Go on a voyage like no other: Explore Musandam on a luxurious private dhow
After a day of snorkelling with turtles, it’s nice to come back to hotel-grade bed sheets and a luxuriously private dhow…
Two turtles were resting on a bed of crimson-red coral. As we snorkelled above, the hawksbill duo looked up and slowly pushed off into the blue. They weren’t alone: schools of fish came into view the moment we jumped into the sea. A kaleidoscope of colour coming at us from every angle. We followed our guide as he traversed the creature-rich waters just below the surface of Musandam’s enormous mountains.
Most come to Musandam – located at the northeastern most point of the Arabian Peninsula in the Sultanate of Oman – to get close to nature, either by scuba diving, rock climbing or hand-line fishing as the locals do. Others make the two-hour journey from Dubai to spend a luxurious getaway in one of the region’s most stunning properties – the award-winning Six Senses Zighy Bay. The 82-all-villa beach resort is laid out like a traditional Omani village featuring individual stonewalled villas complete with private plunge pools; the craggy mountains cradling the resort from the back, and a panoramic view of the sapphire blue waters of Musandam’s fjords at the front.
To venture past the private bay and explore those winding fjords, you’ll need access to a boat – preferably Six Senses’ recently refurbished, traditional Omani dhow, lovingly named Dhahab (meaning gold in Arabic). Once used by traders on epic journeys across the high seas, today, the dhow is reserved for private Musandam voyages, setting sail to the less-discovered side of Oman. Onboard, the 90-foot vessel can accommodate up to six people and features three bedrooms and ensuite bathrooms.
As we set sail, our head waiter Rahul is on call to bring us fruit or a refreshing smoothie as we lie on the huge sand-yellow loungers admiring the scenery. Local fishermen wave from speed boats as they zoom past; dolphins breach the surface entertaining us with their little jumps; and our guide, Humaid, regales stories of his childhood and love for his country. It’s in these moments when we’re able to create connections to the cultures and people that make places special, that help make for richer experiences.
After three hours of sailing along the glistening waters, with the sun setting behind the mountains, our voyage pauses for the night in a quiet cove, and it’s here where we enjoy an exquisite alfresco dinner lit up by fairy lights. The menu is specially crafted by our private chef Mehedi, who customises meals to individual requests and dietary requirements. In line with the brand’s philosophy, meals are prepared from locally sourced organic produce, which we can hear sizzling away on the grill. The succulent Omani prawns and freshly-caught sea bream were standout dishes.
The ability to rest your head in a beautiful air-conditioned bedroom with hotel-grade bed sheets and a plump mattress is a perk. But nothing beats sleeping outside, and the daybeds on the upper deck provide the most picturesque platform for stargazing. The next morning as we were out kayaking across the calm waters before breakfast, another huge school of fish surfaced, soared and splashed back in the water. “Shame we don’t have our fishing lines as there’s a lot of fish below us,” said Humaid. We weren’t too phased; if we wanted locally caught Omani fish, it was on the menu aboard.
Good to know…
Duration: One-night Dhahab experiences leave at 3pm and dock back to Six Senses Zighy Bay at noon the following day. Two-night excursions are also possible.
Price: Prices start from Dhs25,710 per night for two adults.
• Four meals per person per night including soft drinks
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• Private Chef on board with all meals prepared fresh with organic produce
• Watersports such as snorkelling, kayaking and fishing are included
• Other activities include cooking classes, stargazing, movies on demand, diving, spa treatments as well as yoga and fitness classes are available on request at an additional charge
• 10 per cent discount will be applied on the villa rate if booked in combination with a resort stay
For more information, visit sixsenses.com