It’s so easy, once again, to fly to Dubai. After seeing what’s new there, The Museum of The Future and things like that, treat yourself to the lasting memory of Zighy Bay, two hours’ drive away.
Six Senses Zighy Bay, the goal, has a stunningly peaceful location at the northern tip of Musandam Peninsula, an appendage, so to speak, separated from the rest of the Sultanate of Oman by an enclave of UAE. Resort GM Andrew Spearman’s team arrange transport, with WiFi, and, from Dubai, most nationalities are visa-free.
Leave the mega-metropolis that is Dubai progress for flat unadulterated desert. Later, the terrain evolves to soaring mountains. Zigzag up to 1,000 metres and wow, look down the other side. Far below is the Strait of Hormuz, with Zighy Bay enwrapping what looks like an oasis village. Extreme arrival is now to paraglide down, bags taken by car, but general arrival, also memorable, is vehicular zigzagging down, followed by driving right through a bijou soukh market.
Spread out throughout the ‘village’, Six Senses Zighy Bay has 82 detached single-story villas built of local Nizwa stone. Floors are large smoothed rocks, embedded in cement. Overhead are flat date-palm roofs. You have heated swimming pools and peripheral privacy fences (more date-palm). Inside, sustainability meets rustic chic. Refillable glass water bottles and filled Homeinno wine fridges supplement complementary minibars, espresso machines and instant, excellent WiFi.
Villa eight, 126sq m, is right on the beach. From there it’s a five-minute hike to an outstanding gym, with picture windows into greenery. The spa offers such pop-up therapists as a renowned osteopath who specialises in deep muscular tissue work and joint mobilisation – much appreciated after paragliding, or trying to steady your villa’s city bike along Zighy Bay’s bashed-sandy road network.
Take a sustainability tour. See the water system. Every day, 325 kgs of seawater is pumped and purified through local rocks, and held in a million-litre storage facility until needed. See how empty wine bottles are colour-sorted, pulverised to finest sand, sometimes used in building cement, sometimes utilised in jewellery making in the impressive kids’ programme. Every tiniest scrap of food waste, with added living greenery, is composted, to help the fruitful organic garden, which hosts a large Azadirachta indica, neem… tree, its leaves a natural Insecticide. Pots holding some plants are made from damaged bedroom towels.
Onsite boss Andrew Spearman is one of those hoteliers who, like Flashman of novel fame, is everywhere at the right time. See him at the daily yoga class. As you walk past the main pool, he happens to be there, asking about your food plans. Perhaps lunch off a fresh tuna salad bowl, poke-style, eaten under the shady roof of a beach shack? Dine where you want, say a secluded mountain-high ridge, or at the hotel’s up-there The Edge, or down at base Summer House. For local fare, you might start with Dibba Bay oysters. For sustainability, eschew big-name wines for surprisingly enjoyable organic labels from Sea Change.
Even your departure is memorable. Leave before midday and possibly searing heat. Enjoy a dawn swim, no clothes needed if you close your privacy fence doors. Pre-ordered breakfast arrives, and is set water’s edge, brown ceramics on bright orange
linens. One-bite muffins and half a dozen irresistible croissants and Danish, obviously just from the oven. The three jams must be home-made. Sip a man-sized mug of cappuccino and savour the moment. At least five team members stand by the departure car to wave goodbye.