Six Senses Zighy Bay – Impressions

First Impressions are Everything. Six Senses Zighy Bay is located on Oman’s northern Musandam Peninsula, a scenic 120-minute car Journey through an other-worldly landscape from Dubai. Unlike anywhere else, the Omani village inspired resort is set between sand colored craggy mountains on one side and a long sandy beach on the other, remote yet accessible.

Six Senses Zighy Bay- my ocean front suite with plunge pool

At the deserted border crossing into Musandam, I was somewhat apprehensive, my driver held my passport, he exited the car and mentioned, don’t speak unless the guard questions you. I considered my geography. On the sandy roadside ahead, a division of armed soldiers sat on tanks under the cover of a full military camouflage net. I was in good hands with the Six Senses driver. Trusting our partners is implicit in our Journeys, I frequently travel alone and sometimes in my enthusiasm for adventure, I may not focus on all the ramifications of my Journey! As an example: a blond woman traveling alone, many men in ‘outlying areas’ are stunned I am not traveling with a group or a family. Men in Muslim countries seem particularly emboldened to question my travel status. I’ve enjoyed many amusing encounters and offers…my enormous black sunglasses belie the fact that I could probably be the mom to some of these inquiring locals! And I will talk to practically everyone I meet along the way – there is always a story lurking. However, I am rarely ‘alone’ my guides and drivers are my trusted companions, I still remain in touch with some guides and drivers who have accompanied me in remote locations. Of course, our local teams are in place for our clients, but my travel is a little more free form and I need to assure clients, yes you will be safe here.

Six Senses Zighy Bay is very secluded, near fishing villages on a section of land that juts into the Strait of Hormuz in between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. The steep winding road through jagged fiords opens to the sparkling sapphire Gulf of Oman. A white crescent beach, thousands of date-palm trees, and a stone village sit on the edge of the sea.

Multiple hotel arrival options: speed boat, 4×4 or paraglider. The most exhilarating arrival is as a passenger with their paragliding professional. Launch from Zighy Mountain soar through the jagged mountain range from 1000 feet upwards and enjoy the breathtaking views before making a soft landing on the white sandy beach.

I’ve always wanted to soar, and I’ve always thought of myself as fearless…the winds were up on arrival, preventing the ultra-exotic para-glide cliff jump. Jad Frem took me to the spectacular restaurant at the top of Zighy Mountain, we stood on the cliff edge, my heart stopped, and I knew I would never have jumped from this mountain top, I was quietly relieved.

Jad instead surprised me with a breakfast hang gliding experience. I found it rather terrifying – sadly, I can no longer say I am fearless…the soaring experience through the jagged Hajar Mountains lodged my heart in my throat for 20 solid minutes. We did glide through a wispy white cloud; a very pleasant experience, warm and moist, a momentary distraction from my terror! Our trusted hotel partner, Jad, wasn’t going to let a little wind mar my visit. We rely on our teams to pivot and please our clients on their Journeys.

I loved my escape to Six Senses Zighy Bay, it’s a restful authentic experience in the midst of small local villages. Six Senses has fashioned a resort laid out like a traditional Omani village. Low buildings of natural stone with jareed (date-palm stick) roofs and generous pool terraces. Sandy paths, lined with fig and pomegranate trees connect the villas. My pool and Villa opened to the sea. Mini tree climbing goats wander the property, it’s truly a restful zone of tranquility. Activities abound if you must: hiking goat paths, paragliding from surrounding cliffs, canyoning in a rocky wadi. You can also cruise the seas on the Dhahab, a 90-foot restored dhow. Oh, and more delicious date varieties than I’ve ever tasted!

Jad wanting me to see more of Oman, arranged my departure in a seaplane back to Dubai. Encouraging me to depart in my shorts, I fearful and respectful of the modest culture was very uncomfortable travelling with my legs exposed – in Muslim culture and even in the heat, I cover up!

Driver stacked three weeks of baggage into the black SUV, another adventure ensued, the seaplane was waiting on a beach in a few inches of water. What a visual contrast, a well worn wooden fishing boat, a turbaned man in long white robes and my seaplane. The rare landing attracted a cluster of barefoot ancient grizzled men and shrieking little boys. I’m sure they expected Madonna to emerge from the SUV, their disappointment was not evident; they offered to schlepp my enormous bags across the sand into the seaplane and waved farewell.

First Impressions bestow lasting memories. Jad assured I wouldn’t miss the exotic arrival and even made the return an adventure not to be forgotten. Another ‘story’ for my journals, another memory to savor. I had completely forgotten my border apprehension, I’ll never forget the grizzled old man waving and welcoming me at the beach. I hope he also treasures a memory of the day a seaplane landed on his village shore.

Highly recommend Six Senses Zighy Bay, add a beach visit when passing through the UAE or Dubai. Some moments are planned, some unexpected, isn’t that why we travel?

A colorful look at Oman.

Six Senses Zighy Bay – Oman

Touched down for a brief but sensational stay at the award winning Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman, I plan to return and spend more time relaxing and recharging at this off the chart oasis; my stay however, was perfectly timed for leisure following 11 days of gorilla trekking and safari.

