By Chere Di Boscio
One of the pioneers in eco-friendly hotels, the Six Senses Resorts and Spas always manage to create a luxurious guest experience whilst protecting the planet, and the Six Senses Zighy Bay is no exception.
Set in a wonderfully secluded bay on the northern Musandam Peninsula in the sleepy Sultanate of Oman, the hotel is nestled between the gruff Hajar Mountains on one side and a 1.6km stretch of powdery sand on the other.
A stark contrast from the flash of Dubai or the cash of Abu Dhabi, Zighy Bay may be in the Gulf region, but it has retained its charm as a quaint fishing village populated by friendly, humble people. Unlike the gleaming glass structures that continue to burst from the deserts of the Gulf’s wealthiest cities, the architecture of Zighy Bay is completely unobtrusive and blends seamlessly into the mountainous landscape.
In fact, each of the 82 villas and retreats are decorated with the environment in mind. Made simply from local stone and wood, the rooms are styled with charming rattan and ceramic accents, and villas come with non-chlorinated pools. Linens are only changed on request, and all amenities are chemical free.
As with all Six Senses properties, the focus is on the spa and well being, so it’s no surprise that the spa menu is extensive, with a special selection of Asian treatments including reflexology, Thai massage and Japanese Shiatsu.
The expert masseuses have to intensely train for several months under strict Six Senses supervision before they are allowed to treat a single client, and the result is notable: unlike the typical ‘food massage’ I get in Paris, my reflexology treatment here was almost painful at times, but ultimately, after an hour long session that began and ended with warm tea, I did feel the knot in my stomach that had been plaguing me for weeks had somewhat subsided.
Well being also includes good nutritional choices, of course, and so there are several dining options. The main restaurant is appropriately named ‘Dining on the Sand’, and includes lots of local fish, healthy options and international delicacies, whilst the ‘Deli’ restaurant is more suited for light snacks and salads.
The stunning ‘Sense on the Edge’ restaurant is for more romantic dining, and offers fresh fish, creative cocktails and marvellous vistas from atop the mountains, instilling a sense of peace.
Besides relaxing in the spa and working on one’s well-being, there are plenty of outdoor activities to keep guests busy too: snorkelling offers an opportunity to experience the universe that exists under the bay’s still waters; when there’s a breeze, windsurfing is a must; when the waters are still, kayaking is a great form of outdoor exercise.
In the evening, the desert sky is studded with silvery stars, under which guests pull out a lounge chair and kick back with cocktails and snacks to watch stars of another kind in the Hollywood blockbusters that play on the hotel’s movie screens every week. The perfect end to another perfect day.
Although the hotel is in Oman, it’s difficult to access from that nation’s main airport, so most guests fly into Dubai International Airport, from which the Zighy Bay is a 90 minute drive.
Once they reach the peninsula, guests can choose to take a scenic 15 minute speedboat ride or a winding drive down the hill. The more adventurous can even literally ‘drop in’ via a tandem paraglide.
Sure, paragliding may sound extreme, but the funny thing is, the more time you spend at this ‘green’ resort, breathing in fresh air, showering in soft water, attuning your body and mind to the natural world around you, the more likely you are to completely relax, allowing yourself to go any way the wind blows–and with any luck, it will blow right into Zighy Bay. [m-vslider id=”78″]
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