on the off-the-grid, energy-positive Svart, a circular resort in Norway dreamt up by Snøhetta.
But for Jacobs, the community aspect remains the most powerful part of Six Senses, helping guests to experience the cultures in Bhutan, Israel, Ecuador, and more. “The club piece is the hub for all the different business models, and we see it as a great element to help us create that community. It allows us to showcase the Six Senses lifestyle,” he says.
Six Senses is in a category unto itself, and Jacobs is both its guardian and bellwether of great design. “My biggest learning in this industry is how I’m able to, in my own way, contribute to the growth of the people who actually do the work.”
Neil Jacobs was inducted into HD’s Platinum Circle hall of fame in November 2022.