Review: Six Senses Zighy Bay Villa

Introduction
From Airbus To Megabus: A Trip Of Contrasts
Review: Six Senses Zighy Bay Villa
Review: Six Senses Zighy Bay Activities & Dining
Review: Al Maha Bedouin Suite
Review: Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai Dining
Review: Al Maha Desert Resort Dubai Activities
Review: Dubai International First Class Lounge DXB
Review: Qatar Airways First Class A320 Dubai To Doha
Review: Qatar Airways First Class A380 Doha To London
Review: British Airways First Class A380 London To Los Angeles
Review: British Airways A380 First Class Tasting Menu
Review: Sheraton Gateway Los Angeles Airport LAX
Review: American Flagship Lounge Los Angeles LAX
Review: American First Class A321 Los Angeles To New York
Review: Hilton Austin Airport


Early last year I visited Muscat, Oman, which I found to be my favorite major city in the Middle East.

Muscat
Muscat, Oman

Over the years I’ve heard nothing but great things about the natural beauty of Oman. Heck, the slogan for the country’s tourism board is “beauty has an address… Oman.” Admittedly you shouldn’t trust a tourism board, but I think this video supports the case for Oman’s natural beauty:

Point being, I had long heard about the Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman. What makes it unique is that it’s driving distance to Dubai, and it takes less than two hours to get from Dubai International Airport to the resort.

Zighy-Bay

We were staying in early October, which is still slow season (which isn’t surprising, given that it was hot). The paid rates were ~$1,000 per night, and this hotel belongs to Virtuoso, so you can get extra perks by booking through them.

Virtuoso-Benefits

In the interest of full disclosure I managed to get a media rate for our two night stay, which was a bit more than half of that, plus a 17.4% tax and service charge (I was still paying over $600 per night). The rate included breakfast.

On top of that, transfers from Dubai Airport to the resort cost $195.

With that in mind, let’s get into the review.

We landed from Dallas on Emirates at around noon, and as we got to the arrivals hall someone from the hotel was waiting for us. We began the drive to the Six Senses, which took us through the UAE for about 75 minutes, as we passed Sharjah, Ajman, Fujairah, etc.

Then it came time for the border crossing. We had submitted our passport information in advance, and as we got close to the border another car met us, and handed our driver some papers. Obviously this was perfectly planned out, though not being familiar with the exact process, it felt hilariously sketchy.

Then we got up to the border, which was simply a two lane road with a gate which would be similar to what you’d see at a toll plaza. Obviously this isn’t intended as a major border crossing between the two countries, but rather just for the “locals.” Our driver got out of the car, handed the officer our papers, and within a couple of minutes we were through the border. It was seamless.

About 20 minutes after entering Oman the drive got really interesting. The Six Senses is located in Zighy Bay, which is basically an area surrounded on all sides by mountains.

We started driving up a really steep dirt road. I could only imagine the amount of wear and tear a drive like this puts on our GMC Yukon.

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Driving to Zighy Bay, Oman

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Driving to Zighy Bay, Oman

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Our transport to Zighy Bay

When we got to the top of the mountain we stopped briefly and took in the breathtaking view of Zighy Bay. Wow. All the “civilization” in the below picture is the resort.

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View of Zighy Bay, Oman

Then there’s also a small fishing village in Zighy Bay, which is visible in the below picture.

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View of Zighy Bay, Oman

From there it was maybe a 15 minute drive down the hill, before we pulled up to the resort.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay lobby exterior

The area to the side of the lobby had a covered driveway, which was much appreciated given the temperatures outside.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay exterior

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Six Senses Zighy Bay exterior

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Six Senses Zighy Bay exterior

We were welcomed to the hotel by several staff waiting outside, and directed to the lobby. At check-in we were introduced to Danny, who would be our “GEM.” That stands for “guest experience maker,” so it’s basically the person who is your contact point at the hotel for planning activities, making dinner reservations, etc. We were also informed that breakfast would be served daily from 7AM until 11AM at Spice Market, one of the hotel’s main restaurants.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay lobby

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Six Senses Zighy Bay lobby

We were driven in a golf cart to our villa. All the accommodations at the resort are villas, and there are a total of 82 of them. There are several categories of villas, as there are both one and two bedroom villas, and there are also different categories within those sizes (pool villa, spa villa, beachfront villa, etc.).

