Six Senses Zighy Bay on the Musandam Peninsula, is two hours’ drive east of Ajman. Just before arriving you head up a barren green-free zigzag mountain road to 3,500 feet and there, look down at a verdant shore-set oasis. Down, by more zigzags, and there you are, arriving through a mini soukh shopping area to be greeted by locals in characteristic national dress. Outside, it is blazing hot, but once you have walked round the multi-level swimming pool, framed in big stones, to your villa, you can take a deep, cool breath and thank whomever for air-conditioning. This nine-year old resort, which truly is unique as well as a really magical place, has not only matured but grown up, without losing its charm.
All 82 villas are bordered by fences of Jareed date-palm sticks for such privacy that skinny-dipping in villa 56’s pool was perfectly discreet. I had indoor and outdoor showers, and toiletries are now in easy-pump ceramic pots, and proper coat hangers, replacing early-days odd-shaped driftwood lengths, do not hurt the Alexander McQueen in which you may have worn on the flight from New York. So many happy memories are created here, including cycling on your numbered bike, twice as old as the resort, and simply walking around looking at the date palms – as at the top of this story – and exploring the most impressive and productive vegetable garden. Chef Tim Goddard, who comes from Canberra, had me tasting herbs, including one even he cannot name – the herbs and mushrooms with his simply-fab home-made tagliatelle came from the garden.
Most people stay five nights and there is masses to do. Dine in the garden, or at Sense on the Edge! back up at the top of the mountain range: throughout the meal, cooked by a cheery guy from Birmingham, England, Mark McHugo. The occasional firecracker, lit by staff, helps light up the black sky. Eat any time down by the pool. Breakfast, inside or out, from an enormous buffet that would do justice to any food centre that has none of this resort’s supply challenges. You can even eat at sea, quite literally. Zighy Bay has its own dhow, which sleeps up to six. Take a three day cruise, with a personal chef and other staff but with no connectivity (which by the way is excellent throughout the resort). Chill out, for tech detox and the feeling of being right back to nature. Out there, says Tim Goddard, one of the joys is catching your own fish, and eating it the same hour.
I would take onboard one of the well-chosen books in my room. Stories of the Sea: Everyman’s Pocket Classics, includes Hemingway’s After the Storm (a reminder of my time in Havana only a couple of weeks ago). Oh there is so much to do: paragliding, down from the mountain peak; cooking classes; and plenty of work-out opportunities in the Technogym, looking out into date palms. Of course there is a Six Senses Spa and you can learn about wellness from the Six Senses Little Book of Wellness, which comes as part of the company’s sleep set – this also has an organic cotton and bamboo pyjama set, an eye mask, and spray. I learned from this little tome that I should stop exercise four hours before sleeping, and no more alcohol less than three hours before. Another directive, 15 minutes’ sunlight each morning, is certainly no problem at this memorable nature-luxury resort.