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.
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.
When looking at the pool from one side, the scenery almost felt like it was in Arizona.
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.
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.
The backdrop of the restaurant was a pretty cool “tower,” though I’m not sure exactly what was in it (if anything).
On the other side of the main pool was the beach, which was gorgeous. It had palm trees, and beautiful, soft sand.
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.
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.
The views of the resort, gulf, and surrounding mountains were breathtaking.
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.
On the plus side, the village had goats…
…which Ford was amused by.
The sunsets from the beach were gorgeous, even though the resort faces East.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
The buffet was quite good. Everything was fresh and the selection was varied, especially for a fairly small resort.
I’ll let the pictures speak mostly for themselves as far as the food goes, but I’ll note that the smoothies were incredible.
The highlight of the breakfast was whatever the below things are called (I never did catch the name).
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.
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.
Then I had the smoked chicken wrap as my main.
Meanwhile Ford had the chicken stir fry.
The other day we had some vegetable tempura and samosas to start.
Then we split the fish as the main course.
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.