A traditional taste of Oman at Shangri-La Al Husn
Although it’s just a short hop across the border, Oman’s rich heritage and culture, along with its rugged natural landscape, offers UAE residents something a little different. , as well as a slower pace of life.
Located on the outskirts of Muscat, Shangri-La Al Husn is a sprawling adults-only resort that offers a taste of traditional Oman, plus timeless luxury on a serene clifftop location.
The National visit to find out more…
After climbing the steep Hajar Mountains, we approach Shangri-La Al Husn via a private palm-lined driveway. It’s easy to see where the property gets its name from – Al Husn means castle in Arabic, and its impressive Arabesque architecture certainly exudes a sense of grandeur.
Checking in at Shangri-La Al Husn is a smooth experience, which is greatly appreciated as we arrive tired in the early hours of the morning. Although it was 4am, we were greeted with warmth and the necessary amount of enthusiasm by the night shift team, who understood that we wanted to get to our rooms as quickly as possible. The key is ready and waiting, resort information is provided quickly and efficiently, and I am in my room within five minutes of my arrival.
The hotel is located approximately 40 minutes from Muscat International Airport and is accessible via a scenic drive past some of the capital’s landmarks, including the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque. Comprised of two hotels – Al Husn, a luxurious adults-only property and the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, ideal for families – the resort is perched on a cliff, offering stunning views of the azure Arabian Gulf and the rugged coastline of ‘Oman, which winds on in both directions.
The resort feels peaceful and secluded, despite being only 20 minutes from the main town, making it perfect for weekends away from the hustle and bustle of Muscat.
All rooms are fully sterilized and equipped with hand sanitizer, and masks are mandatory in all indoor areas as standard.
All staff and servers are also masked at all times, although mask-wearing is no longer mandatory in public spaces in Oman.
The hotel’s 180 rooms and suites fall into six categories, ranging from a Deluxe Suite to a truly Royal Royal Suite (which Ed Sheeran has previously stayed in). Almost all have a balcony and sea view.
My Deluxe Sea View Room is generously appointed, with a huge super king-size bed, seating and a large desk area. The hotel’s Arabic design continues in all rooms, and traditional touches are well balanced with contemporary elements.
Perhaps the most impressive part of the room is the bathroom, which almost matches the size of the room, and features a large walk-in closet, separate shower and toilet, and a stand-alone bath separated from the bedroom by a panel. wooden slider with intricate design. , which can be opened to look out to the ocean.
There are plenty of in-room amenities too, like a Nespresso machine and a Bose speaker system.
All the staff we encounter at Shangri-La Al Husn are not only professional and helpful, but also seem incredibly proud to show off the resort, as well as Oman’s heritage. We are warmly welcomed in all public areas of the hotel and the breakfast and dinner servers are friendly and knowledgeable about the menus.
The property also offers several additional services for guests, including a delicious picnic lunch for a local snorkeling excursion, as well as airport transfers in one of the classic cars from its on-site classic car museum.
At Al Husn, you’ll find a peaceful and scenic infinity pool with views of the Arabian Gulf, as well as a private cove tucked into a small crevasse of the rugged coastline, which feels truly secluded.
All guests also have access to sister station Barr Al Jissah, which is a short walk away. Here you’ll find 100 meters of private beach, a family pool, resident camels and, most importantly, a lazy river, which flows in a scenic loop under a canopy of palm trees and looming mountains, with the crashing waves of the adjacent beachfront as a soundtrack. It’s an idyllic way to spend an afternoon, and I go there more often than I care to admit.
Onsite, the resort is also home to an Omani Heritage Village and the aforementioned Classic Car Museum, both of which will open to the public in October. The station’s car collection includes a Mercedes steam carriage, the first bicycle to have a motor, as well as dozens of other vintage models.
Guests can also make the most of the resort’s beachfront location with free water sports and learn about Shangri-La’s conservation efforts from its on-site turtle ranger. Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Beach is home to one of Oman’s five nesting sites, where around 100 turtles return each year to lay their eggs.
For guests wishing to relax, there is Luban Spa, which welcomes visitors in the traditional Omani way – with rose water for hands and face. The spa offers a range of services, which can be easily booked on arrival.
Guests are spoiled for choice when it comes to dining. The daily breakfast can be enjoyed in the hotel’s main restaurant, the nautical-themed Sultanah, where you can enjoy a la carte and buffet options while taking in the morning views of the Arabian Gulf. When evening comes, Sultanah transforms into a more luxurious setting and serves an elegant and creative Mediterranean-inspired menu.
There’s also the Mahharra Beach Bar and Al Muheet poolside cafe for lighter snacks during the day, plus an extensive in-room dining menu. All Al Husn guests can also enjoy complimentary Sultanah afternoon tea, as well as sunset aperitifs in the beautiful central courtyard during the cooler months.
Guests are also encouraged to visit the restaurants at the neighboring resort, where they can choose from traditional Arabic cuisine at Bait Al Bahr, Pan-Asian cuisine at Chow Mee, and an extensive daily buffet at Al Tanoor.
Highs and lows
Some guests have to be prepared to walk a bit to their room through several hallways, which can be a bit confusing to navigate upon arrival, but you’ll soon get used to it.
The tranquility of Al Husn, while having the facilities of Barr Al Jissah right next door, provides the perfect balance for a relaxing weekend.
The insider tip
If you are an early riser, make time for a sunrise stroll along the private beach. With the sun bouncing off the mountains behind and the sound of the waves, it’s an incredibly peaceful way to start the day.
Al Husn feels like a grown-up, quiet space that exudes Arabian grandeur in a contemporary way. Its cliffside location offers picturesque mountain and sea views, making you feel like you’re a million miles from the capital. Facilities mean you have everything you need on site making it the perfect weekend away.
The bottom line
A two-night stay, including a couples massage and castle experience, starts at Dh1,150. Half-board offers start at 1,430 Dh; www.shangri-la.com/muscat
This review was conducted at the hotel’s invitation during the global coronavirus pandemic. It reflects the standards of the hotel during this period. Services may change in the future
Updated: October 14, 2022, 03:31