As luxury travel enthusiasts, we pick only the hotels that will live up to our high standards. Grand Hyatt is known for its well-earned solid reputation, thus making it our hotel of choice in Muscat.Read More
Oman is abundant with wonders of nature from breathtaking mountain ranges, attractive sand dunes, lush oasis and pristine beaches that present travellers with extraordinary experiences.
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa is a complement to this dreamy country. Beautifully set on 124 acres of spectacular scenery and lies alongside the Bay of Barr Al Jissah amidst the dramatic Al Hajar Mountains fronting the Gulf of Oman, the property is composed of three beautiful hotels - the exclusive Al Husn (The Castle), the active health zone Al Bandar (The Town) and the family-oriented Al Waha (The Oasis).
An hour and a half flight from Bahrain via Gulf Air took us to the enchanting sultanate strategically located at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. After clearing airport immigration and customs procedures, we were welcomed by our chauffeur, Mohammad Sulaiman, in the arrival area. He courteously escorted us to our vehicle - an Audi A8, and drove us to our hotel which is 30 minutes away from the airport.
Al Husn - Lobby
Walking into the lobby of Al Husn Hotel is like entering a castle. With the evidence of the Portuguese influence in Oman shown in the hotel's unique blend of Moorish architecture in the style of the Alhambra, both the interior and exterior of the hotel look very impressive, so elegant and beautiful. As soon as we stepped in, we know our stay is going to be great.
Check-in was done in the comfort of our own Deluxe Sea View Room. Thanks to the sweet and lovely front desk staff, Elizabeth, for the brilliant service.
Great job too to the bellman who was smiling all the time and was extremely helpful with delivering our luggage to our room.
To welcome us, the team put together a thoughtful welcome present, a fruit platter, and a lovely personal note from one of the hotel's managers.
Al Husn - Deluxe Sea View Room
Our bedroom has a fascinating style and charming comfort. It has plush bed with soft pillows and blanket for peaceful rest, cushy sofas for lounging away the day in relaxation and an ideal work desk that allows us to manage our business and still be productive during our stay. Moreover, the room also features HDTV, BOSE speaker III system, telephone, bedside clock, classic wooden hanger, electric kettle and Nespresso machine. It's also worth noting that as guests of Al Husn, we were entitled to butler service, complimentary in-room mini bar (sweets, snacks, soft drinks and beers) and complimentary use of iPods with personalized music selection. Among the additional privileges that we were able to enjoy during our stay at Al Husn were complimentary daily afternoon tea, pre-dinner cocktails and canapes service and an access to the services and facilities of the entire three-hotel resort.
What I love about our room is the view from our balcony which made me want to lounge there for hours and just enjoy its beauty.
Mahhara Beach Bar
With twenty-one amazing dining facilities at the resort, the food options are limitless.
On our first day, we had lunch at Mahhara Beach Bar, an al fresco restaurant overlooking Al Husn private beach. First, we ordered green smoothies. And then, we got mixed salad and chips. For mains, Rock Licker had medium rare steak with grilled corn and tomato, and I had grilled prawns. After that, we capped off our great meal with incredibly delicious mango cheesecake and pineapple ice cream.
After our scrumptious lunch, the manager graciously took us to a personalized tour around the hotel showing all the facilities and amenities that we can enjoy during our stay. With numerous activities to choose from, there really is something for everybody.
Once finished with our property tour, we went back to our room to get some rest and found these Arabic cakes on our coffee table.
The Piano Lounge
After our quick nap, we headed over to The Piano Lounge to enjoy our pre-dinner drink. The stylish lounge is a great place to start or end an evening. With a terrace overlooking the Sea of Oman and a comfortable indoor seating, it's a cozy place to meet, eat and drink while enjoying the relaxing piano music.
Bait Al Bahr
Bait Al Bahr is a pavillion restaurant located right on the beach between Al Waha and Al Bandar. The vibe is perfect for dinner with friends and family as well as romantic dinner. It is also an ideal venue to savour the view of the ocean whilst enjoying a wide range of fresh seafoods that comes from the neighboring Qantab fishing village.
During dinner, we decided to sample some of their delicious food. To start, we were served an amuse bouche in the form of seared scallop with bean sprouts and green pea puree. Following this, we got tuna with green apple tartar, macadamia crusted soft shell crab and prawn tempura for appetizer. After that, we had grilled tuna with potato rosti and grilled Omani lobster with saffron risotto for our mains. And finally for dessert, we shared vanilla parfait with lemon sorbet.
Turn Down Service
As expected, when we got back to our room, they were done with the usual turn down service and I was happy how everything was perfectly cleaned up.
The next morning we woke up past 9:00 am. Fortunately, breakfast at Sultanah was until 11:00 am so we were still able to enjoy our late breakfast (early lunch) without having to rush.
The buffet spread at Sultanah had adequate variety, with nicely cooked food available on request. We ordered Japanese bento box, poached red snapper, beef tenderloin and sirloin.
Al Husn - Private Beach
After brunch, we requested for a golf buggy going to the private beach. The weather was perfect so we spent much of the day having fun under sun. We went kayaking, swimming and sunbathing.
