One of Muscat’s newest hotels, the uber-cool W Hotels made their Oman debut last year with the sleek W Muscat on the beachfront of Shatti Al Qurum. A playful base from which to discover Oman’s natural beauty and rich culture, days can be enjoyed snorkelling in the azure waters, strolling through the traditional Muttrah Souq, or just soaking up the sun poolside at the 1,800 square metre swimming pool. To fuel up, guests have a choice of an impressive array of five restaurants and bars, including the split level CHAR, an indoor/outdoor restaurant offering an internatinoal array of dishes with a prime focus on steaks and the Oman outpost of the sleek Siddharta Lounge by Buddha Bar, operating here as a sophisticated lounge, rooftop and pool.
Doubles from AED 677, 00968 22 120000, marriott.com
The Chedi, Muscat
On 21 garden acres along the beach at the quiet northern edge of the city, The Chedi Muscat is a modern take on Omani style in minimalistic, white low-rise buildings; lots of water features, crisp landscaping and a chic, tent-style lobby. The 158 guest rooms and suites are spacious with rich wood accents, large windows and high ceilings for an airy feel; amenities include a Bose music system, a Nespresso machine and Acqua di Parma toiletries. Six outlets offer a global culinary tour from the Mediterranean to Southeast Asia. The simply named Restaurant is an elegant fine-dining space serving international cuisine, with seafood a highlight
For indulgent rejuvenation, the 1,500sqm spa includes therapies from Bali, India and Oman. From here, you can go island-hopping on a traditional dhow and have an opportunity to interact with dolphins, snorkel in the turquoise Gulf of Oman and watch a phenomenal sunset across the horizon. That is, if you manage to leave the resort.
Doubles from AED 1,068, 00968-24-52 4400, ghmhotels.com
Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Set in lush gardens and nestled between the Al Hajar Mountains and the Sea of Oman, the 250-room Al Bustan Palace reflects authentic Omani culture and hospitality. The hotel’s 1km private beach is the country’s longest and five outdoor pools include a 50m-long infinity pool. The Ritz Kids programme educates and entertains with face painting, beach- themed crafts and tie-dye painting. The fun continues in the guest rooms, where little ones can have their own pirate or princess themed tent, which comes with personalised activity books, decorations, toys and balloons.
Doubles from AED 772, 00968 24 799666, ritzcarlton.com
Kempinski Hotel Muscat
The striking design of Kempinski Hotel Muscat, found in the modish Al Mouj community just 10 minutes from the airport, stands out with a façade drawn from old Muscat’s landscape, a lobby of lily pad-like soaring white columns and a ballroom finding inspiration in Arabian lanterns. The Arabian-meets-contemporary style continues to the 310 guest rooms and suites, all finished in a palette of warm colours, which lends a cosy, comforting effect. An impressive ten venues – including a bowling centre with a menu of fun, light fare – promise plenty of choice; find modern Northern Indian at Bukhara and Thai street food at Soi Soi. A bonus for those looking to explore the Omani capital: its location in Al Mouj has an air of exclusivity plus lots of attractions to keep guests busy within easy reach.
Doubles from AED 572, 00968-24-98 5000, kempinski.com/muscat
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
Perched on a small cliff facing a picturesque bay, the height of this resort sets it apart from its neighbours. With a soft-pink façade, the hotel design is inspired by Moorish architecture and Omani forts, including an open central courtyard with a waterbody and palm trees. All 180 rooms and suites are done in dark wood and earth tones, all with sea views and balconies; marble bathrooms are stocked with L’Occitane amenities and sliding wooden screens offer views from the bathtub. An added bonus for foodies, the resort boasts no less than 15 restaurants and bars offering global cuisines that range from authentic Italian at Capri Court to Middle Eastern fusion flavours at Al Tanoor. There’s a great mix of family-friendly and adults-only areas, with 6 swimming pools, a variety of watersports and a lazy river attraction catering to every age of traveller.
Doubles from AED 525, 00968-2477 6388, shangri-la.com
Muscat Hills Resort
On the peaceful Al Jissah bay, just outside the city but still close to popular attractions such as Muttrah Souq is the laid-back Muscat Hills resort, the best hotel in Oman for a digital detox and serious switch-off. Its natural style feels more like a beach village than an Arabian qasr; with lots of barasti palm fronds, stone walls and earthy tones. Guests can expect to check-in to one of 35 barasti Beach Huts mere steps from the water; the pared-down, outdoorsy style includes beds with mosquito nets and an open-air shower. A beachside restaurant serves Mediterranean and Middle Eastern fare made from fresh, locally sourced ingredients, while guests can enjoy sundowners at the stylish beach club. For divers – both new and experienced – there’s a PADI dive centre offering courses of all levels, and no less than 22 dive sites are between five and 35 minutes away by boat.
