Review: Six Senses Zighy Bay Activities & Dining

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


In the last installment I shared the details of the villa we had at the Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman. In this installment I’ll talk about what we did during our time there, and my overall impressions of the resort.

The resort has a total of 82 villas, which are arranged in a few “rows” across the entire width of the resort. The restaurants and main pool are located in the center of the resort. Then a saltwater pool and other activities are located at one end of the resort, while the spa is located at the other end of the resort.

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The main pool is gorgeous. We were at the resort in early October, when it was super hot, so there weren’t many people outside during the day, and for that matter the resort didn’t seem to be anywhere close to being at occupancy.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay pool

When looking at the pool from one side, the scenery almost felt like it was in Arizona.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay pool

Looking at the pool from the other side, you can see the hotel’s bar on the left, and then the casual dining restaurant on the right. Behind that is the hotel’s lobby.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay pool

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Six Senses Zighy Bay pool

Six Senses is all about nature, and all of the features have a lot of natural elements, from the stone buildings to the wood bridges.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay public areas

The backdrop of the restaurant was a pretty cool “tower,” though I’m not sure exactly what was in it (if anything).

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Six Senses Zighy Bay public areas

On the other side of the main pool was the beach, which was gorgeous. It had palm trees, and beautiful, soft sand.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay beach

There were many lounge chairs, and service was generally quite attentive at the pool, which was nice. As you can see below, due to the temperatures there weren’t many people enjoying the beach.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay beach

The hotel is right next to the town of Zighy Bay, so you’re really just a kilometer from the village. The catch is that guests are heavily discouraged from actually visiting the village, aside from walking along the beach towards it. In a way that makes this resort a bit like being in the Maldives, in the sense that you won’t get any local culture.

We walked down the beach towards the village, which we were told was fine (as long as we stayed on the beach). For the first 10 minutes of walking we were just passing the resort’s villas.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay beach

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Six Senses Zighy Bay beach

The views of the resort, gulf, and surrounding mountains were breathtaking.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay beach

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Six Senses Zighy Bay beach

I was a bit surprised to see that the beach in actual Zighy Bay was rather dirty, and full of trash. It’s my understanding that it’s a fishing village, so I sort of figured they’d take pride in their beaches and waterfront given that natural resources are what they rely on, but that didn’t seem to be the case.

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Zighy Bay village

On the plus side, the village had goats…

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Zighy Bay goats

…which Ford was amused by.

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Zighy Bay goats

The sunsets from the beach were gorgeous, even though the resort faces East.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay sunset

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Six Senses Zighy Bay sunset

The hotel has complimentary non-motorized water sports, so we were able to kayak along the coast, which was fun.

The hotel also has a saltwater pool, located at the far end of the resort closest to the village. I never saw anyone else there, so it was a great place to hang out.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay saltwater pool

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Six Senses Zighy Bay saltwater pool

At the other end of the resort was the spa. I never used it, though Ford had a treatment there and seemed to enjoy it.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay spa

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Six Senses Zighy Bay spa

Near the lobby the resort also has a pretty cool library, though given how nice the villa was and the solid wifi connection, I never had a need to use it.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay library

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Six Senses Zighy Bay library

As far as dining goes, breakfast was served daily from 7AM until 11AM at Spice Market, the hotel’s main restaurant, which serves Arabic cuisine.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Spice Market restaurant

The decor is rustic and casual, much like the rest of the resort. Both mornings we had breakfast we were the only guests, which was actually just about true no matter where in the resort we went.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Spice Market restaurant

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Spice Market restaurant

Our rate included breakfast, as most rates at this hotel do. The breakfast menu, which could be used as a supplement to the buffet, read as follows:

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The buffet was quite good. Everything was fresh and the selection was varied, especially for a fairly small resort.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

I’ll let the pictures speak mostly for themselves as far as the food goes, but I’ll note that the smoothies were incredible.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast buffet

The highlight of the breakfast was whatever the below things are called (I never did catch the name).