Did you know that facial spray, water and orange juice are complimentary for Al Husn guests?
This is Ravinder, the beach staff who tirelessly supplied us with beach essentials whenever we need them.
Al Husn - Swimming Pool
For someone who loves to swim for hours, this pool was like a little piece of paradise overlooking the ocean.
Al Bandar - Beach
Because everyone deserves to soak up the sun, there are countless lounge chairs on Al Bandar Beach.
Al Bandar - Giant Chess Board
For chess lovers, there's a giant chess board located on Al Bandar.
Al Bandar - Mini Golf Course
Adjacent to Al Bandar's Health Club is a landscaped miniature golf course with nine holes where families can play using a special putter with rubber heads.
Al Bandar - Tennis Court
There's also a tennis court to help guests stay active while on vacation.
Al Waha - Camel Ride
Al Waha offers camel and pony ride along the beach. Both animals were young and trained to be ridden by children, making this experience the best choice for families vacationing here.
Al Waha Beach
Al Waha beach offers a perfect place for family fun with lots of kids-friendly and parents-pleasing activities as well as breathtaking views in all directions. During the day, beach staff are busy handing clean towels, bottled mineral water and fresh fruit slices. From time to time, they also offer sunglasses cleaning to guests.
The 500-metre lazy river enables guests an unusual method to travel between Al Bandar and Al Waha by floating between the two hotels' main swimming pools on a controlled current.
Al Waha - Swimming Pool
In addition to the hotel's main swimming pool, there is a toddler's pool with a rubber-cushioned floor and a separate pool shaped like a water mushroom for older children.
Al Husn - Afternoon Tea
After enjoying the facilites in Al Waha we went back to Al Husn. One of the many things that I really liked about being Al Husn guest is the complimentary English-style afternoon tea which is served on Sultanah's terrace. It consists of selection of teas and drinks, various sandwiches and savouries, scones with cream and jam, and small bite size delicious cakes all nicely presented on a three-tier cake stand.
Al Husn - Pre-Dinner Cocktails
Another nice touch was the pre-dinner cocktails at Al Husn Courtyard. Its great set up provides a comfortable area for guests to enjoy and relax and encourages meeting and mingling.
Al Husn - Courtyard at Night
Al Husn - Pool at Night
This semi-circular infinity pool which is overlooking the ocean oozes tranquility. It is a secluded spot away from the family area. It is surrounded with comfy loungers and features a whirlpool for ultimate relaxation.
Al Bandar - Pool at Night
This large, unconventionally shaped swimming pool is Al Bandar's distinctive feature. Its unique fixed tiled sunbeds are half-immersed to allow guests to lie down and relax within the pool.
This is the hotel's coffee butler who greets us every morning whenever he sees us in the lobby. His job is to make the guests experience the traditIonal Omani hospitality. To do this, he fills the lobby with fragrance of frankincense and cardamom, and serves the guests with towels, kahwa coffee and local dates.
The marina is one of the attractions at the resort. Designed to complement the fully integrated resort and residential villas. It aims to provide enhanced boating experience for its members and reflect their luxury lifestyle too.
Cliff Top Villas
The Cliff Top Villas are the most sought after residence in Muscat. From the exclusive vantage point on the tip of the cliff, residents here enjoy an uninterrupted view of the ocean and the coastline.
Al Muheet is Al Husn's Poolside Bar. It serves tropical drinks, creative cocktails and light meals. This is where we had our snack before checking out on our 3rd day. We ordered raspberry smoothie, mango shake, tiger prawn tempura and angus beef burger. Everything was delightful. We had a happy tummy after our meal.
To complete our luxurious experience, we rode a chauffeur driven Bentley going to our next destination.
Staying at the world-renowned Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa was glorious. With outstanding natural location, highest level of service and facilities beyond compare, the extremely amazing and personable experience that Shangri-La gave us left us inspired to return soon.
We first stumbled upon Alila Jabal Akhdar whilst googling for the best hotel in Oman. Interestingly, it ranked #1 on TripAdvisor, was given a 5-Star rating by fivestaralliance.com and has made it to CNT World's Best Hotel Gold List 2015 and 2016. It got us so curious, we decided to give it a try and we're very glad that we did!
The hotel sits atop the Jabal Akhdar (The Green Mountain) which is part of the Al Hajar mountain range in Ad Dakhiliyah Governorate of Oman, the highest point in Oman and the whole of eastern Arabia. Previously restricted to all, until 2005 when it was finally opened to the general public, Jabal Akhdar is an extremely intriguing and culturally enticing region.
The hotel represents the very essence of Oman. Upon arrival, we were welcomed in traditional style with cold towels, khawa coffee and local dates, and with the beautiful aroma of burning frankincense and cardamom that filled the lobby. With all these, Rock Licker and I knew right away that we're off to a good start.
Horizon View Suite
Alila Jabal Akhdar has a total of 86 suites and villas. We spent 5 days and 4 nights in one of the Horizon View Suites which features a private entrance, outdoor terrace with spacious seating area and majestic views of the mountains, gorges, plateaus and valleys. Inside the suite, the bedroom and the bathroom are impressively adorned with dark solid wood furnishings, hand-painted Juniper leaves accent walls and local ornaments.
