Muscat

Muscat Cornich

Hello everyone, 

I find the best way to fight the winter blues is to look at previous holiday pictures, especially pictures with beach and sun. This post is a continuation of the Muscat Travel Series. As I mentioned in the Ten things to do in Muscat post, visiting the beach is on top the list. There are public ones all around. If you just enjoy looking at the beach, the old forts and the ships, then going to the sea front/corniche is a good option for you. This location was very convenient because it was just in front of the old souq, Mutrah Souq.    


Muscat Travel Series: Shangri La Resort

Good evening! 

I am loving this Muscat travel series. In the Ten Things to do in Muscat, I recommended the two beautiful resorts I stayed at. The Ritz, Al Bustan Palace and the Shangri La, Barr Al Jissah. This post is about Shangri La. Take a look at the photos and the comments below for a pure taste of luxury. 

Outside: 

This hotel looked drastically different during the day compared to the night. In the day time, it looked so fresh and pretty and in the night time, it looked so glamours and mysterious. 

Lobby:

The inside of the resort was as grand as the outside. You are welcomed by arches on the walls and golden details on the ceiling. I liked the lighting that created a border around the arches. You can see it clearly in the darker picture. They also had complementary tea, Arabic coffee and dates. They made a good use of the natural lighting with big open windows. The light colours in the space acted like a reflective surface, which helped with spreading the light around.   

 The Room:

The room was pretty and comfortable with an awesome bathtub and a great shower. The design was simple, but not plain. They had some little details that add a personal touch to the room.  

 Breakfast Buffet:

The breakfast buffet won me over! I think I stayed there for about two hours, eating, taking a break and eating some more. It was really heavenly with so many choices starting from fresh fruit, pastries, a whole Arabian section, sushi and deserts. It was just too beautiful. If you love someone, take them there for breakfast! The hotel and the beach were great, but that breakfast was another level! A true holiday treat.  

The Hotel Beach:

The great thing about these far away hotels and resorts is their private beach. It was so relaxing and mostly empty. I went on a good time of the year before the rush starts and I was up very early, so I got to enjoy everything the beach had to offer. The beach was very clean and sandy. At the far end of this resort, they have some residential spaces, so if you love that part of town so much, you could just live there!  

Overall, it was such a lovely resort to stay at and closer to town, but I still loved the Ritz better. They are both gorgeous. 

For more things to do in Muscat, please check the first post of this travel series:

Ten Things to Do in Muscat

Muscat Travel Series: Souq Mutrah

Happy Wednesday all! 

I got a lot of responses on the Muscat posts yesterday from people asking me if I was still in Muscat, but I am not. I was there few months ago and I finally have time to blog about it. It is totally worth a visit! This travel series started with

Ten Things to do in Muscat

and now it continues with a new post about shopping! Muscat has few big malls that have the usual American and European big brands like Zara, Mango, Aldo, H&M and the rest. Personally, I am sick of those brands because I am surrounded by them everywhere! I was really pleased to go to the traditional Mutrah Souq.   

Shops are arranged inside, outside and all around. They all sell similar things such as key chains, lanterns, wooden boxes, jewellery, scarves, some clothes and so on. There are few cold beverage stalls around the souq. There was only two traditional desert -halwa- shops there. If you are walking around with a camera people will stare. I liked that the sales men weren't too pushy with sales, unlike Turkey and Moroco where it feels like you are being attacked by the sellers.  

It was midday when I went in, but it was sunset by the time I got out. Time really flies when you are shopping.

A little snap of the souq interior. 

After the Souq, I checked out the surrounding area. There is the sea front known as the corniche, a little museum called Bain Albarnda, few local restaurants and some lovely architecture like the one in the pictures below.

Lovely old mosque

Part of the mosque

Arches are loved & used a lot in Omani Architecture. It's part of their heritage and it looks really nice. Just look how beautiful arches make the space look:

Beautiful Islamic Patterns

If you are in Muscat, I recommend a visit to the souq. It's close to the

Ritz resort

. More Muscat posts are coming!  

Muscat Travel Series: Beach Day

Happy Omani National day everyone! 

I am very excited to kick off the Muscat travel series on the national day :D 

I know it's getting really cold in London and other places, which makes me go flick through my holiday snaps to get some warmth. Last summer, I spent few blissful days in Muscat, Oman. *MashAllah* My favourite thing was the beach. Just sitting there by the waves, looking at how blue and clear it is, dipping my feet in the warm waters, going for a swim and appreciating what life got to offer. Of course no beach day is complete without some cold refreshing coconuts. Look at the pictures below and day dream with me. 

Note: this beach in the pictures is the Quram public beach. It was nice، quiet and clean. Mostly family oriented. I didn't swim there because it was full of teenager boys and young adults (on the other side of the pictures), but it was still a very nice beach to relax.

Dress Code Note: Keep in mind that Muscat is a muslim country and dress accordingly. Dressing half naked and in bikinis in public is very disrespectful to the traditions and the religion. You can dress in whatever you like in resorts and in the other private beaches. 

For more things to do in Muscat, please check the first post of this travel series:

Ten Things to Do in Muscat

Muscat Travel Series: Ten Things to do in Muscat

In the last few months, I visited Muscat, the capital of Oman, few times and I really loved it. It's such a great place to visit. It is very different than other countries in the Arabian Gulf. It's exotic, surrounded by the most beautiful beaches, and still not so crowded.

I am a little scared to share all these good spots because I really hope it doesn't turn into another Dubai. Part of Oman's charm is the quiet and friendly atmosphere. Click on each of the titles below to see more pictures and more details. ( Each point will have a special post, they will all be coming daily for the next few days)

Top tip: there are taxis all over, but renting your own car will be very handy and will take you to further places. 