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast

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Six Senses Zighy Bay breakfast

We had dinner both days at Spice Market as well. I love Arabic food, and the selection was excellent. Here’s the dinner menu for Spice Market. Pricing is in Omani Rial, and one Rial is about 2.6USD.

With that in mind I thought the food pricing was quite reasonable, given how remote this resort is. Starters were ~$10, while mains were $30-40. Again, it’s not “cheap,” but given this is a remote, luxury resort, those prices aren’t out of line.

Everything we had for dinner was fantastic, and the service was extremely attentive… almost too attentive. But I guess that’s what happens when you’re the only people in a restaurant. I’ll let the pictures of the food speak for themselves.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Spice Market dinner

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Spice Market dinner

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Spice Market dinner

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Spice Market dinner

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Spice Market dinner

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Spice Market dinner

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Spice Market dinner

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Spice Market dinner

Both days we had lunch at Summer House, the hotel’s casual restaurant. You can find the Summer House lunch & dinner menu here. This restaurant had mostly a mix of western food and Asian cuisine, so contrasted nicely to the Arabic food at Spice Market.

One day we had the chili crab and coriander parcels to start.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Summer House lunch

Then I had the smoked chicken wrap as my main.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Summer House lunch

Meanwhile Ford had the chicken stir fry.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Summer House lunch

The other day we had some vegetable tempura and samosas to start.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Summer House lunch

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Summer House lunch

Then we split the fish as the main course.

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Six Senses Zighy Bay Summer House lunch

Overall I’d say the food was very good. It’s worth noting the hotel also has a signature fine dining restaurant on top of the mountain, called Sense On The Edge. That restaurant has tasting menus, which you can find the details of here. Unfortunately it wasn’t open on the days we were there, as it’s opened on limited days to begin with, and even less during the slow season.

So I guess my feedback in general is that the hotel really only has two restaurants, which I imagine could get quite boring if you’re staying for longer. On one hand the hotel isn’t on a secluded island, but at the same time it might as well be, since there’s nowhere else to eat nearby.

My overall thoughts on Six Senses Zighy Bay

The Six Senses Zighy Bay has a one-of-a-kind location. We were in awe when we drove “over” the mountain and saw the resort. It’s also pretty awesome that it’s not at all far from Dubai. You’re just a short two hour drive from Dubai, and even closer to other major cities in the UAE.

Six Senses is for a certain style of traveler, who’s into rustic luxury. And I do think that worked really well in this location, given the backdrop. Super modern luxury would have felt out of place. In general that’s not the type of luxury I’m into, though.

The resort is also secluded, which is a blessing and a curse. In that sense it reminded me a bit of the Maldives, since you’re basically “captive” to the resort. There’s one nearby village, and you’re not supposed to visit it. So you’re stuck eating at one of the hotel’s two restaurants. The hotel’s pools are beautiful and relaxing, though when it’s 100+ degrees outside during the day, you’ll find most people are staying inside.

While the hotel as such was beautiful and the service was friendly and proactive, I’m not sure I see the value in the pricing. During peak season you’re paying $1,500+ per night (when you factor in the service charge and tax), while even in the slow season you’re paying $1,100+ per night.

Ultimately many of these luxury hotels go after millionaires who work way too much and only have a week of vacation per year, so whether a hotel is $300 per night or $1,500 per night doesn’t matter much to them. Of course if you’re a value conscious traveler and/or have more free time, it’s a different story.

All that being said, the hotel did lack some sort of “wow” factor in terms of the soft product. I’ve paid ~$1,000 per night to stay at Aman properties in Bali (Amandari and Amankila), and thought I was getting an exceptional value. Service at the hotel was good, though not better than I’d expect at some mass-luxury hotel elsewhere.

Six Senses Zighy Bay bottom line

To sum up the above even more succinctly, the Six Senses Zighy Bay is a gorgeous, secluded resort. If you’re looking for a beach destination and traveling in the winter, it’s a great option. In the summer, it’s less tempting, given the weather. If you like Six Senses “style” in general, this property shouldn’t disappoint. But I also didn’t think it had the “wow” factor of some Amans I’ve visited, which are in a similar price range.

Stay tuned, because the next installment about Al Maha Desert Resort will present a totally different type of relaxing getaway from Dubai.

