With pregnancy taking its toll, VIVA features editor Jennifer Gibson finds the perfect place to relax and recharge on a babymoon break... and all without the travails of a long haul flight
It’s meant to be a wonderful time in a woman’s life. A time my husband keeps reminding me is euphemistically referred to as one of ‘life’s miracles’. Yet ask any new mum and if she’s honest, she’ll likely tell you that pregnancy really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. From the nausea and the exhaustion to the swollen feet (heck, swollen everything), sometimes the idea of simply leaving the comfort of your own room is too much to fathom, let alone leaving the region on a jet plane.
Nonetheless, never is a little R&R more necessary than in the later stages of baby building. As such, babymoons are big business these days, with celebrities leading the way – in recent months, arguably the two most anticipated babies in the world clocked up some pre-birth miles, with Kimye’s Paris trip being somewhat overshadowed by Kate and Wills romantic getaway to Mustique.
Escaping to your own Caribbean island may be a lovely idea, but with many women in the UAE continuing to work right up until their due date and saving holidays until the arrival of bubs, not to mention the limitations on flying in the later stages of pregnancy, sometimes a short haul getaway is simply more practical. Thankfully, here in the UAE, we are but a two hour drive from the delights of Oman’s Zighy Bay, a perfect spot for some pre-natal pampering...
Renowned as one of the Middle East’s most romantic resorts, Six Senses Zighy Bay is the ideal choice for couples looking to truly unwind. And while mums-to-be may not be able to take advantage of the hotel’s more adventurous offerings (paragliding into the resort is not really feasible when here’s a bump on board) the stunning setting, private pool, delicious dining and sumptuous spa more than make up for that little limitation. Styled as a traditional Omani village, with private villa accommodation lining sandy, date palm shaded lanes, the resort occupies a spectacular, mountain backed stretch of private, unspoiled beach that feels miles from civilisation but is in fact a short drive from the border town of Dibba.
With a strong focus on health and wellbeing, the vibe is rustic and relaxed – but in a true five star sense. Your private butler may be only a buzz away and happy to whizz you around the site by golf buggy, but guests are also encouraged to meander barefoot or make use of their private bikes to explore the estate, stopping en route to admire beautiful bird and plant life, watch the timid neighbourhood crabs making their way along the beach or laugh at the somewhat dippy resident goats on their ungainly ascent up the resort’s trees.
SLEEP IN SECLUSION
Accommodation at Six Senses Zighy Bay is by private villa, ranging from one bed homes to the four bedroom royal favourite, the Beit Musandam private reserve, each featuring their own pool and garden spaces. We opted for a beachside pool villa – and would highly recommend anyone seeking romance do the same as the setting is nothing short of breathtaking.
For the first time in my pregnancy, waking before 5am every morning became an advantage and a true highlight of our escape was putting on our linen robes and strolling barefoot along the beach at sunrise with only the neighbourhood crustaceans for company. A luxury at any time, having our own private pool also proved a huge boon when it’s safe to say I was at less than my bikini best and, in the heat and humidity of summer, remained the perfect temperature for a cooling dip, whatever time of day.
Inside the villa, the luxury continued, with the stone walls keeping things reliably cool in the relaxing living space complete with huge squashy sofas. The delectable mini bar stuffed with snacks and the super comfortable king size bed made it hard to leave, while beautiful his and hers sinks lined with bamboo mirrors and luxurious organic beauty products, a huge deep bath and both indoor and outdoor showers brought the spa vibe home.
Luxurious bathroom aside, a babymoon wouldn’t be a babymoon without some true mum-to-be pampering, which is where the Six Senses Spa really comes into its own. Cool, fresh and chicly understated, the focus is on the expertise of the staff, who have pregnancy massage down to a fine art.
Private spa suites are luxurious and comfortable, while personalised consultations will ensure you find the ideal treatment for your own specific needs, whether that be the relief of aches and pains, the treatment of skin conditions or mere relaxation. There’s a variety of facial and body treats on offer for both men and women, and refreshingly, many rely on all natural and organic ingredients, making the retreat ideal for expectant mothers.Meanwhile, for those looking for a more hi-tech treatment, the facility also recently launched specialist facials by Margy’s of Monte Carlo, with the collagen packed products promising serious results.
Food at Zighy Bay follows the fresh and healthy ethos carried throughout the resort, with a huge variety of organic options featuring the finest quality meats and fish and ingredients sourced locally and from the onsite garden wherever possible.
Breakfast is served in the Spice Market, with a wide continental selection offered up buffet style while hot options ranging from smoked salmon and eggs to delicious waffles with fruit are cooked to order.
At night, the venue serves up suitably high-end Middle Eastern fare, from seafood to kebabs, with a number of Omani specialities and a weekly BBQ proving particular favourites.
Also in the main body of the resort is international eatery Summer House, an all day dining venue with a standout menu of fresh, light and tasty options. Think crunchy crab and coriander parcels and cod with beluga lentils, or organic lamb served with goat’s cheese and fresh herbs – delicious dishes that make healthy eating for two a true culinary pleasure.
The high quality offerings also extend to the in-villa dining menu, with its roasted tomato soup to delicious pistachio crusted corn fed chicken, perfect for enjoying on your private poolside terrace.
But the undoubted jewel in the catering crown is signature restaurant Sense on the Edge, which serves up stunning degustation menus throughout the cooler months, with a fine dining focus on fresh organic produce and a mountain top setting which defies description. A truly special dining experience.
While Six Senses Zighy Bay’s appeal lies in its feeling of seclusion, it’s actually situated a mere 120km from Dubai. The scenic drive can be completed in just two hours, though a 4x4 will be required for the final few kilometres across the mountain top to the resort itself. Leave your car at the welcome gate and let the staff expertly navigate you to reception, or for the more adventurous, allow the resort to arrange your arrival by paraglider, microlight or even speedboat from a neighbouring port. Impressive!
A stay in one of the resort’s one bedroom villas starts from Dhs2,645, plus local taxes, per couple per night, including breakfast. The resort's ‘Stay Four, Pay Three’ promotion, including a complimentary sunset cruise per couple, runs until September 30.
For information or bookings, visit www.sixsenses.com