Images taken and owned by Mademoiselle Meme
Published January 24, 2017. Updated: April 8, 2017
In just an hour plane ride from Dubai, you reach one of the hidden gems of the Arabian Gulf: Muscat, Oman. Muscat has been on our “Must-Visit” list (along with Salalah) because of the famed tropical waters and snow-white stacked houses built into the mountainous landscape of the country’s capital we’ve heard so much about. We took a quick break from Dubai, escaping the fast-paced citylife, for a two-day retreat to the laid back scene of Muscat.
WHERE TO STAY
We arrived before noon and drove about 40 minutes from the airport to the Al-Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton hotel. Overlooking the Sea of Oman and built into the Hajar Mountains, the palace is isolated from the city and main attractions. The hotel formerly belonged to the Sultan who used the palace for the GCC conferences, explaining the befitting grandeur of the architecture and royal sense of privacy. The palace is still the host to most of the royal weddings in the country and the Sultan reserves access to a private floor in the hotel for his guests that not even the Ritz-Carlton staff are allowed to enter.
If you are looking for a place to stay in Muscat, this palace is the ultimate all-inclusive resort. It has 1 km of private beachfront where it is normal to spot exotic wildlife like parrots, turtles, dolphins and sea urchins. The resort has in-house rentals for all water sports along with a level inside the hotel lined with shopping boutiques. The biggest selling point is the Six Senses Spa. If you are looking to elevate your usual spa experience, check out the private women’s beach. Lounge chairs and cocktails are available right on the sand for spa guests to enjoy while they sunbathe and snorkel. The spa also includes a UV-ray sauna room, indoor heated pool, and a chauffeur to take you to and from the spa.
During our visit, we were given a private tour of the Presidential and Executive suites, along with the theatre, the first venue to host cultural events in Muscat before the opening of the new Royal Opera House. Ask the concierge about doing a group tour before the hotel starts its remodel, which is planned to commence this year.
- The Chedi
- Al Bustan Palace
- Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah
WHAT TO DO
Besides paying a visit to the Six Senses Spa, take a trip to the city and check out some of the local attractions listed below. Oman is famous for its frankincense + myrrh, and royal silver daggers worn by men, all of which is sold at the souk.
- The National Museum
- The Royal Opera House
- The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque
- Muttrah Souk
- Forts: Nizwa Fort, Bahla Fort, Rustaq Fort, Nakhal Fort, Hazam Castle, Gibreen Castle