The first time we went to Six Senses Zighy Bay in Oman a few years ago the friendly man at the foot of the mountain asked, “Do you have any experience with mountain driving?” As my husband’s eyes lit up, he confidently nodded his head yes despite the fact that he most definitely did not. The man then handed him a form which my husband signed with barely a glance. As we began our steep ascent up the rocky mountain I asked what it said. It waives them of any responsibility if we drive off the side of the mountain he explained. Terrific.
Not surprisingly, we made it to the gorgeous resort on the other side without incident and were led to a cozy little villa nestled between the mountain and the sea. You could call it a Babymoon, our last holiday as a family of three before our second daughter arrived a couple of months later, or you could call it an Eid holiday. Either way it was the perfect place to create new memories.
My husband and I spent five peaceful days with our twenty month old daughter making footprints in the sand, collecting sea shells, teaching her how to swim, spotting goats, colouring pictures of desert animals and reading endless bedtime stories. It is hard to top a Babymoon in Bali but Zighy Bay managed to compete.
This year, Sri Lanka was near the top of my travel wish list but by the time we started looking at a short holiday for Eid, the thought of a flight with our two curious girls, even a relatively short one, sounded like the opposite of relaxing. Thankfully my husband is pretty brilliant and said, “Why don’t we go back to Zighy Bay? Its only a two hour drive from Dubai, no flight required.” By evening, the hotel was booked.
My packing effort for the trip was much less efficient and despite all of the wonderful “help” from the kids, guess who forgot to bring her bathing suit – to a remote resort on the other side of a mountain where most of the hot summer day will be spent by the pool and the ocean.
Luckily the resort boutique had a selection of bathing suits in case of such oversights. Not so luckily, the only bathing suit in the boutique that fit me turned out to be the worlds most expensive one – a pretty navy blue one with brown chain link straps, imported from Italy and designed for socialites to wear by the water, not in it. I rocked it for five days with the kids and it is now safely folded in my drawer near my jewelry. Some husbands might have had something to say about the situation but mine took it all with a good sense of humour, knowing that the alternative might lead to him packing for everyone next time.
This trip was as lovely as the last one. The kids spent hours each day playing in the pool and when we finally managed to get them both down for an afternoon nap after lunch, the adults enjoyed the scene with a glass (ok, bottle) of wine. The picture above looks peaceful but floating just outside of view are Batman, Wonderwoman, Superman, a pink ball, a net full of colourful fish, two sand buckets full of toys, two pairs of goggles, a bucket of pencil crayons and a bunch of other floaty things without names.
The summer sun is hot in Oman in June so we usually only ventured from the shade to the beach in the late afternoon. The kids ate complimentary ice cream, built sand castles, collected sea shells, hunted for crabs and chased the waves. It was amazing to watch them approach the water more boldly each day until they were swimming in the waves and letting the salty surf crash into them on our last.
Water aside, the rest of the resort was pretty fantastic too. The buffet breakfast was delicious and a fun outing for the kids each morning. They also enjoyed the kids club and we usually stopped by on our way home from breakfast so they could do yoga or work on an art project. Between the kids and the heat we didn’t get too adventurous but there was still plenty to do. We watched other guests paraglide through the sky, my daughter rode a bike, I did a pilates class, my husband watched the US Open and we fed the goats that are lucky enough to call Zighy Bay home. My youngest loves animals and, full of nervous giggles, she bravely approached the goats until all the food was gone. My oldest gave it her best effort but in the end, preferred to throw the leaves at the goats and run away whenever one looked at her.
In the evenings, after a long day in the water, we rinsed away the salt and sand in the outdoor shower, ordered room service (because it was easier than taking tired kids to one of the restaurants) and let the kids stay up late to watch the animal channel together. That is one of my daughter’s favourite memories and she has already started asking if we can stay up late to watch the animals again.
Overall, it was the perfect, lazy family holiday that we needed. I was sad to see it come to an end but happy for the wonderful new memories in Oman. My husband steered our car back towards the narrow mountain road and within five minutes of leaving the resort, both kids had fallen asleep, their soft Zighy goats (one almost three years old and one brand new) clutched tightly in their arms.