Anyone who knows me knows that I am the very definition of a bad traveler; the kind that takes a vacation for the sole purpose of taking a vacation, but who is still attached at the hip to all of her gadgets (and therefore, work). So imagine my colleagues’ collective surprise when I decided to take a three-day break to Zighy Bay smack in the middle of Couture Week with the promise not to work a minute of any day.
Six Senses Zighy Bay has a reputation that precedes it, which is to say that even before you have visited this magnificent resort you know it is breathtakingly beautiful. And peaceful. And relaxing. And all the other incredible adjectives that make you feel emotionally at one with the world. For instance, every person I know who has already visited Zighy (as its residents like to call it) refers to it as magical and life changing. A lot of pressure for a relatively small and obscure resort in the middle of Nowhere, Oman.
A mere two-hour drive from our very own Dubai, and with our car left at sea level at the grounds of the resort, an SUV picks us up and drives us up and down the most frightening mountains I have ever seen in my life (this coming from someone who has seen Tehran’s terrifying mountainous “roads” – at least those have barriers; Zighy has none). A thrilling seven minutes later and we see our first glimpse of the resort, which really looks like No Man’s Land. Zighy Bay is, quite literally, the only property that exists on this incredible stretch of land, other than a few Freej-looking houses, which belong to the fishermen of the area.
What we are looking at is a truly incredible sight. I have lived in Dubai all of my 29 years and never have I ever seen such an impressive view in the entire region. I present the analogy of God spending just a little bit more time on Zighy, which offers spectacular mountains and water that look as if they had been made by the hands of the Creator. I have seen countless pictures of the resort already, but truly none do it justice, for being there – and getting there – is an exceptional experience in and of itself.
The truth of the matter is that Zighy is so remarkably beautiful, peaceful, and relaxing that even if the service of the hotel was awful and the food and the amenities subpar, I would still recommend a visit to anyone I know. But, as luck would have it, we experienced some of the most fantastic service, as well as some of the freshest food and fish – forget farm to table, it’s all about sea to table – in our three days there. As for the amenities, the mansion-sized beachfront villa I was staying in boasted two master bedrooms, a full working kitchen, three living rooms, its own spa and gym, as well as an infinity pool and regular pool in an enormous private garden with several lounging areas. With the sea at your feet, you can hear the constant sound of lapping waves, morning and night. There is just something about the sound of the ocean that makes one incredibly serene and calm no matter your life’s problems, and Zighy is truly the master of providing this level of serenity to one’s life.
On the subject of serenity, Zighy has it all. We took a wondrous cruise around the area on our first day, which set the precedent for the rest of our trip. For those looking to set a different kind of precedent, a visit to the resort’s website will confirm a list of adrenaline-boosting activities (think rock climbing, wake boarding, and paragliding) for the more daring and adventurous. A visit to the splendid spa is also a must, while dinner at Sense on the Edge, a restaurant 300 meters above sea level, is the fine-dining experience of a lifetime. The spectacular view and life-altering Wagyu beef alone are worth the terrifying trip up that barrierless mountain, I promise.
I was really struggling to come up with the words to describe Zighy to friends when I got back home. For how do you describe an indescribable place? A place that resembles a remote Arabic village from 200 years ago, where you roam streets along with free-walking goats, where bikes are at the ready in your villa for transportation, and absolutely nothing looks modern (air conditioners and remote controls, for example, are hidden from plain view with clever covers). Zighy is a place surrounded by nothing but sun, sand, and sea. No Starbucks, no malls. Nowhere to go but to stay in this idyllic, truly magical place that leaves you with your thoughts and thoughts alone, to hear the waves crashing into one another while you take an outdoor shower in your bedroom under the roaring sun.
The best way to describe Zighy is to say that you are not transported by place but by time. This is surely what it must have felt like to live 200 years ago.