Continuing our series of top 5 best beaches and luxury hotels around the world, in this article I pick the top 5 best beach hotels & resorts in Oman.
The best time to visit Oman is between November and the end of March. Nothing feels better than fleeing the British winter and finding yourself amid the delicious hot sands of the Omani desert, with starry skies above you, and crystal clear waters lapping at your toes.
1. Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara
Famed for the riches of its frankincense groves, coconut-fringed beaches and a profusion of tropical greenery during the summer monsoon season, Salalah, on the south coast of Dhofar, offers travellers an emerging destination of breathtaking natural beauty. Situated between a long, scenic beach and freshwater lagoon, Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara Hotels Resorts & Spas (pictured above) is a luxury resort with a contemporary Middle Eastern ambience framed by lush tropical gardens, 750 palm trees and of course, a glorious beach.
The resort’s 40 Premier and Deluxe Rooms come with balconies or terraces that overlook either the Arabian Sea, the lagoon or the garden. 8 one-bedroom Villas and 88 one and two-bedroom Pool Villas offer separate living areas, with Pool Villas benefiting from private temperature-controlled swimming pools. The exclusive three-bedroom Royal Beach Pool Villa is the epitome of luxury, boasting commanding views of the sandy bay and idyllic lagoon.
There are three main restaurants serving local Middle Eastern cuisine as well as international dishes and a short walk away is the awe inspiring UNESCO World Heritage Site, Al Baleed Archaeological Park.
Slip out of your beachfront villa, surrounded by towering palms, into the languid ocean. Al Baleed Resort Salalah is a serene retreat under the Oman sun.
2. Six Senses Zinghy Bay
Just a couple of hours’ drive from Dubai, this isolated but oh-so-peaceful eco-luxe hotel feels like a rustic, ancient Omani village with a touch of the Flintstones. Sandy paths lead between stylish daybeds and palms to villas with private pools, outdoor showers and butlers who will buggy you around the resort.
There’s a playground, tennis courts and an excellent children’s club (free for four-year-olds and above) which will introduce them to crab-hunting, marine biology and movies on the beach, with popcorn and more than 40 different flavours of ice cream.
For couples the Sense on the Edge restaurant, hidden up in the mountains, offers exquisite food and expansive views. For health junkies, hike or bike in the mountains, yoga on the rooftop or choose from a number of hardcore health bootcamps. In the spa, treatments are decadent but results-driven and holistic.
Six Senses Zinghy Bay is a world away from the Disney-esque vibe of Dubai. Relax in front of the dramatic sandstone Al Hajar mountains with the waters of the Gulf of Oman gently lapping at your toes in splendid isolation.
3. The Chedi, Muscat
The Chedi Muscat, part of Leading Hotels of the World, is a stylish retreat meticulously designed to be part Philippe Starck, part Lawrence of Arabia, with still reflecting pools and perfectly positioned palm trees. Even the grains of sand here seem to be aligned in perfect formation.
‘Club Suites’ are spacious, white-painted bungalows or villas, spread among the palms and fountains. All have black marble sunken baths, Bose hi-fi system, satellite TV and fresh plates of fruit and Arabic pastries daily. The laundry service is complimentary and so is the minibar. Enjoy a delicious room-service breakfast any time till noon.
There is a family pool, the Serai pool and the adults-only Chedi pool, an infinity-edged number adjoining the beach where cocktails at sunset are de rigueur. The treatments at the Balinese spa are excellent. The food is also excellent; The Restaurant has won numerous international awards for food and design.
Take a boat trip to watch dolpins, play a round of golf of simply lie on one of the perfectly arranged loungers sitting perpendicular to the waters of the white sand beach while the palms and trees rustle behind you.
4. Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort And Spa, Muscat
Oman’s largest new hotel encompasses three hotels set around one uninhabited bay. All 680 rooms have sea views and private balconies or terraces; there are pools, restaurants (including the Middle Eastern-themed Al Tanoor, a South American restaurant Samba and ship-themed restaurant Sultanah), watersports, bars, a nightclub, a promenade area and designer shops. This is very much a bustling resort town created around a single hotel brand.
Al Waha, the least expensive of the three, is aimed at families and offers interconnecting rooms and a free Little Turtles club for 3 to 12-year-olds. Al Husn is the six-star option, with a helipad, a private beach and a private pool. This hotel is inaccessible from the other hotels.
Activities include a spa, scuba diving, snorkelling, dolphin and whale watching trips, and a strolling around the marina.
5. The Grand Hyatt Muscat
The Grand Hyatt Muscat is a business hotel at the heart of the diplomatic centre of Oman, but that shouldn’t put the leisure traveller off. For those with families in tow, we would recommend staying in the Shangri-La above, as there are many more activities on offer to amuse children. However, for the more sophisticated traveller, the Grand Hyatt has a great gym, nice swimming pool and private beach, so there are enough leisure facilities available. Rooms are a decent size, but in need of a refurb – however, they are clean so they are still pleasant to relax in.
If you prefer to be over the water take a look at my top 5 best overwater villas in the Caribbean, my top 5 best romantic honeymoon hotels in the Maldives with private pools and my top 5 best luxury hotels and resorts in the Maldives.