If you need to check out of your busy and hectic lifestyle for a weekend, an escape to Zighy Bay could be the solution. Angela Beitz discovers a perfect getaway spot that isn’t too far away from home.
Approaching the entrance to Six Senses resort at Zighy Bay you will find yourself at the bottom of a rather large mountain. If you have a 4x4 then you are fine to drive up this precarious pathway but if not you will need to be driven up by one of the hotel staff. We proceeded in our own 4x4, but since it was night when we arrived the drive was a tad, shall we say, exciting. Although it’s only a three-and-a-half hour drive from Abu Dhabi and a two-hour drive from Dubai, the stunning terrain of the rugged mountains will have you feeling a million miles away from home. After making it up and over the mountain we were greeted by the friendly staff at the resort and taken directly to our room.
Zighy Bay is not your average hotel. The resort is an oasis built of natural stone and wood to resemble an indigenous village. As if out of a movie, as we were ushered to our room, the moonlight was reflected off the water. It almost didn’t seem real. There are 82 very private and oversized pool villas which will have you relaxing in absolute comfort. We were delighted to find our bathtub was almost the size of a small pool and there are indoor and outdoor showers. You can choose everything from which pillow mist you would like sprayed on your linen to which drinks you would like stocked in your mini-fridge and there is even a pillow menu to suit the fussiest of sleepers. Each villa has a private pool which makes you feel like you are staying in your own piece of paradise.
It may be a good time to warn you that once you visit here you won’t want to leave. The whole resort has a relaxed feel to it and the whole point of a stay here is for guests to be rejuvenated and to experience one of the best luxury boutique stays they have ever had. In the cooler months, you are encouraged to walk around in bare feet and the staff very much discourage the use of mobile phones in public areas. Six Senses also has a huge commitment to the environment and has stopped importing all well-known brands of bottled water that have to travel thousands of miles to get to the resort. Instead, they purify their own ‘wellness water’ in glass bottles that they re-use.
There are loads of dining options depending on what you are in the mood for. Spice Market offers a sensational breakfast with made-to-order eggs and at night it turns into a venue serving tasty Arabian cuisine. Summer House is simply stunning, positioned overlooking the pool with plenty of lights and serving à la carte dishes of pastas, steaks and some the best seafood we have had. The most dramatic of them all is Dining on the Edge which feels like sitting on a table at the end of the world – you are literally sitting on the edge of the cliff at this hilltop restaurant. You can also order room service and there is a fantastic bar in which to have a pre- or post-dinner drink.
Wellbeing is a major focus of the resort and Six Senses Spa is a refuge for the mind and body. It’s styled as a retreat from the busy humdrum of daily life and a haven of calm to relax the soul. The spa combines innovative and ancient holistic treatments from their wellness consultants. We met spa director Steve Harvey, who is also a resident holistic practitioner and a life and relationship coach. Steve believes that today’s spa-goers are looking for something more than just a standard treatment.
We were booked in for a facial and we meet our therapist Pat, who is also a yoga instructor and trained aesthetician. Pat explained that they use products from an Australian company called Subtle Energies which follows the ayurvedic spa rituals using natural and almost medicinal ingredients. She cleansed our skin first and then took a good look to properly assess it. As preferred for our complexion, Pat selected products such as the milk cleanser, carrot seed toner, saffron and frankincense facial scrub, rose lip balm and a rose moisturiser. Our skin was left feeling soft, plump and hydrated.
Later that afternoon we rode our bike back to the spa (yes that’s right, each room has its own set of bikes to ride around) with our yoga mat strapped on our back for a very special one-on-one Vinyasa flow yoga session with Pat. Vinyasa allows for a lot of variety and Pat is very patient with us considering that our body is quite stiff from sitting at our computer all day! The moves were hard but they felt good and Pat told us that we catch on quite quickly, which is encouraging. After the yoga we felt relaxed and full of energy as we rode our bike back to our room.
If sitting around relaxing isn’t for you then you’ll be happy to know there are loads of activities on offer. You can try the sunset cruise, play tennis, go scuba diving or snorkelling, play beach volleyball, go hiking or there is rock climbing. The spa also has a fantastic gym should you want to work out. If you are really after an adventure you will be happy to know that you can try paragliding. The professional instructor will take you around the edge of the mountain range in Zighy Bay, where you can explore the bay from 293 metres above the ground and enjoy the magnificent views. You can also opt for the microlight where your flight will start from the sandy runway on Zighy Beach and then the pilot will take you over Six Senses Zighy Bay, Miam Beach and to Dibba Village, where you can explore the village from 500 metres above the ground, and enjoy the wonderful views.
Zighy Bay, Musandam Peninsula, Sultanate of Oman, www.sixsenses.com (+968 2673 5555).
Need to know
Take Emirates Road towards Ras Al Khaimah. Take exit 119 and drive east towards Dibba. Go straight through the RAK/Dhaid Road roundabout and follow the road leading up to the mountains. Upon reaching Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Road, turn left at the first roundabout, going to the Oman border post. Follow directions to the Sultan Qaboos Mosque and look out for signposts to Zighy Bay.