Doubles from AED 477, 00968-24-85 3000, muscathillsresort.com
Wadi Al Abiyad
Dunes by Al Nahda
A little over an hour’s drive from the Muscat airport, atop one of the tallest dunes in Wadi Al Abiyad is Dunes by Al Nahda, offering an authentic desert resort experience. Within the sand-coloured tents are rich colours and textiles; the simple Arabian-desert style around the grounds lets the dramatic setting take centre stage. tents are roomy, starting at 38sqm; it’s glamping with all the creature comforts, including air-conditioning, full bathrooms, wooden wardrobes, sofas and flat-screen TVs. Dine amid the dunes at al fresco Fleur, which serves international cuisine with local ingredients and sip on a sundowner at Dune Bar while watching the sky turn vibrant shades. This is a seasonal resort and is only open during the cooler months.
Doubles from AED 945, 00968-9723 5700, dunesbyalnahda.com
Al Hajar Mountains
Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort
Set 2,000m above sea level on the rim of a canyon in the Saiq Plateau – making it the highest five-star resort in the Middle East – Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar’s location lends itself to adventures. From mountain biking and visits to local villages to watching the night sky from the resort’s stargazing platform, donkey rides and a cinema under the stars – this is a five-star resort for all the family. .
Doubles from AED 1,193, 00968 25 21 8000, jabal-akhdar.anantara.com
Alila Jabal Akhdar
Located 2,000 metres above sea level in the Hajar Mountains, Alila Jabal Akhdar is a haven for adventure travellers, nature lovers and thanks to its soaring height, among the best hotel in Oman for escaping the summer temperatures. At the resort, Alila Jabal Akhdar puts a strong focus on wellness, so interlace spells of reclining by the pool with sunrise yoga, spa treatments and stargazing. Outside of the resort, guests can go on epic treks, canyon walks and cave explorations.
Doubles from AED 868, 00968 25 34 4200, alilahotels.com/jabalakhda
Six Senses Zighy Bay
In Oman’s northern Musandam Peninsula is where you’ll find the Middle East’s only Six Senses resort, nestled in Zighy Bay. Located in a secluded inlet, flanking a private beach, the facilities make this one of the best resorts in Oman, with an award- winning spa, varied culinary offerings, and luxury private villas complete with dedicated guest experience managers and private infinity pools. While barefoot luxury experiences include couples’ treatments at the luxury spa or a starlight dining experience at Sense on the Edge, almost 300m above seawater on the mountain edge, high-octane adventure is also on the menu at the resort. Guests can start their day by paragliding 960ft into the resort, take to the Hajar mountains on a romantic hike, then explore the azure waters in the bay with an afternoon of snorkelling or scuba diving.
Doubles from AED 3,326, 00968 2673 5555, sixsenses.com
Al Baleed Salalah Resort by Anantara
A picturesque resort in Salalah, set between the sea and a freshwater lagoon on Dhofar’s south coast, this beachfront oasis is an example of architecture and décor inspired by the area’s coastal fortresses. In addition to the premier and deluxe rooms, there are 96 villas, including 88 private pool villas perfect for romantic or family stays with a little more privacy, and the resort also includes a spa, private beach and excellent restaurants. Younger guests will love the kids’ and teens’ clubs, children’s pool and gaming room, and the whole family can enjoy the infinity pool, private beach, water sports and tennis, volleyball and beach football facilities.
Doubles from AED 1002, 00968 2322 8222, anantara.com
Opening 2021: Alila Hinu Bay
The long-awaited Alila Hinu Bay is set to open in 2020 and will feature an incredible spectrum of marine life and nature reserves on an untouched coastline. The sophisticated beachfront resort will be comprised of 112 retreats and villas, each thoughtfully designed with unparalleled quality and comfort, built for artisanal living. From Alila Hinu Bay, visitors will be able to explore nearby attractions including the lush Wadi Darbat waterfalls and valleys, historic Mirbat Castle and Sumhuram Archaeological Park.
Opening 2021: Jumeirah Muscat Bay
The first Jumeirah hotel in Oman is slated to open Muscat by the end of the year. Nestled in the secluded Bandar Jissah cove, Jumeirah Muscat Bay will pose ergonomic designs which allow for the exterior and interior spaces to flow seamlessly together. In addition to 206 spacious suites and rooms, the hotel includes a state-of-the-art Talise spa along with top bars and restaurants for memorable dining experiences and sunset drinks. The hotel’s rooftop signature restaurant and lounge also offers incredible views over the Oman Gulf and Al Hajar Mountains.