One of the best things about living in the UAE is our close proximity to other countries, but none are as close as Oman. Muscat is just an hour’s flight from Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and with a variety of airlines covering the route multiple times a day, it’s also a convenient and, most importantly, affordable last-minute getaway.
Here at Ahlan! we’ve made the trip a couple of times, usually stopping by some local spots en route to our hotel resort. However, when we check into the Kempinski Hotel Muscat, the city’s newest hotel, we vow to see more of Muscat and its tourist offerings. Because what’s the point of visiting a city and just staying in your hotel? Right?
Located in the beautiful and modern community of Al Mouj (we’d totes live here), and encompassing over six kilometres of coastline, the five-star Kempinski Hotel Muscat is the latest luxury destination in the capital of Oman.
On arrival, we can’t help notice how large the property is. It’s HUGE. With 310 rooms and suites, state-of-the-art meeting facilities, 10 world-class restaurants and bars, a fully equipped health club, spa and multiple swimming pools, Kempinski Hotel Muscat is the perfect place to call home for the weekend (or as long as you need to relax).
After a quick look around, it becomes evident that we’re going to get stuck at the hotel. There is so much to see, do and experience. We’ll venture into Muscat later, we promise ourselves.
Fortunately, even without leaving the hotel, we can tell we’re in Oman. Designed by Woods Bagot, the hotel is a modern interpretation of Muscat and the Sultanate of Oman, with stand-out elements that are truly Omani in nature. The hotel’s buildings, with a façade inspired by the landscape of Old Muscat – such as the Muttrah Corniche – are a matrix of building structures, outlining what was once a commercial centre. The design of the lobby originates from the nature of lilies in a pond, and is inspired by the Al Alam Palace, the ceremonial palace of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos. The prominent location of the ballroom – wherein the Muscat Ballroom is situated – establishes a strong first impression, with an architectural design inspired by traditional Arabic lanterns.
The rooms are just as authentic, combining Omani glamour with modern design. Our superior room is decorated with a mix of Arabic and contemporary finishes, complete with marble-clad bathroom and exquisite amenities. In fact, our bed is one of the top five most comfortable beds we’ve ever climbed into, immediately sabotaging our mission to see more of the city itself.
Foodies are also in for a treat. Kempinski Hotel Muscat is an expansive dining destination where you can experience live interactive cuisines at The Kitchen Restaurant or choose to indulge in a delightful Northern Indian experience at Bukhara Restaurant. For light snacks and meals during the day, the Pool Bar team takes care of you, while you relax and enjoy the sun. For fans of Thai street food, Soi Soi is the place to be; a lively restaurant reminiscent of Bangkok’s bustling street-food scene. For authentic Indian teas, Boulevard Tea House provides that, and more, in a cosy setting. Fresh coffee, dainty desserts and pastries can be found at Café One, the hotel’s deli. Amwaj Lounge, the hotel’s luxury living room, sets the scene with a selection of French pastries and afternoon tea.
During the day, we make the most of the hotel’s stunning infinity pool, sipping on mixed drinks and snacking on spring rolls. Every now and then, we run across the beach and dip our feet into the ocean, which is just a few metres away. Having to choose between the main pool, the adult pool and the ocean is our biggest dilemma of the weekend. Tough life...
Before we know it, two days have passed and we haven’t left the premises once. Mission Muscat failed. Because when there is so much on offer in such a picturesque and peaceful property, it would be a shame to not make the most of it. Which is exactly what we did. We check out feeling calm, re-energised and ready for another week. At least one mission that we do manage to accomplish.
INFO: Kempinski Hotel Muscat, 335 Street 6, Muscat 138, +968 24 985000, kempinski.com