BY Lisa Lindblad
January 18, 2016
The approach is vertiginous, whether you descend by driving or by paragliding. Tucked in to a perfect crescent of a beach on Oman’s Musandam coast, Zighy Bay Six Senses cannot help but take your breath away, so perfectly blended is it into this starkly beautiful, bone dry landscape. Who would have had the imagination and courage to create a resort here? Three owners deserve the credit for the vision, the patience and the resources that it took to build the 80 villas (all materials came in initially by boat as there was no road) which are clustered like a village on the seashore.
And Six Senses, a brand that started in the Maldives and now extends into Europe with its hotels and its world class spas, is responsible for the management. It can’t be an easy task but you would never know it. With a staff to guest ratio of 3:1, the care, attention to detail, and the ease with which Zighy Bay conducts itself is equally impressive. This is real barefoot luxury existence except that the luxury part of it is so relaxed, so inherent to the soul of the place that you feel completely at home. The staff, from many nations – as is usual in this part of the world – seem to love being here and their welcome is warm. The menus, designed by the Canadian chef, are diverse and utterly delicious. Villa pools are temperature controlled, sand is raked, lounge chairs carefully aligned with freshly rolled towels. There are dozens of activities ranging from the aforementioned paragliding to microlighting, fishing, diving, snorkeling, archery, cooking in the sublime organic garden, tennis and, of course, that spa. And then, with each villa offering a good sized pool, summer lounge space, large courtyard and verandah, all contained by rock and split cane walls, there is the serious temptation of never leaving your house at all. A little bit of heaven.
Hugging the coastline, their hand-sewn ships ran with the trade winds, laden with dates and dried fish, mangrove poles, coconut oil, pearls and slaves.
For millennia, they plied the incense route, a maritime cat's cradle of ports and straits and pirate coasts, weaving together a babel of languages, religions and customs into a glorious trading empire.
Photographer: Clara Zawawi
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