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Six Senses Zighy Bay walkway to villa

We were assigned villa 69, which was a standard pool villa.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa exterior

It took me nearly our entire stay to figure out the numbering system, since our room said what looked to me like 79, but apparently it was actually room 69. Then it was explained to me the room numbers were written in Arabic, and that the Arabic number for “6” looks similar to what we recognize as “7.” Ah!

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa entrance

The resort is a bit spread out, so there were two bikes assigned to our villa, which had our room numbers on them (not that I imagine there’s much bike theft at the resort).

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa bikes

Then there was a pot of water for cleaning feet before entering the villa. Six Senses resorts are all about nature, so walking around barefoot is encouraged.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa entrance

At the exterior of the villa was a cute sliding “do not disturb” sign. One side showed closed eyes (“do not disturb”), while the other showed open eyes (“make my room”).

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa “do not disturb” sign

Upon entering the “gate” to the villa, we found ourselves in what can only be described as an amazing stone “complex.” Let’s talk about the outside area first.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa exterior space

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa entrance

The entrance to the room was to the left, while straight ahead were two lounge chairs under an umbrella.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa patio

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa patio

To the left of that was a table with four chairs.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa patio

Then in the far corner of the outside area was an “L” shaped couch. It’s worth noting that you can also enter and exit the villa through the backside, depending on where you want to go.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa exterior seating

The highlight of the outside area was the beautiful pool.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa pool

Even without a direct view from there, the sunrises were stunning.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa pool at sunset

In terms of the villa itself, the living room was right near the entrance from the pool area, and featured two couches, a desk, and a TV.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa living room

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa living room

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa living room

The table between the couches had a pretty cool chess setup.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa living room chess board

The desk was functional, though the chair wasn’t especially ergonomic for working (then again, I think Six Senses resorts are all about escaping and not working).

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa living room desk & TV

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa living room desk

Past the living room was the minibar area, with a Nespresso coffee machine and kettle.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa espresso machine

To the right was the exterior minibar, which included an adorable Zighy Bay stuffed goat, which we couldn’t help but buy. It’s apparently produced by the locals.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa minibar

Under that was the mini-fridge, with chargeable minibar items.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa minibar

Past the minibar area was the bedroom, which featured a couch on the left, and then a king size bed on the right.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa bedroom

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa bedroom

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa bedroom

The bed was extremely comfortable, with a soft mattress and great pillows.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa bedroom

Past the bedroom was the bathroom, which featured double sinks, and then a soaking tub on the left.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa bathroom

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa soaking tub

Then on the right was the enclosed shower, which featured both a handheld shower head as well as a wall-mounted one.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa shower

As is the norm at Six Senses properties, shampoo and conditioner were in a reusable dispenser, though were high quality.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa toiletries

Then the toilet was just past the shower on the right.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay villa toilet

All-in-all, the villa featured ~900 square feet of internal space, so was quite large. The whole resort also featured wifi, which was surprisingly high speed given the secluded location. While there were very brief outages, the speed was fast enough to make phone calls through Skype, etc.

I do think it’s worth talking for a moment about the Six Senses brand as such. They don’t offer typical luxury, in the sense that the hotels aren’t equipped with high end leather couches and all the latest tech gadgets. You won’t find Park Hyatt’s minimalist luxury of Four Seasons’ opulence at a Six Senses. Instead, Six Senses resorts are about blending into the environment, and attract a traveler who prefers nature over generic luxury.

