On the Arabian Peninsula, boasting spectacular mountain, desert and coastal scenery; Oman enjoys a sun-soaked climate and well-preserved cultural heritage.
It's not just the endless deserts, mountains, and pristine beaches that have been luring visitors to Oman for years, but also the promise of five-star luxury hotels and winter sun that we all so desperately crave. With a capital city that effortlessly combines authentic culture with modern luxury, Muscat is one of the more laid-back of Middle Eastern cities and has recently undergone some careful restoration, making it the perfect destination to browse lively souks, promenade along old harbour walls, and explore ancient mosques, forts and palaces.
Further afield in the far north of the country, the Musandam peninsula is Oman’s hotspot for beaches and water-activities. The more adventurous will enjoy the canyons and gorges of the Western Hajar mountains in the north, and the exhilarating off-the-beaten-track experiences in Oman’s stunning deserts where you can discover complete silence, breath-taking night skies and experience a slice of Bedouin life. The varied landscapes of Oman are mirrored in the diverse accommodation on offer, from mountain lodges and desert camps to luxury beach resorts and palatial city hotels.
THE S&A TO DO LIST
Arrive in style at Zighy Bay by tandem paragliding down from Zighy Mountain with a knowledgeable instructors who will let you ride the thermals out over the mountains, the bay and the resort before setting down on the wide stretch of golden beach. If Alice can do it, so can you!
From the Wahiba and Empty Quarter Deserts to the Hajar Mountains and the remote white sands of the coast, Hud Hud Travels provide private luxury mobile camps in Oman’s most pristine and beautiful locations
Take on some light hikes around Jebel Shams, the highest mountain in Oman, for spectacular views of the Al Nakhr Canyon or “The Grand Canyon” of Arabia
In Muscat you can opt for boutique chic or sprawling resort with all the facilities you could wish for. The Shangri-La Barr al Jissah Resort and Spa is the largest of the latter, comprising of three hotels, a private beach, an excellent kid's club and swimming pools and watersports aplenty. The Al Bustan Palace is the top choice for those looking for traditional luxury, whilst the uber-cool Chedi Muscat retreat blends a chic, minimalist design with traditional Omani architecture.
For something more in keeping with its natural environment, Six Senses Zighy Bay on the Musandam Peninsula has been designed in the style of an indigenous village but without sacrificing an ounce of luxury. Sitting on a glorious and untouched stretch of white coastline, the chic and upscale Al Baleed Resort Salalah is the perfect addition to Oman's fine selection of small resorts. Just an hour away from Muscat and with fantastic ocean front rooms and suites, this pristine resort is the ideal start or end to a trip though Oman. The spectacular Hajar mountain range is one of the (many) highlights of Oman, and at the centre of the range sits the magnificent Jebel Akhdar or ‘green mountain’. Long seen as somewhere to explore on route between the capital Muscat and the ancient market city of Nizwa, the opening in 2014 of the Alila Jabal Akhdar Hotel means the mountains now have a supremely luxurious place to stay in their own right. Built to blend in to the surroundings and using traditional Omani building techniques, Alila Jabal Akhdar aims wherever possible to allow guests to enjoy the incredible views across the mountains. There are 84 suites and two villas in total, all decorated in Omani style but with contemporary comfort in mind. In addition, there is a restaurant serving high quality Arabian and world classics, both indoor and outdoor pools and an Alila spa. Other activities include cooking courses and cultural tours.
The View was the first Eco Luxe retreat in Oman, simple no frills accommodation mostly in individual cabins with en-suite bathrooms and air-conditioning, located in the hills above the town of Al Hamra, a few hours drive from Muscat and 45 minutes from the ancient city of Nizwa. Activities available on site including mountain biking and trekking in the surrounding hills and a lovely swimming pool with a view. Also located in the mountainous Nizwa region is Sahab, built entirely from local stone which even contains fossils, demonstrating the region's physical changes over the past 270 million years. Located on Jebel Akhdar with stunning views over the mountains and a refreshing climate there are plenty of walks and hikes in the surrounding area for more active guests and a swimming pool and a heated jacuzzi pool to relax in afterwards. For those romantics who want to get even closer to Oman’s dramatic desert landscapes and beautiful wadis with shimmering pools, head to Desert Nights Camp in Wahiba Sands for a magical night under canvas and stars. We can also arrange luxury private camping, completely one-off adventures that could see you quad biking and camel riding across deserts, sailing and diving along white sand coasts or driving Arabia’s most spectacular off-road routes from the spectacular Musandam peninsula at the northern most tip of Oman to the awe inspiring Empty Quarter in the Dhofar region in the far south. Located on the Eastern peninsula of Oman, Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve is Oman's leading conservation project for the hatching and protection of turtles. Air conditioned, luxury tents, and excellent guides make this an ideal stay to learn about turtles.
Looking to extend your trip?
The thrills and cultural wonders of Oman tie in well with indulgent beach time in the glamorous resorts of the Maldives...