Summer is a state of mind.
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.
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.
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.