I’ll be honest, in general Six Senses finishes aren’t my “style.” But in the right location I think they work very well. And I think this resort is an example of that. Given how incredibly unique the location is, a design like this works extremely well.

Bottom line

The villas at the Six Senses Zighy Bay almost feel a bit like an imaginary home you dream about as a child. They’re not generic luxury, and in general the brand isn’t for everyone. I think it works brilliantly in Zighy Bay, though, given the setting.

It’s also really cool that this hotel is within driving distance of Dubai, and the border crossing is easy. From many major US cities you’re a nonstop flight from this resort, which is rather convenient (even if it’s a really long flight).

Stay tuned for the next installment, where I’ll be sharing my thoughts on activities and dining at the hotel, and the overall value proposition.

What do you make of the Six Senses Zighy Bay design — is it your style?

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Comments

  1. wow what a dump. And you paid $600 for this? You practically paid all the furniture in your entire apartment. You are a weird fruit man. You wont book obscure flights because the price is too high but yet youll drop 1.2k for a dump like that… certainly strange for me

  2. I was happy to read your review as I was considering this property. It’s $1K-ish. For that I want a water view. While much of what you said appealed, the view did not. You’ve saved me money,

  3. This is an interesting property in terms of location, but I wish all the villas had water views. Could you have saved some money on transfers by having an Emirates chauffeur take you to the border and then having Six Senses pick you up from there? I know you’re not “beachy,” but you should check out Six Senses Cong Dao in Vietnam. Just a short hop from Hong Kong…

  4. Fair play to you for disclosing the media discount. At either value, it is shockingly poor value for money

    Been to the 6S in Samui which was a never again moment to me. And the one in samui is nowhere near as expensive as this one.

    While the area looks nice, for a similar experience, I would still go to the 4 seasons in Sharm which is half the price and more accessible – the security situation permitting.

    Did you try the sea? I heard there is some oil contamination but not sure.

  5. We have friends that were stationed at the US Embassy in Muscat and loved their time there. We really missed out by not going while they were there, but we will make it to Muscat one day. We only get time off over the summer and it’s incredibly hot that time of year.

    Have you stayed in Muscat yet?

  6. I agree, the rustic villa setting works well against Zighy Bay’s backdrop. I was tossing between this and Anantara Qasr Al Sarab on a recent trip to the UAE. I chose Qasr Al Sarab , absolutely enjoyed it. I always had this lingering thought in the back of my head whether I missed out on Six Senses Zighy Bay. It’s an entirely different setting and would still love to experience it. Six Senses Zighy Bay has the advantage of water and the mountains, but luxury and resort-wise, I prefer Qasr al Sarab

  7. Sure, location is different, but when I look into the property itself, this kind/level of luxury style/deco/design concept is pretty easy to find somewhere in Southern Morocco (even just outskirts of Marrakech) around Atlas mountains for the half or 1/3 price. Diverse & rich culinary tradition in Morocco is a plus. So not impressed at all with this property. No coincidence why the Father of Qataris likes to have his vacation in mountainous Morocco? 😉

  8. Hello,
    Since you were flying on Qatar airways, they also fly to Sharjah and Ras Al Khamah which are cheaper and closer to the resort, which makes it a better option than DXB.
    Plus, availability will be higher since theres less payload.

  9. Keep in mind that the border post at Dibba is only seamless if you are NOT a resident of the UAE or Oman. Residents have to either get a special permit in advance to cross here (the hotel should be able to arrange this), or else cross into Musandam at Al Dara border post near Khasab. Also, this specific border post has a requirement that unaccompanied women must carry a non-objection certificate from their male “guardian” to be permitted to cross here.

  10. Thank you for the coverage. As a resident of the UAE, this confirms that my choice to stay at the Banyan Tree Al Wadi was the better one. Not having to deal with crossing the border and an overall better product, I think I would return to Banyan Tree first! (You do have my interest in Al Maha…)

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