Barefoot, intelligent luxury meets James Bond-style adventure and romance at the exclusive Six Senses Zighy Bay in Musandam, Oman. Tamara Pitelen took her shoes off.

Tamara Pitelen holidays like James Bond.

 “Just keep running towards the edge of the cliff… and keep running straight over it…” said Sebastian, my paragliding guide.

That was probably the moment the blood drained from my face. Said cliff in question was the precipice of a plummeting drop of, ooh, a very long way down. The people on the beach of the Six Senses Zighy Bay luxury resort below were ant-sized. That was my destination and I was arriving by tandem paraglider.

It sounds all very adventurous and James Bond; swooping off a mountain side and soaring into your exclusive beachside resort by paraglide but 007 probably wouldn’t have quietly sobbed or asked questions like, ‘um, has anybody ever died from this?’ when told by his guide to, ‘keep running straight over the cliff’.

Happily though, I can report that I didn’t die and it was absolutely one of the most exhilarating, breath-taking and adrenalin-pumping 15 minutes of my life. If you get the chance, do it. Do it!

And you will get the chance if you spend some of your holidays in Oman, on the Musandam Peninsula, at the amazing Six Senses Zighy Bay.

At the risk of sounding like a travel brochure, Six Senses Zighy Bay is nestled on golden sands beneath a canopy of lush green right next to the azure Arabian Ocean. Yes, I know, the word ‘nestled’ is awful isn’t it but when you’re gazing down at the resort from the top of the surrounding mountains – that’s what it looks like.

If you don’t arrive at Zighy Bay by paraglider, then the other option is the one very steep, 4WD-only road that passes over the mountains and into the resort… this road is owned and built by Six Senses so you have to pass through the security gate to use it. If your name’s not on their list, you’re not getting through. Your other arrival experience option is a fifteen-minute speedboat trip from the nearby port.

Security is tight to ensure that Six Senses Zighy Bay is exclusive and secluded because this is where some of the world’s most rich and famous come to relax, safe from prying eyes and paparazzi cameras.

 INTELLIGENT LUXURY

It’s probably no surprise then that a few nights at Zighy Bay don’t come cheap. The Private Reserve Villa – which is basically a beachside mansion with its own enormous swimming pool and a business conference area out the back is about $15,000 per night. (According to my secret sources at Zighy Bay, this villa was hired out by the L’Oreal heiress for a month recently. She brought her own doctor, butler, and dog… and liked it so much she’s already booked another month).

So your wallet won’t go unscathed for all this barefoot chic and ‘intelligent luxury’ – the latter being how Six Senses describe their approach to luxury. Forget gold taps and Swarovski crystals on every surface; this is a ‘bling-free’ environment. Everything is exclusive and no attention to detail is spared but the resort owners are also committed to sustainable environmental practices. An onsite organic garden supplies fruit and vegetables for the resort’s restaurants, you’ll be hard pressed to find anything plastic, and they have stopped importing bottled water from thousands of miles away and instead purify and bottle their own water in glass bottles that are reused. Plus, the resort itself is built from biodegradable and local materials like wood, earthenware and stone. For example, when Six Senses had to build the road over the mountains, all the stone that was dug out was then used to build the resort.

PRIVATE BUTLER

What else do you get as part of the Zighy Bay experience? Your own private butler. I’ve never had my own private butler before. There’s a lot to be said for it. Our butler was Lek, a petite Thai woman who was always no further away than the press of a speed dial button. Lek arranged our every whim and transported us around the village on a bicycle tuk tuk. She would pick us up from the front door of our beachfront villa – complete with private pool – to whisk us off to whatever activity we had booked, including a facial at the Six Senses Spa (the kind of facial where you have 24 carat gold rubbed into your cheeks); a romantic dinner up the mountain at Six Senses on the Edge restaurant (the Wagyu beef was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever eaten); a sunset dhow cruise with champagne and canapés, and an hour spent in Zighy Bar with Hector, the resort’s mixologist. Hector shows you how to make wonderful cocktails using fresh ingredients like aloe vera, pomegranate, rosemary and lemongrass, all straight from the resort’s own organic garden. (Hector’s tip: Ever wondered the best way to get the seeds out of a pomegranate? Cut it in half and bash the outside with a muddle stick so the edible flesh falls into a bowl.)

VINOTEQUE – THE WINE TOWER

There’s a reason that Six Senses Zighy Bay is often the place men choose to propose marriage to the loves of their lives as well as the place newlyweds come to honeymoon. The place oozes romance and intimacy. One of the most unforgettable evenings I spent there with my Other Half was at the open-air restaurant at the top of the stone wine tower that houses a wine cellar.

A Rapunzel-like affair, this restaurant called Vinoteque is at the top of a winding staircase and has just one table which seats just two people. You spend the evening in the warm night air, dining by moonlight, starlight and candlelight. The background music is provided by the waves breaking on the shore below. Your private waiter discretely runs up and down the stairs to serve the courses, leaving you alone for most of the time to soak up the atmosphere and linger over the sublime gourmet food and wine. If there’s a more romantic and serenity-inducing spot in the world, I haven’t been there.

Remember when the Spice Girls were singing about what they really, really wanted? I think now I understand what they meant by, “Ah Zig a Zig ahhhh!”

 NEED TO KNOW

Getting there: Six Senses Zighy Bay on the Musandam Peninsula in Oman is a two hour drive from Dubai International Airport, which is the gateway city to Zighy Bay. Your passport will be needed at the Omani border patrol.

Contacts: For the resort, call +968 26735 555 (24 hrs) or call reservations (9am to 9pm) on +968 26735 888, or email: reservations-zighy@sixsenses.com.

Prices: Start from $1,039 plus nine per cent tax and 8.4 per cent service charge for a pool villa up to $15,000+ night for the Private Reserve villa.

Website: SixSensesZighyBay

Tamara Pitelen is an editor on The Holiday Goddess Handbag Guide to London, available now for the iPad.

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