You will no doubt have heard of Zighy Bay. It’s one of those bucket-list destinations everyone living in the region hopes to visit one day - and we're glad to report that it more than lives up to expectations, as well as being one of the most down-to-earth five-star resorts around.
Six Senses Zighy Bay immediately relaxes your senses - yes, all six of them - doing full justice to its name. It's almost impossible to disconnect in the hyper-digital world we now live in, but something about Zighy Bay allows you to tap into another level of calm, clarity and contentedness, and completely switch off. No, really.
On the drive from Dubai to Oman, disconnecting starts becoming less of a choice anyway; your phone signal drops off as you arrive closer and closer and become surrounded by nothing more than mountains and goats. SnapChat really has no place here (unless you’re after a goat selfie, that is).
The team ensure from the moment you arrive you are connected with nature, as you drive in (or paraglide. We missed this bit, busying ourselves with goat selfies). Met by the friendliest staff, you immediately want to take off your shoes, never wear make-up again and drown your mobile phone in the sea. It’s such a refreshing atmosphere, with energy a million miles away from Dubai's frenetic pace.
We were there just four nights but could have stayed a lifetime (ok, we'd be fired... so maybe a week). We enjoyed our private pool and villa, met the on-site family of camels, visited the spa, enjoyed bike rides, paragliding, two of the three restaurants... all without spending one minute of it on our phones. Fine, we may have taken the odd picture and posted it once we were back home, but our mobiles existed mainly on aeroplane mode.
Highlights included the BBQ at the villa, where a three-course meal was created infront of us. Everything cooked at the resort is either grown right there or in Oman. Breakfast at the Spice Market is delicious with fresh fruit chopped infront of you, every single iteration of nut milk you possibly could ask for, the most amazing banana and cinnamon spread for toast, as well as an à la carte egg menu.
We love the Six Senses global brand ethos and stance on sustainability, with Zighy Bay adopting the philosophy of zero waste meaning that they recycle, upcycle and create clean products that can be enjoyed by guests around the resort, such as cold-process soaps, melt and pour soaps, pet soaps, bath scrubs, bath bombs, bath teas, shampoo bars and recycled paper. This allows the resort to reduce the carbon footprint of transporting materials, especially through upcycling things into new products and creating everything on site. Some incredibly inpiring initatives throughout the resort include:
• Organic farming: They have an on-site herb garden and off-site farm
• Sourcing locally: In their effort to be sustainable, they try to source all their products as locally as possible. Most are from within the GCC
• Fish from local Zighy fishermen: Depending on requirement and seasonality, they try to source fresh seafood from the local Zighy village you drive through on the way to the resort
• Beach clean-ups: They organise regular (twice monthly) beach clean-ups for both their private and village beach
• Six Senses water: In order to reduce their carbon footprint, they produce their own Six Senses water from a RO filtration process from the sea water. Drinking water is produced and bottled on site... no plastic can be found here! Even the gym water bottles are glass
• Building enveloping: They have an excellent building-enveloping system that prevents heat from entering the building in the summer and escaping in the winter months, hence saving on air con costs
• Hybrid cars: They boast a fleet of Nissan Pathfinders which are hybrid-technology SUVs
Resorts of the Middle East, take note! We left feeling refreshed and rebooted with an added level of awareness that we, ourselves, and the hotels we choose can do more to support sustainability throughout the region.