THE CHEDI MUSCAT, OMAN
By Gayle Dickson
This has to be one of the most spectacularly romantic properties I’ve had the pleasure of visiting. You’ll be swept into Arabian luxury from the moment your chauffeured limousine pulls up at reception. Once inside, it’s as though you’ve stepped into a Bedouin tent – a very luxurious one, granted.
Lush, sweeping lawns dotted with lines of majestic palms lay sprawled between the low-rise whitewashed buildings that are home to the various restaurants and bars. No matter where you wander on the spacious grounds, water is a key element – babbling fountains regally guard the courtyard ponds, large urns softly spout, and vast swimming pools abound. In fact, the hotel boasts what is considered to be the longest pool in the entire region – and it’s only one of three!
At first glimpse, you might be forgiven for thinking you’re in Bali. White walls, dark stained timber, shutters – there’s a definite similarity of other hotels within the GHM group. Omanic influences are everywhere though, from the artwork that liberally dots itself around in the shape of sculptures and historical pieces to the soaring Islamic arches that are a standout feature.
The accommodation is sublime, with nothing lacking, and everything on hand. Enormous beds are bedecked in ultra fine linens, TV’s and entertainment systems are the latest designs, and the bathrooms are graced with thick white towels and pampering amenities. My Club Suite had a private balcony and a very spacious lounge area, and the ensuite boasted an oversized sunken tub.
Yes, they do host weddings, but to me, this property saluted romantic honeymoons like few I’ve come across before. While there are various restaurants to choose from, most couples were spotted dining privately in a multitude of mini courtyards, poolside under the palms, beachside or even in a quiet corner of the verdant lawns. The nightly torches and candles softly illuminated their faces, failing miserably to hide their obvious love for one another and their pleasure at being in such incredible surroundings.
While there are 158 guestrooms and villas, space and privacy abound. It never once felt crowded. From the doormen and porters to the wait staff and housekeeping, service was exemplary!
This is definitely one for the bucket list, especially with the range of activities and adventures right on your doorstep. Muscat City offers divine shopping and world-class dining, there’s the Gulf of Oman to explore on a range of boats and, if you’re up for a little more adventure, head to the desert and visit Bedouins, make for the mountains and hike to your heart’s content, swim in a wadi, visit a market – the list goes on!