Zighy Bay- Sultanate of Oman

BY Lisa Lindblad

January 20, 2011

Six Senses Zighy Bay, secreted away on the Sultanate of Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, is a retreat  from the full-on materialism of Dubai.  An average drive of 2 hours through desert, across Oman’s border post (no visa required if coming from Dubai), and over the Hajar Mountains, brings you to 82 stone and wood cottages clustered at one end of a crescent beach with headlands on either side.  Appreciating the stark beauty of the place – severe, precipitous mountains, scrabble vegetation, rectilinear stone block villas – takes a bit of recalibrating; yet once the eyes and the soul have found their focus, the magic is palpable: subtle, bruised colors, star-filled nights, and a silence that is not simply an absence of sound.  The remoteness is enveloping.  The last winding climb over the mountain and drop to the sea seals the deal:  You have arrived, body and soul.

Speaking of body…Six Sense is known for its superb spa, and Zighy Bay spins its magic in this regard as well.  The spa retreat houses hamam and steam, as well as rooms for a wide range of therapies.  Jet lagged, I opted for 90 minutes of ministrations that worked like a charm.  Coupled with the delicious food, much of it from an impressive organic garden, Zighy Bay can also recalibrate ones health.

The focus on spa is not to imply that there is any lack of activity.  Yoga, meditation and a gym, in keeping with the spa philosophy, are all available.  Yet outdoors, in the beautfiul bay, you can experience some of the best snorkeling and diving in the Gulf.  Boat rides, waterskiing, jetboating and hiking are just some of the other activities on offer.

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John Derian Goes West