Alila Jabal Akhdar is committed to remaining green as possible. To preserve the environment, Alila uses only their own line of toiletries which are made with all natural ingredients that are produced, harvested and sourced ethically and locally.
Traditional Omani Village
To honor the traditional Omani dwellings, the hotel used local woods and excavated stark grey limestone and ophiolite from the mountains to build the place and tastefully adorned it with local arts and crafts thus blending it naturally into its beautiful surrounding.
Because Alila Jabal Akhdar is an amazing property well worth exploring, the hotel provides buggy service for a fun and convenient way to get around the hotel.
Rose Lounge is one of the two signature restaurants in Alila Jabal Akhdar. It features refreshment drinks and light snack menu that are available throughout the day. With peaceful setting and stunning view, it is a perfect spot to chill out and take in the beauty of Jabal Akhdar.
This restaurant got its name from one of the most treasured plants on the Omani mountains - the juniper tree. It serves as the hotel's main restaurant offering outstanding international cuisine from breakfast, lunch and dinner. What I really love about the culinary team in Juniper is their continuous effort to incorporate seasonal and locally grown ingredients to their menu resulting in a sophisticated gastronomical masterpiece. Design-wise, with metal lattice rose patterns, handmade pottery, local stoneworks and branches of dried juniper trees hanging on the walls, the restaurant's interior combines beauty and practicality, and exudes peace and tranquility. These, without a doubt, make this restaurant a delightful place to dine and unwind.
Alila Jabal Akhdar's lobby has an earthy tone and it's interior is tastefully decorated with high quality products and traditional arts and crafts, creating a warm and inviting ambiance.
At night, it features live traditional music to enhance guests' experience.
Rose Lounge at Night
Cozy and Relaxing Night
This pretty much summed up my nights at Alila - beautiful bed with soft sheets and pillows, relaxing bubble bath on natural travertine limestone tub, large basket of assorted fresh fruits, sweet treats and newly harvested walnuts. What a joy!
For a completely authentic experience, Alila Jabal Akhdar offers guests day trips to places of interest in the nearby area. We booked a bespoke trip called Splendour of Saiq to explore the charm and beauty of the region. Accompanied by our friendly and knowledgeable guide, we travelled to the Saiq Plateau and visited the agricultural village of Al Ayn and the abandoned village of Wadi Bani Habib.
Alila Living Boutique
Alila Living Boutique is one of my favourite parts of the hotel. Every item here are selected from local craftsmen and respected producers to reflect the Omani culture and heritage.
To get a real feeling of what Alila Jabal Akhdar is all about, an ultimate pampering treatment at Spa Alila is simply a must. During our stay, we were able to indulge in a luxurious couple's massage which includes the use of wet facilities, an amazing foot bath and a 90-minute therapeutic massage. It was truly as divine as we expected. We felt so relaxed after our massage.
Unwinding in a blissful state of comfort, enjoying a good cup of tea or gobbling up delicious food. That's our typical day in our Horizon View Suite. With terrace that looks out on the spectacular panorama of the Al Hajar mountains and the unspoiled beauty of the natural surroundings, everything here was beyond perfection.
Wellness and Fitness
Alila Jabal Akhdar revolves around the concept of health and wellness. The hotel pride itself on having all the elements essential to restore balance to mind, body and soul. With impressive facilities dedicated to these, its an idyllic haven for relaxation and recuperation.
A Little Piece of Heaven
It has been a wonderful 5 days and 4 nights of communing with nature and appreciating the beauty of life. Thank you Alila Jabal Akhdar for sharing with us your little piece of heaven!
Alila Jabal Akhdar is a luxury five-star hotel that revolves around the concept of health and wellness. The hotel pride itself on having all the elements essential to restore balance to mind, body and soul.
To get a real feeling of what Alila Jabal Akhdar is all about, an ultimate pampering treatment at Spa Alila is simply a must.
During our 5 days and 4 nights stay at the hotel, we were able to indulge in a luxurious couple's massage which includes the use of wet facilities, an amazing foot bath and a 90-minute therapeutic massage.
We booked our appointment during our 2nd day at the hotel and had our massage treatment on our 4th day.
Upon entering the spa, the spa receptionist greeted us with notable friendliness and helpfulness. She immediately ushered us into the intimate waiting room with a warm cup of herbal tea in hand. Soon, our masseuses came to us. They introduced themselves and asked us to choose an essential oil that we wanted to use for our massage. They also inquired about our preferred massage pressure, which body parts we wanted to focus on and medical issues if there's any.
After that, we were led to the changing room and shown the wet facilities. We were given 40 minutes to enjoy the sauna and the indoor spa.
Once finished, our masseuses escorted us to the treatment room where we started off with an amazing foot bath followed by a therapeutic body massage.
By the end of our session, we were in entirely calm state of mind, and were encouraged to make use of the spa’s relaxation room before changing into our clothes.
Overall, it was a great experience.
Spa Alila is a must visit place to experience massage treatments in an inviting, relaxing, spoiling experience well-above one’s typical spa experience. You should try it!