Where to stay: four luxury hotels in Muscat

Sea views and golden sands take a starring role in the Omani capital’s plush hotel scene.Friday, 13 March 2020

1. Muscat Hills Resort

Life’s a beach at these gorgeous mod con-equipped huts on the sands of the hotel’s private bay. With a private outdoor terrace and al fresco bathroom, this is a rare chance to get back to nature in Oman — but you’ll have air con, an Ibiza-style outdoor restaurant and sofas on the beach to keep it plush. There’s also a diving school and a beach club with monthly international DJs. From £120, B&B.

2. Wyndham Garden Muscat Al Khuwair

This December 2019 opening is a business district bargain. Two pools, steam rooms and saunas, and a Brazilian steakhouse liven up the public areas, while the rooms stay just the right side of business chic, with bright feature walls of foliage photos and funky tiled-brick bathrooms. From £63.

3. W Muscat

When it comes to hotels, this swathe of the Middle East tends to be associated with sprawling luxury resorts, and Muscat is no exception. But Oman prefers its hotels a little more natural, which is why you’ll see plenty of traditionally styled digs in this corner of the Arabian Peninsula. Enter the W Muscat, which opened in September 2019 amid the bars and restaurants on the chic Shatti al-Qurum beachfront. The W brand is known as outré and outrageous, but here it toes a subtler line, with classic, Omani-inspired decor. Perhaps it’s all toned down to keep the focus on the ever-blue Gulf of Oman, just beyond the balcony of each of the 279 rooms. Not that the W underplays everything. The pool is accompanied by a mirrored bar, underwater loungers and florid cabanas, while the rooftop is home to the Siddharta Lounge by Buddha-Bar, which serves pan- Mediterranean food and drinks overlooking another pool and the sea beyond. This may not be as full-on as other Ws, but it still packs a punch: marble-lashed corridors, sassy fluorescent-coloured lighting and modern art everywhere, including a vast steel frankincense tree outside the entrance, and gold stools in the shape of camels in the bathroom. From £210.

4. Kempinski Hotel Muscat

With a four-mile strip of beach, this hotel doesn’t need much else going for it; but actually, it’s got plenty, from three pools to no fewer than seven bars, plus a bowling alley. Rooms are standard luxury rather than Oman-inspired, but families love the kids’ club and the spa incorporates frankincense and rose into its treatments. From £170.

Published in the April 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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