My fond memories of an unforgettable trip...
Arrive and Explore
Arriving anywhere on holiday is a brilliant feeling but there was nothing quite like the check-in experience at Six Senses Zighy Bay. Driving just two hours from Dubai airport, we soon left the high buildings and bustle behind as we head further into the Musandam mountains of Oman (after a super seamless border crossing that was all arranged by the hotel). After a steep ascent, enjoying beautiful views, we suddenly glimpsed Zighy Bay below us, and if the views from the car weren't magical enough, they were soon to be ramped up a notch. Six Senses Zighy Bay has to be one of the only hotels in the world that offers a transfer in by paragliding. Now, it's safe to say that I'm not an adrenaline junkie and, honestly, was pretty terrified when I was getting strapped in and ready to step off the mountain edge. But I can genuinely say this was one of the best experiences I've ever had and the views over the resort and the Gulf of Oman were seriously stunning. I struggle to see how anyone would be disappointed by this and not want to go back up to the top of the mountain and do it all over again!
The location of Zighy Bay is something really special. Surrounded by dramatic mountains that perfectly reflect the sunlight, it is the only resort on the ultra-private and enormous bay, shared only with a local village (which the design of the resort is modelled to match). As a result, the style of the accommodation is traditionally rustic, low-key and fitting with the destination. Each villa comes with its own swimming pool and I would particularly recommend the beachfront villas - which we were lucky enough to stay in - due to the most amazing views and level of seclusion.
Zighy's arrival was truly unmatchable, but our transfer to Six Senses Laamu in the Maldives wasn't half bad either! After a flight from Dubai to Male, we boarded a comfortable domestic flight, soaring over the beautiful turquoise lagoons towards the Laamu Atoll, where Six Senses is the only resort. We then were whisked by a member of the Six Senses team onto a luxury speedboat, for the final twenty-minute journey to paradise. On the speedboat, we were asked if we wanted to follow the "no news, no shoes" ethos, meaning you take your shoes off on arrival and don't see them again until departure (even for evening dining). We heartily accepted and I would recommend that you do too. 99% of the guests follow the theme and it really allows you to unwind, relax and get into the spirit of the Maldives. The accommodation sits either on the beach or over water, and we were blown away by our beautiful two bedroom lagoon villa, complete with its very own private pool and the most sensational views.
Experience and Enjoy
In both of these Six Senses hotels, we were given a bicycle each for getting around, complete with our initials. Super simple, but this was a touch that we really liked, making it easy (and of course, more fun) to get between areas and activities. Speaking of which, we were spoilt with the amount of amazing experiences and excursions we got to enjoy on our trip. While in Oman at Six Senses Zighy Bay, we head off on a traditional Dhow cruise with, of course, a luxury twist. Equipped with an impressive packed lunch of sushi, sandwiches and fresh fruit, we sailed in style across the Gulf of Oman, stopping to enjoy kayaking and snorkelling on what was the perfect day. Other possible activities at Zighy continue to make the very most of the resort's exceptional location, including hiking, rock climbing, and a visit to local villages by 4WD. There are also three resident camels with amazing 'punny' names: Humphrey, Cameal and Wednesday (hump day, get it?!). They are super friendly, and we were told that they feature a lot in the wonderful kids' programmes and activities here.
Over in the Maldives at Six Senses Laamu, the activities also embrace the beautiful island. The marine life here is seriously spectacular and there are over ten marine biologists based at the resort that work closely with the local government to aid conservation of this amazing area of the world. You can snorkel directly from the main resort or your water villa to the reef, spotting exciting species such as black tip reef sharks, rays, turtles and much more. If you find a turtle and take a photo, the team can usually identify it by its pattern and tell you its name! While in Laamu, we were also treated to a private sunset cruise in search of the area's resident dolphins. Sipping bubbly and snacking on canapes as the sun set was an experience we will never forget. Laamu is also one of the best atolls in the Maldives for surfing which can be enjoyed complimentary, or on a private lesson.
Relax and Unwind
We loved everything about our trip and the two beautiful properties, but the friendly, five-star service from the staff at both really made our experience what it was. In particular, our butlers - known as GEMs (Guest Experience Managers) - which every villa has, were absolutely amazing and so helpful while never being intrusive. Our GEM at Six Senses Laamu, Mila, was outstanding and seemed to know exactly what we wanted before we even knew ourselves, making the whole experience super relaxing. While here, we literally didn't have a care in the world!
Of course, Six Senses is a brand that is synonymous with its spa offerings. and these two hotels didn't disappoint, both home to beautiful spas, gyms and yoga terraces. While in Laamu, we were treated to a gorgeous massage in one of the treatment 'nests' on the beachfront. With the sound of the ocean and the expertise of the Six Senses therapists, this was genuinely one of the best full body massages I've ever had.
Drink and Dine
Unsurprisingly, considering how much we loved everything else, the food at both resorts was also insanely good. Due to the eco-friendly nature of Six Senses (there is no single use plastic in either and their own drinking water is made onsite), much of the produce used for cooking is organic, local and sustainably sourced. At Zighy Bay, the milk, eggs, vegetables and honey come from the charming Zighy Farm right there on the resort.
Sense On The Edge at Six Senses Zighy Bay
Sip Sip Restaurant at Six Senses Laamu
Leaf Restaurant at Six Senses Laamu
Though everything was delicious throughout the trip, stand out meals included Zighy Bay's fine dining restaurant Sense on the Edge, with a dream location right on the mountainside overlooking the resort and the ocean behind. Here, I had the seven-course 'Journey' menu, comprising exquisite small dishes paired with wine that was selected by the resident sommelier. For me, the highlight was the scallop course. it was incredible! Meanwhile, over at Laamu, my dining highlight had to be the signature restaurant Leaf, perched above the organic garden. I had the duo of fish for my main which comprised tuna steak and a local catch of the day caught fresh by Maldivian fishermen. They were both sooo delicious and were served with some of the best tasting vegetables I've ever had.
The complimentary ice cream (in both resorts) was also a highlight for the two of us, with incredibly unique flavours to choose from such as Japanese green tea, Vietnamese coffee, lemongrass and more. Savannah doesn't eat dairy but that certainly didn't stop her enjoying a treat, as they had a range of lactose-free sorbets which were just as yummy.