Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman
December 05, 2017
LOCATION: There are a number of unusual things about Oman’s Musandam Peninsula.
LOCATION: There are a number of unusual things about Oman’s Musandam Peninsula. It’s not connected to the rest of Oman, for starters. Divided from the bulk of the country by the UAE, this slender finger of land points out into the Arabian Gulf. Dolphins frolic along its shoreline, a landscape of fjords and mountains so striking its been called the Norway of Arabia. The Six Senses Zighy Bay sits on a crescent of golden sand, cradled by a lofty range of peaks. This remote spot feels a world away from Dubai’s glitzy towers, but it’s only a 90-minute drive.
FIRST IMPRESSIONS: The hotel is allegedly in the ‘Omani village’ style, but it’s a damn sight more uniform and stylish than any village I saw. Serried ranks of palm trees shade the stone-built villas, their private pools concealed in courtyards. The public spaces sit castle-like at the centre, the stucco walls of the main restaurant and wine tower reflected in the calm surface of the vast main pool. Décor is sleek and stylish, with accents of local design and touches of colour rather than the full Arabian Nights look.
THE FACTS: There are 79 pool villas and three larger residences – one the biggest in the Middle East – but even at capacity the resort feels quiet, with many guests relaxing around their private pools with butlers tending to their every need. Service is exceptional, and the food exquisite. Dining options include the Spice Market restaurant in the heart of the resort and Sense On The Edge, which is perched on the mountains above the hotel with stupendous views. Private dining experiences here are creative and varied, from in-villa barbecues (dessert is left perched on the side of a freshly-drawn bath scattered with rose petals), to sunrise breakfasts on the beach or gourmet dinners on top of the wine tower.
A GOOD BASE FOR: Beyond the obvious joys of lying in the sunshine in your fabulous villa, the hotel very slickly delivers the best of what Musandam has to offer translated for the top end of the market. Dhow cruises explore the beautiful coastline with opportunities to snorkel and fish, and there’s a dive centre and water skiing, wake-boarding and kayaking facilities. The mountains and villages can be explored by hiking, mountain biking or in a four-wheel drive. The hotel chefs give private Arabic cookery classes, and – as you’d expect from Six Senses – there’s a large and sumptuous spa.
WOW: The James Bond-style airport transfers. Just in case the four-wheel drive approach isn’t rugged and exciting enough, you can either approach by speedboat – the 007 as played by Roger Moore approach – or go, as I did, for the more Daniel Craig-appropriate option and paraglide into the hotel from the top of one of the surrounding mountains. How’s that for a wow?
HOW MUCH: From £550 per villa per night