Virtuozity heads over the Omani mountains to a private bay and the ultra-luxurious Six Senses Zighy Bay.
By Noel Ebdon
Private beaches are hardly a new thing. Hundreds of hotels across the world make this sweeping statement, claiming their own bit of sand for themselves. But few truly have their own beach. By definition it should mean an entire beach, rather a bit of a beach, cordoned off with a rattan fence and some gruff looking security guys.
Thankfully the Six Senses Zighy Bay makes such a claim on a more solid footing. The hotel and its beach can only be accessed by boat or a step winding track that climbs over the surrounding mountains and down to the tiny village the hotel shares its location with.
Access comes in many forms, with most guests opting for the slightly hair-raising drive down the steep, winding mountain road, peppered with wash outs and blind corners. The view is spectacular, looking down on the resort’s private bay, and passengers will need to be comfortable with their driver to enjoy the journey.
The more adventurous way to get down to the beach is to paraglide in with the resort’s very own adrenaline junkie in control. They’ll basically launch you off the top of the mountain and give you a stunning ride around the mountains on the way down to the resort. Definitely not for the faint hearted.
Reception and the main hotel complex is centered around traditional style buildings and a small Omani souq, selling lots of local crafts and beach essentials. Access to the room is via electric buggies, but guests can also enjoy using bicycles on the hard packed sand during their stay. Just watch out for the deeper sand patches. It’s very easy to find yourself no longer on the bike!
The whole hotel complex is styled around a traditional Omani fishing village, with sand walkways, palms for shade and barasti fencing adding total privacy to each villa or room. Even the restaurants and main hotel buildings have the same rough plaster finish with solid wood doors keeping the heat of the Gulf Peninsular out.
All 82 villas are exceptional and feature the same traditional style, but vary greatly in size. The standard pool villas can hold two adults and two children, but the largest ones can hold a quite astonishing ten people! Clearly families and big groups are well catered for at Zighy Bay.
Each room has rustic doors, with wooden slides to secure them, and proper inner doors to keep everything cool. The construction is based around rough rock, with no smooth surfaces to be seen. Even the floors are of beautiful stone construction, giving the feeling of stepping back in time. The furniture has been carefully selected to fit right in with the rough charm of the buildings.
But the real jewel appears when you step outside into the secluded garden, which houses a small, chilled pool, complete with sun loungers. So although the hotel boasts two swimming pools, one fresh water and one salt water, there’s actually no need to leave your villa.
But anyone hiding away for the whole of their stay will be missing out on the Six Senses’ culinary experiences. The hotel has X restaurants, including the stand out Sense on the Edge, which perches precariously on the edge of the mountain high above the resort. The food there is divided up into
Back on terra firma, there’s Summer House, which is perfect for lunch or a lighter bite, but also serves dinner out on its terrace during the cooler months. It even serves homemade ice creams and sorbets.
Then there’s two Arabic options, starting with Spice Market, which boasts a traditional mud kitchen, and Shua Shack, a unique Bedouin dining experience right on the beach. Once the food is done, guests can retire to the joys of the Zighy Bar, which overlooks the hotel’s wadi water way.
If all that doesn’t sound enough, there’s plenty of other things to do at the hotel and nearby. You can take a traditional dhow cruise up the fjords and you’ll see actual fishing villages only accessible from the sea. Places that, apart from the power lines now sweeping down off the mountains, haven’t changed much for centuries. There’s also a good chance you’ll see dolphins playing in the bay.
Zighy Bay also has a Six Senses Spa, offering a range of ancient holistic treatments. There’s also a number of different massages, including a popular couples massage. The hotel also houses a gym and fitness centre, although most guests will probably opt to just kick back and relax. Plus there’s a kids club for the little ones, giving parents a proper break and a bit of extra downtime.
Need something a little more exciting? Try mountain biking or hiking. Don’t forget the paragliding. This can be done at any time, not just on arrival. You can also book a diving excursion, a snorkeling trip or an afternoon fishing in the Straits of Hormuz.
Clearly, as well as being located in a glorious spot on the stunning Arabian coast, Zighy Bay also has all the mod-cons of a top class resort. Clients are a near 50/50 mix of families and couples, with the hotel being secluded enough that neither interferes with the other. There’s a lot to do, if you feel inclined, but it’s also obviously been constructed to allow for total relaxation.
Guests will find they hardly see any other people from one hour to the next. It’s a real Crusoe experience and gives you an insight to a much slower, relaxing pace of life. If that sounds like your sort of thing, your very own private beach is waiting right there for you.