The Six Senses chain of hotels and resorts prides itself on a pioneering approach to wellness that guides guests on a path to health and well-being, starting with a personal health screening and bespoke programmes designed by experts. The 5-star resort chain has been awarded by the prestigious Condé Nast Traveller 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards, which placed three Six Senses resorts in the top ten of their regions. Among the award-winning resorts is the Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort.
The indigenous village-style accommodation and private marina on offer to guests are spectacular, with the dramatic mountains on one side and the sandy beach of Zighy Bay on the other. However, behind the rustic setting, Six Senses Zighy Bay offers all the modern amenities of a true five-star resort, which extends to the 86 villas spread across its attractive grounds.
Six Senses Zighy Bay Shua Shack
KEEPING ABREAST OF CHANGE
According to Chakib Dhahri, IT manager for Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort, resort management has invested enormously in upgrading the infotainment systems in each guest room at the Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort in recent years. “We always try to cater to the needs of our guests while keeping up with the times. In 2012, we decided to refresh our IPTV system to deliver HD-quality video and improve the overall guest experience.”
The incumbent IPTV solution had proven limiting in its scope to upgrade, so Dhahri and his IT team began working with Rashed Al Mazroui from Technology and Information Supplies (RAMCO), a leading system integrator of IT/IP solutions covering a wide range of industry sectors, to find an alternative. “We spoke to several suppliers and brought a number of products in for testing, and it became clear that the Exterity platform offered us all the features we needed, but also proved very easy to use, with the flexibility to adapt to future requirements.”
This initial upgrade moved the legacy IPTV platform, delivering 50 satellite channels, over to a new Exterity system that added full HD capability and a more modern integration with the existing Video on Demand service. In total, the team upgraded the service received on 140 televisions across the resort through the addition of Exterity AvediaPlayer media players connected over the LAN to AvediaStream TV gateways and controlled by the central AvediaServer for end-to-end system management.
However, as an innovator in the luxury hospitality space, in 2018, senior management began another review of how they could further improve the in-room guest experience.
EMBRACING THE POSSIBILITIES
“We started to get more requests from our guests to be able to connect their own devices to the televisions in each villa, as well as easier access to their own subscription video (SVoD) services like Netflix,” says Dhahri. “We spoke with the Exterity team, and tested the new ArtioGuest application, which offered not only a similar user and management interface, but also added capabilities around integration, with additional devices such as Google Chromecast and other BYOD options.”
Designed as a seamless extension to the existing Exterity based infrastructure, the resort updated each villa’s television screen with additional Chromecast capabilities, which are integrated into a single ArtioGuest interface. The system is also integrated with the Opera Property Management System (PMS) to set up welcome messages automatically, and to allow each guest to see current billing information. The IPTV system has also been upgraded with additional HD channels, including options for French, German and Arabic languages.
“We are considering adding an HD video camera feed as a special channel so that guests can watch the sunrise as it appears from the top of a nearby mountain,”
Chakib Dhahri, IT manager for Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort
“One of the best features about the Exterity system is its flexibility,” says Dhahri. As an example, the IT manager highlighted an issue where a particularly popular German TV channel was no longer available on the resort’s subscribed satellite TV service. “To meet our guest’s needs, we purchased an Apple TV and a site licence for an IP-based stream of the required German TV channel and connected it via the Exterity system to stream it to all of the villas as an additional channel. The quality is perfect, and we now have the option of adding additional IP-based TV channels in the future.
With a relationship that has spanned six years, Dhahri is extremely satisfied with the Exterity system. “Both the technology and the Exterity team have never let us down. Exterity has been able to deliver on every request that we have had. For the future, we are looking at other options such as Music on Demand and 4K TV channels when they become available, and we know that with Exterity, we will be able to meet all of the needs of our guests.”
Walid Tabet, Middle East Regional Sales Team Leader at Exterity, says: “Today’s modern travellers long for their chosen accommodation to offer a ‘better than home’ experience in every sense, including in-room entertainment. Six Senses is a great example of how this can be achieved by using a fully-customisable portal that seamlessly delivers live TV and VoD services. The fact that Six Senses is looking for more ways to work with Exterity in the future confirms the success of the ArtioGuest deployment and reinforces that tech-savvy hotel guests expect the highest quality in-room entertainment and service experiences.”
“We are looking at other options, such as Music on Demand and 4K TV channels when they become available, and we know that with Exterity, we will be able to meet all of the needs of our guests.”
Chakib Dhahri, IT manager for Six Senses Zighy Bay Resort