Hotel Spotlight: Six Senses Zighy Bay April 24, 2016
If you’re headed to Oman and you’re interested in a local, natural experience, then you want to indulge in Six Senses Zighy Bay, trust me. I was so excited, I made a video of my experience which, if interested, you can view here. Six Senses Zighy Bay is a special place, somewhat similar to the Soneva Resort chain. Both Soneva and Six Senses are owned by Sonu Shivdasani, of whom I met at the WTTC Summit one year. Him and his wife have a true eye for luxury, and nothing in my opinion has truly surpassed the luxury and sustainability elements of Six Senses and Soneva. But let’s get back to Zighy Bay for now…
The restaurants are divine and offer the finest foods and wines for the exquisite traveler. But what I of course love is how they offer guests the opportunity to interact with the local culture. One tour I went on allowed me to connect with a local Pakistani man who lived high up in the mountains. My tour guide said, “now he only comes down from the mountain every now and then, and he walks. Sometimes it takes hours for him to climb up and down, so we might not see him…”, but as we were leaving our tour, he emerged from the rocks and came to say hello. We snapped a picture which you can see below.
Just like Soneva, the breakfast buffet and restaurant choices are out of this world and I loved the fact that all of their pools were salt water. They had a really fun kids play area, so while this resort is very kid friendly, the honeymooners and solo travelers don’t hear a peep! Each villa is immensely private and large with ample amenities including a little goat stuffed animal, which, if you purchase one, a certain percentage goes directly to the local elementary schools. They have their own garden that boasts fresh produce that the kitchen uses in their dishes, though at times in extremely dry seasons, it can be difficult to maintain. The ride through the mountains was beautiful. I loved this resort hands down.
The overall rating that I gave Six Senses Zighy Bay was a 9/10.
What I loved: Local immersion, the activities (hang gliding or SUPing? They have it all!), and let me tell you about the spa. Six Senses Spas are known all around the world for being the best, and they truly are. The gym was lovely and plentiful, and the staff very hospitable. Let’s not leave out that personal pool in the villas and stunning architecture!
What Set It Back: The only thing was it was a bit of a long journey to get to this hidden spot. Whether you fly into Muscat or Dubai, it is a haul, so be prepared. It took about 2 hours to get from Dubai to the resort, but it was worth it when there. Also, their sustainability efforts could have been better, considering Soneva and all they do to maintain their efforts.
Overall: The best, most sustainable luxury hotel to stay in within the Maldives. Perhaps even more so than their sister hotel, Soneva Jani (also in the Maldives).
What makes a sustainable or regenerative hotel? A reverse osmosis water system, farm to table produce, supporting local dairy and meat farmers, engaging with local non-profit or community organization endeavors to address an issue within the country or community, energy efficient lighting, low pressure water systems, recycling, employing locals and offering fair and equal pay, replanting what was lost during the construction, use of biofuel (for boats), engaging guests in local cultural experiences and making them aware of environmental and cultural needs, LEED Certification, educating staff on importance of sustainability (turning off lights, observing for wasteful practices, etc.), reducing bathroom amenities waste (using bamboo toothbrushes instead, locally made/organic soap, shampoo and conditioner that help the environment), the list goes on.
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