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Comments

  1. @ Kate — Apparently out of respect for the women, as their housing is very “exposed,” and they’d have to veil.

  2. I must say, that from the pictures and description, that this place does not rate those rates, IMHO. From what i see, this should be perhaps USD $500-$600 a night at most :). I guess I will not be appointed to be Revenue Manager any time soon! 🙂

    I had wanted to visit this place for a long time, so your report was really useful. Thanks for taking one for the team! 😉

  3. Ben – your breakfast highlight looks like manakeesh with honey. Pretty popular in that part of the world. They can be made with cheese, meat, and/or spices, sometimes folded over, sometimes not. Kind of like an Arabian quesadilla.

    I’ve been to the 6S Zighy Bay – in summer when it was really hot! This was a few years ago, and I think rates were under $300, because that’s about what the temperature was (It was actually “only” 120-130 – maybe a little higher with the heat index). October is sweater and jacket weather by comparison!

  4. Surprising how the village doesn’t seem to be interested in taking advantage of the tourism in their town – yet. But I imagine this gives the experience some more authenticity. And you get to be left alone at the beach and not followed by a guy selling sunglasses 😉
    BTW, if you’re interested in discovering more of Oman you might also wanna take a look at Salalah. It’s mostly resorts and beach and no real town though. They got a Hilton, too and there are flights from Muscat as well as Dubai.

  5. Love the pic of Ford with the goat. I’m with Ford as I, too, enjoy the company of goats. And cats, bats, elephants, sloths, butterflies, hummingbirds, bears, bumble bees, and so on.

    I’ve always loved a desert environment and have wanted to go to Zighy Bay. Now, after this review, not so much. It just looked rather lackluster. I think my goal will now be Sossusvlei Desert Lodge in Namibia.

  6. Tar was a problem. Food good but not great. Breakfast smoothies were AWESOME! Service was great too. Not worth the visit if you are U.S based.

  7. The ocean in Persian/ Oman Gulf is turquoise and clean. The locals do not sun bathe on the beach, except white tourists or Eastern Europeans who live there. Native born Arabs who live in the six wealthy Gulf states do not really work because they do not need to work. The wealthy non-Arabs from around the world will not choose to vacation in that region. These countries do not need tourism currency and shun it ,except UAE particularly Dubai,because 1) the governments do not want non-Muslims corrupt their citizens 2) the governments do not want Western governments interfere in their countries when their citizens get in trouble in their home turf, under pretext of human rights and religious freedom. Local women cover up to deter males from temptations and urges of whatever, you know. The Arabic foods are very tasty but also greasy and they are not healthy, not to mention they love to eat red meats like veal and beef. If you want to learn Arab history, these six Gulf States do not have any. Visit Iran, Egypt, Lebanon, Iraq or Syria. But the last three countries are minefields to adventure now.

  8. I stayed at this resort for part of my honeymoon and loved it! You can go to the top of the tower and the views are amazing. I think there is a wine cellar in the bottom! We got a ton of complimentary stuff in our honeymoon package including spa treatments, show boats, diving etc. That said this is some time ago and the resort had just opened so I don’t Knopf it is the same now

  9. I’ll give you the “wow”. I can’t understand the likes of “tower”? To my mind, putting stuff in “” means you’re questioning whether it’s what it claims to be. That is very obviously a tower….

    When this gig finishes, and if you still need to “work”, I’m sure the Daily Mail will give you a job.

  10. I’m a big fan of Six Senses… as I love rustic luxury. I’ve had the opportunity to stay in their Yao Noi, Thailand, resort… I didn’t want to leave. We went there as a family of 4 (me and my husband, plus our 2 boys aged 5 and 8 yo.). We found it really great value because kids eat for free if you stay longer than 3 nights. Basically, our kids could rock up to any of their restaurants or pool bars, order anything from their kids menu (even without ordering anything from adult menu), and it was free!

  11. Wow, really surprised to see pork bacon on the breakfast menu. If you tried it, was it any good? Crispy or limp? The only place I’ve ever had crispy pork bacon outside the US was at the Conrad Macau.

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