I‘ve always been a firm believer that you get what you pay for in life. However one exception I have to this rule is holidays. Some of our best trips have been visits to hotels found on Expedia when the budget has been tight. On the other hand we’ve felt seriously let down on occasion by five-star famous name hotel groups that just haven’t been up to scratch.
I can honestly say that our trip to the Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman was worth every penny. Set on the northern Musandam Peninsula in the Sultanate of Oman, this spectacular hotel is quite simply an oasis in the middle of the desert. Oman is a big name in tourism right now and with its border being just a one and a half hour drive from Dubai International airport, Zighy Bay is the perfect location for a family get away.
The website promised barefoot luxury and this is certainly what we got. What they don’t tell you about is the hair-raising journey down the Mountain road (a dirt track with hairpin bends and sheer drops) that must even terrify the hundreds of Mountain goats that roam the area. Next time I think I will opt for the far less terrifying way to arrive in the resort, Paragliding (yes seriously)!
The journey was completely forgotten however the minute we opened the back door of our suite and stepped straight onto the most breathtaking deserted, sandy beach. I literally skipped up-and-down it for two minutes with sheer joy.
The interior of our room was beautiful but basic having been decorated in typical Omani style (lots of stone and dark wood). Our decision to opt for a pool villa suite was definitely the right one. Being able to step out of the bedroom and splash straight into our own private pool (whilst looking out to the sea) was beyond any normal luxury and meant we could lie around and read books whilst Aurélia splashed about with her armbands on.
Aurélia was in her element all week. The kids club is for ages 3+ but she could attend if accompanied by either of us or with one of the fantastic resort babysitters. The daily movie there meant that parents could eat their dinner in peace if they so wished.
There are five fantastic dining options with themed nights on rotation, so you won’t ever get bored. One of our favourite experiences was the ‘Shua Shack’ where you can dine under Bedouin tents on the beach and feast on lamb cooked in a pit under the ground.
Being the hedonist that I am, one of the main selling points for me was the infamous Six Senses spa. On arrival at the hotel we were given a schedule of weekly activities, many of which come at no extra charge. One morning I made it out of bed early enough to try the 7am Pilates class. This turned out to be an experience I’ll never forget. More of a Pilates Boot Camp, it took place on the outdoor Yoga Pavilion in full sun and 40° heat. The three of us participating were nearly in tears by the end, but by the time I’d picked myself up off the floor and hobbled to breakfast I was feeling very worthy and smug! I also enjoyed blissful guided meditation sessions and one of the best massages I’ve ever had (to soothe my tight, Pilates worn muscles). The thing is, even without the spa, Zighy Bay just has a totally zen aura about it. The wildlife is abundant and the air seems to hug you like a warm blanket. It’s also hard to imagine that there is anywhere else this close to the UK where you can find yourself enjoying your own virtually deserted beach.
As our time here came to an end, I found myself feeling more relaxed, energised and inspired then I had done in a very long time. Having had this place recommended to us by several well-travelled friends, let me give you some friendly advice: Go if you possibly can. You won’t regret it (your bank manager might) and you’ll quite possibly come back, like me, a changed woman!