Where to Escape in the Middle East and Indian Ocean Now

By Sophia Khan

Have you ever returned from a busy holiday abroad, only to find that you needed yet another vacation to recuperate from hours of hectic sightseeing?  These eco-luxe resorts allow for the art of vacationing in its most quintessential form: relaxation, rejuvenation and tranquility.  Each property embraces sustainable and socially responsible initiatives while providing a sumptuous experience in some of the world’s most pristine settings.

Six Senses Oman

Six Senses Zighy Bay, Oman

The Six Senses Zighy Bay is comprised of luxury accommodations built using local stone and wood overlooking nearby mountains and beach. The spa offers a variety of treatments including wellness rituals, facials, and massages, which make use of indigenous ingredients including henna, almond powder, and eucalyptus.  Zighy Bay also gives back to the local community by supporting local schools and charities such as the Dibba Girls School. Nearby activities include rock climbing, paragliding, and snorkeling.


Shanti Maurice, Mauritius

Ocean-facing villas with a private pool, and a world-class spa are just a few reasons to visit this 36-acre resort situated around a coral sand cove on the south coast of Mauritius. The property’s restaurant uses ingredients from local farms, fisherman, and distilleries. Extending a taste of local culture to its guests, Shanti Maurice offers a ‘Grandma’s Kitchen’ where meals are enjoyed at the home of a team member’s grandmother. Nearby activities include kite surfing, sky diving, and big game fishing.

baros maldives

Baros Maldives, Republic of Maldives

Baros Maldives is a leading eco-resort designed to respect and enhance the natural environment on which it is situated, replete with coconut palms and a coral sand beach.  Active in sustaining and educating guests about its renowned coral reef, it includes a Marine Center and hosts the first Eco Dive Center in the Maldives. Guests can choose from a range of private water villas offering breathtaking views of the ocean. A visit here offers the ultimate romantic escape amidst one of the most beautiful seascapes the world over.


 Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa, Republic of Maldives

Committed to environmentally responsible design, the Park Hyatt Maldives Hadahaa is the first resort in the Maldives certified by EarthCheck for its green design initiatives. This includes rainwater harvesting, waste-water reduction through recycling, and thatched roofing. Villas have their own Personal Host, 24 hour in-villa dining, complimentary Wi-Fi access, and laundry services.

The resort offers custom tailored excursions, which can include a private picnic on an uninhabited island, or a culinary excursion with the Executive Chef. Gardens with native flora lead to the spa village, which consists of five private couples treatment villas.

Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa

Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa, United Arab Emirates

Situated in the Arabian Desert, Dubai’s Al Maha Desert Resort and Spa is a certified Eco Luxury Retreat of the World. As part of its ecologically responsible initiatives, the resort is reintroducing indigenous wildlife and flora on the property, and contains a water recycling and purifying plant. Designed to externally resemble a Bedouin encampment, its stunning interiors are adorned with local antiques and artifacts in efforts to preserve the national cultural heritage. Camel safaris and traditional archery are among the desert activities offered.

Thanks to our friends at Emirates Holidays for sharing their favorite beach-inspired luxury holidays in the Middle East and across the Indian Ocean.

Sophia khan 150x150 Reflection: Iran Through the Eyes of an American TouristABOUT THE WRITER

Sophia loves traveling solo, and lived in Italy for a year to pursue architectural studies. She combines her interests in art, architecture, and travel as a Watercolor Artist, painting from both her own travel
photographs and memories, and those of her patrons. Her watercolors and travels also serve as inspiration for her writing pursuits. To see Sophia’s artwork and online diary, visit her website at www.sophiakhanstudio.com.

seven mile miracle oahu
The Culture-ist