The Musandam Peninsula is a 695-square-mile enclave that enables Oman to control the strategic Strait of Hormuz, which separates the Arabian Peninsula from Iran and through which passes about 20 percent of the world’s annual production of petroleum. Cut off from the rest of Oman by approximately 75 miles of the UAE, the Musandam increasingly attracts foreign visitors, who come to see the dramatic and thrillingly inhospitable coastal scenery, scuba dive and observe the large number of dolphins and whales that frequent its pristine waters. (No fewer than 11 dolphin species can be encountered. Sperm whales and humpback whales are also sighted.)
For several years I have recommended Six Senses Zighy Bay, a village-style resort set on a headland between rugged mountains and a broad, sandy beach, two hours by car from Dubai International Airport. (Musandam can also be reached by a 70-minute flight from Muscat to Khasab.) Eighty-two spacious villas are done in rustic-chic décor, each with a private infinity-edge pool. Dining options include a hilltop venue with spectacular views over the Gulf of Oman and the open-air Shua Shack for traditional Arabic cuisine. Six Senses resorts are renowned for the excellence of their spas. Zighy Bay is no exception, and the comprehensive facility comes with nine treatment rooms, hammams and a lavish gym. The numerous therapies include the Sense of Oman program, which employs indigenous plants, herbs and fruits. The resort has a PADI-accredited dive center, and the nearby waters contain several shipwrecks, as well as unblemished coral reefs and abundant marine life.