The world’s largest hand-knotted carpet, a mountaintop restaurant and a souvenir one-kilogram box of dates were just a few of the highlights for TravelManagers’ Anne Maree Selmo on her CT Partners exclusive famil of Six Senses Gulf State Resorts.
A photo opportunity with local guide at Muscat’s Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
Selmo, representative for Edithvale in Victoria, spent ten days discovering some of the highlights of Abu Dhabi and Oman, including Muscat and Zighy Bay. In total, nine consultants took part in an exclusive CT Partners famil, which was Selmo’s first visit to the Middle East.
“The sheer opulence on display in the beautiful mosques we visited was something I’ve never experienced before. At the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi, we saw one of the world’s largest chandeliers, made with Swarovski crystals and weighing around 12 tonnes!”
At the Grand Mosque in Muscat, Selmo was thrilled to discover that she was not the most prestigious guest visiting that particular day.
“We had the unexpected pleasure of bumping into Prince Harry at the Mosque, which was a highlight for the females in our group as he walked past us.”
Enjoying a cooling dip in one of the pools that come with each of Six Senses beautiful indigenous village style villas
Selmo says she found it very useful to experience these Arab states first hand, as it gave her a better appreciation of the cultural protocols to be followed when visiting holy sites.
“It’s essential that females wear long pants (but not skinny jeans), long sleeves (but can’t be sheer material) and a scarf that covers the head – if you get this wrong you will be denied entry,” she explains. “Being able to give my clients really detailed advice about this sort of this ensures that they won’t be disappointed when they get there.”
For Selmo, the famil was also a great opportunity to discover new stopover options for her clients en route to European destinations.
“Six Senses Zighy Bay is a great option for a stopover as it’s only a two-hour drive from Dubai or just over three hours from Abu Dhabi. The last five kilometers by road is an impressive zig-zag drive over the spectacular Musandam Mountains… or you could elect to do a tandem paraglide into the resort. And once you’re there, you just have to have a dip in the warm Arabian Sea.”
TravelManagers’ Executive General Manager, Michael Gazal, says the exclusive famil was yet another example of the company working with CT Partners and key industry partners to provide high-quality ongoing product knowledge to PTMs.
A relaxing moment amongst Zighy Bay’s natural wonders
“We are very fortunate to have the support of suppliers like Six Senses and Etihad. They make it possible for us to provide really amazing famils to our PTMs, but they also ensure that our PTMs will come home with a really clear understanding of what a destination has to offer.”
Selmo came home from her trip laden not with the almost-obligatory carpet but with what she describes as a shopping “must” when visiting the Middle East.
“I brought home a one-kilogramme box of dates but they’re so delicious that I don’t think they’ll last long. Being able to pass on to my clients what I’ve learned about shopping, dining and playing in these countries is a huge advantage. Even if it’s something as insignificant as where to buy good dates, it’s adding value to my clients and enhancing their holiday experience. And that’s good business for me.”
For more information or to speak to someone confidentially about TravelManagers please contact Suzanne Laister on 1800 019 599.