Land in Dubai, hotel provides a VIP wing side butler who guides you to a small lounge, sip a cappuccino while your butler fetches luggage and directs you to your waiting car. There are several methods of arrival, actually four once you reach the soaring hilltop above the resort. Arrive by car, one can take flight like a native falcon by paragliding to the beach from the hotel’s top of the cliff Sense On The Edge Restaurant.  Feeling the vibe of the five star luxury?The drive is two hours through the arid desert from Dubai, passing through small seaside towns. Another option is to soar in a seaplane from Dubai and land on the beach thirty minutes from the resort. Or super spy arrival in a speedboat, driver drops you at Dibba Port and you flutter over the sparkling sea for 15 minutes to the mini-marina. So many choices, Bond!

Always wanting to see the lay of the land, I arrived by car service and enjoyed a soaring seaplane flight back to Dubai. The winds were up on my arrival, which prevented me from my planned para-glide to the beach. After teetering on the edge of the cliff where I would have jumped in the tandem glider, I was relieved by the high wind report, but Jad Frem, Director of Marketing and Sales promised a substitute surprise for me…

Six Senses is remote, very remote – located on the rugged northern tip of the Musandam Peninsula in the Sultanate of Oman. Traveling on a six-mile one lane steep dirt road approach the resort circling up craggy sandstone mountains that resemble dust sprinkled fjords. A scenic treasure, the Musandam fjords are a mere smidgen of the spectacular scenery, from the very highest peak, the breath-taking view of the sparkling turquoise sea is framed by a sandy white beach.

My infinity pool, an oasis of calm!

Dust and heat are relieved on arrival, a moist towel and a chilled concoction of sparkling date juice provide a genuine welcome. Rooms are arranged in an authentic Omani village landscape, narrow sandy paths weave among the private suites and rooms. Typical desert landscaping of dates, figs and palm trees punctuate the paths and bikes are propped up at each sandstone villa. Your personal GEM Butler will buggy you around if biking seems too much. GEM – Guest Experience Managers – at your beck and call, Myrna seemed to appear mere moments after I would ring for her. Always cheerful, reserving spa appointments, dinner, whatever you desire!Recommend a sandy beach front villa, your private infinity pool is carved from natural stone; float, chilled cocktail in hand, transfixed by the vista of the sparkling sea. Privacy screens pivot for the view or shut for ultimate seclusion. Thick stone walls of the villas assure coolness besides lending to the authentic sense of place, the decor is muted, tasteful and restful to the eye. Why try to distract from the spectacular setting with a cluttered interior? Zighy has mastered the zen sense of calm. Each beachfront dwelling is furnished with sun loungers, terrace dining table, outdoor shower and a sand garden which leads to the gently lapping warm sea, the Gulf of Oman.

Little tree climbing goats clamber in the date trees, otherwise, the sound of the sea is all you will hear. The black night sky is brilliant with stars, building on the dramatic sky, the resort is lit with candles and torches enhancing the desert ambiance. Tranquility can be interspersed with scuba, biking in the Hajar Mountains, yoga, gym exercise, or snorkeling, water skiing, hiking with the aforementioned pygmy goats, or canyoning, or end the day with a sunset dhow cruise.

Private path to my villa on the sea.

Don’t miss the superb spa, you deserve it! A refuge and retreat, your pulse drops on arrival, the dimly lit rooms are infused with a smoldering hint of frankincense. I highly recommend the deep tissue Swedish massage, a sleep-inducing signature treatment. What other spa entices you with innovative and ancient holistic treatments from their expert in-house and visiting wellness consultants. No wonder so many awards!

One of the exotic offerings: Royal Moroccan Hammam Cleanse – nourish the body with a personalized experience starting with Moroccan steam and body wash with a black soap enriched with eucalyptus essential oil. The body is then exfoliated on a heated marble bed and swathed with a purifying rasoul clay mask, allowing for impurities to rise to the skin’s surface. It continues with the application of hair strengthening oil, a face and foot treatment; completing with a gentle massage and the application of hydrating body milk.

Who can resist?Dining choices – oh, so many. From the cliff  hugging restaurant serving international cuisine together with spectacular views over the crystal waters of the Gulf of Oman, to regional specialties and a Chef’s Table. Spice Market, Zighy Bar, Summer House, and the authentic Shua Shack, a Bedouin dining experience. Family-style evenings begin with local organic salads, followed by lamb prepared in the underground oven. Oh, did I mention dinner in the wine cellar or roof top turret or a secluded romantic beach feast?

Zighy Bay has a de-salination plant and has created its own oasis – with 11,000 palms, fig trees, coffee plants, henna, and pomegranate, as well as its own vegetable garden. Extended families will love the very private two or four bedroom retreats located on each end of the resort. Beit Musandam, the Private Reserve, 4 bedroom retreat opens to an exclusive entrance and a wide courtyard which overlooks the three buildings that make this a true Arabian Palace of Wonders. With its four bedrooms, the Private Reserve – the largest of its type in the Middle East – offers a variety of separate living and dining room areas for entertaining, a private spa suite, a gym, a yoga studio, a wine cellar, staff quarters, a 17-meter infinity swimming pool and live-in butler.

The Musandam Peninsula is an arid but lovely strip of land that stretches up into the Straits of Hormuz opposite Iran, with the Gulf of Oman on one side, the Persian Gulf on the other.

Six Senses Zighy Bay- Sensational!