1- Stay at the Ritz (Al Bustan Palace) or the Shangri La

Theses two resorts are absolutely beautiful and have their own private beaches. If all you want to do is chill out and relax in Muscat, stay at one of them for the whole weekend and enjoy the views. The Chedi is another popular resort and is a little busier, but loved by many. I haven't stayed there personally, so I can't comment.

2- Drink a coconut and Chill on the beach -public or private-

My favourite thing in Muscat are the beaches. If you stay in one of the places mentioned above, the beach will be at your fingertips. If not, there are public beaches all over town, where you park your car and dive in the water. If you prefer another private beach, check the Oman Diving Center.

3- Visit the Grand Mosque

Worth a visit! It's so pretty.

4- Attend a show at the Royal Opera House

I am so proud of Oman for having an opera house. It's architecturally gorgeous and the shows are entreating. Most of the shows are during the christmas and the new year break.

5- Have a meal at the Royal Opera House

The opera house is not only for shows, but for temporary exhibits, high class shops and lovely places to eat and have deserts. I tried the MORE cafe there. 

6- Go to the traditional market, Mutrah Souq

In muscat, they have few shopping malls such as the Muscat Grand Mall, Muscat City Center and few smaller ones. I wasn't interested in the easily accessible high retail shops because it's the same merchandise everywhere. I prefer traditional, local shops and that's exactly what I found in the Mutrah Souq

7- Visit Bait Al Baranda Museum

A short walk from the Mutrah Souq. It is a nice little museum to checkout.

8- Go up to the mountains or to the sun mountain aka Jabal Shams

The geography in Muscat is very interesting. It extends high up with mountains and down low with valleys. I visited the most popular one there. 

9- Go down to the valley aka wady shab

This was fun, but it could get so hot and crowded.

10- Try the different types of food Muscat got to offer

Muscat has a great selection of all kinds of foods. The malls have a lot of options in their food courts. Some other ones I tried are the Jungle restaurant and the Noodle house. Thankfully all my food experiences have been good in Muscat. It just feels great that everything is halal!

And if all the above points didn't convince you, checkout all the awesome doors and windows I spotted around and the adventurous mountain goats

More Cafe in the Royal Opera House

One of my favourite spots in Muscat is the Royal Opera House. Sadly, last time I was there they didn't have any shows, but it's more than that. They have a very nice cafe inside and few luxurious shops. It's always a pleasure to go and snap lots of pictures. I went to the mOre Cafe and really enjoyed the experience.  

The outside

The entrance 

The decor inside was chic. There were different sitting arrangements and lighting styles, which gave the place some depth and gave the customers some choice. Their chairs were comfortable *finally a place with comfy chairs!*

Their cake bar was painted white, which highlighted the delicious looking cakes *YUM* The jams and the little gift boxes added a "luxury desert shop" feel.   

The artwork around is really lovely and aspiring artists are welcome to contact the cafe to display their art. I thought that initiative is an encouraging idea. Read more about it

here

.  

I liked how their menu looked, but it had too much choice, which made it distracting and very hard to choose.  I think it would have been better if they were specialised in one type of food. It had few choices from every country. It was pages upon pages. 

I ordered chicken pie with salad and soup and my friend had the baby chicken stuffed with rice. 

The food was delicious, the service was brilliant. It's a must on my list when I go back to Muscat. You got to try it when you are there!

Al Bustan Palace, The Ritz, Muscat

Last summer, I decided to discover the gulf. I lived most of my life in Saudi, but every time I travelled I went far away. The gulf all felt very similar, but then I went to Oman and that changed my whole view. It is a very beautiful country and more developed than Saudi, but quieter than UAE. The first time I went to Muscat, I stayed at the Ritz (Al Bustan Palace) and I really LOVED it!

Welcome!

The Lobby: 

The hotel lobby was so grand! The staff welcomed me with Arabic coffee and lovely orange dates

Grand and beautiful

I loved the patterns on the floor, on the walls and the ceiling. The attention to details in the lobby made it look immaculate. The style of the hotel was based on traditional Islamic architecture with a contemporary twist of using plain marble in most of the floorings.

The touch of gold in some of the accessories gave the hotel a luxurious feel

The chandeliers were placed at different heights, which changed the lighting levels and gave a powerful impacts in some areas.

The fountain was a nice touch, but didn't make any spacial change 

The Room: 

The room was really nice with a mountain view. I loved the bathroom and the deep comfy bathtub. The ambiance in the room was classy and the decor was well thought of.

The sitting area

The mountain view from the room

The bed. Look at the details on the side and top panels.  

The funny thing is if you don't put the "don't disturb" sign the cleaning staff will keep coming and clean the room! One day they came about four times and did the bed.

The bed during the day had more cushions.  

I liked that even the bathroom decor was considered. These touches of adding a mirror with borders and a small crystal side lamp really makes all the difference.

The Breakfast: 

After a restful beautiful night in the room, you are welcomed to a wonderful breakfast that has so many options. The staff were very friendly, polite and helpful. The view from the breakfast buffet is gorgeous. I think I spent nearly two hours there trying all kinds of food! They had Eastern and Western options. The design of the buffet was ergonomic and had touches of Omani traditions through the woven baskets and the colour choices. 

The start of the buffet. Notice all the milk options!

Fresh and ready cut fruits. Amazing. 

breads and muffins! YUM!

The pool and beach view from the breakfast buffet

The Beach: 

The hotel outside grounds were gorgeous with a wonderful pool and a private hotel beach. This hotel is the perfect spot to relax and to chill on the beach.

Note: I have taken all these pictures myself and all the rights are reserved to me. If you would like to use any of the pictures, please mention www.designeresra.com as a source.