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Offering pristine beaches and verdant oases of greenery, Oman has to be one of the most surprising countries in Arabia.
Yes, there are luxurious hotels with five star spas and sumptuous restaurants, but if you look a bit further to the vast deserts, rugged mountains and turquoise wadis, we think you’ll also be completely charmed by the diversity, beauty and openly friendly nature of this intriguing land. Explore the capital Muscat, so often overlooked by holiday makers, with its rich culture and colourful mix of old and new, or travel beyond to explore this fascinating country and its history.
Out and About
Marvel at the Grand Mosque
The enormous Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in Muscat, completed in 2001, is a dazzling architectural feat. Take a guided tour through the ornate archways, tranquil courtyards and vast prayer hall, where you’ll see a collection of Islamic styles and influences from around the globe, as well as eye-catching features including a huge Swarovski crystal chandelier and stunning French stained glass windows.
Dolphin and Whale Watching
The waters off the coast of Oman contain a rich and relatively untouched marine ecosystem, home to over 20 species of whale and dolphin, and nothing beats the thrill of seeing these wonderful creatures in their natural habitat. Take a boat trip from Muscat’s beautiful coast out into the Gulf of Oman, where spinner and bottlenose dolphins are common, as are humpback whales. And if you’re really lucky you might even spot a pod of orcas, or the legendary blue whale!
A Night at the Opera
A gift to the nation from Sultan Qaboos, himself an avid fan of classical music and the arts, Muscat’s imposing and ornate Royal Opera House opened in 2011. Performances planned for the coming season include Puccini’s Madama Butterfly and Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker, and the Opera House also plays host to both traditional and contemporary music and dance from Oman and the wider Arab world, along with international acts from across the spectrum of the arts.
Experience the Contrasts of Oman
To really experience Oman a tour of the rugged interior is a must. This is a landscape of jagged mountains, rusty red sands, historic fortresses and atmospheric Bedouin encampments. Our private tour includes the fascinating fort and charming souks at Nizwa, the beautiful mountain villages of Wadi Bani Khalid and the old port town of Sur, showing you another side to this country and its warm, welcoming people.
Food and Drink
Dining in Muscat centres around the excellent restaurants within the luxury resorts, and The Restaurant at The Chedi Muscat leads the way offering authentic Arabic dishes which blend flavours from the Middle East, Africa and Far East. Prepared with a liberal use of spices, herbs, garlic and lime the results will amaze, and there are equally delicious Asian, Indian and Mediterranean options available too. Do visit Al Khiran Terrace at Al Bustan Palace, which hosts an amazing buffet with live cooking stations that will leave you spoilt for choice. Or if it’s a stunning location you desire then Six Senses Zighy Bay, tucked away on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula, has Sense on the Edge, perched high in the mountains above the resort for views to remember.
Flying time from the UK is approximately 7 hours 15 minutes direct or 9 hours via Abu Dhabi.
Oman Air Departures from Heathrow daily direct.
British Airways Departures from Heathrow daily (includes 1 hour touchdown in Abu Dhabi).
Al Waha, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
Bed & BreakfastVarious Meal Plans Available15 minutes from Muscat centreInterconnecting rooms for familiesAdventure Zone for kids
Al Bandar, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
Bed & BreakfastVarious Meal Plans Available15 minutes from Muscat centreExceptional dining optionsStunning location
Al Husn, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
Bed & BreakfastVarious Meal Plans Available15 minutes from Muscat centreExclusive beach and poolIdeal for couples
Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Bed & BreakfastHalf Board8 kilometres from Muscat centre200 acres of private beach and gardensExcellent sport and leisure facilities
Six Senses Zighy Bay
Bed & BreakfastVarious Meal Plans AvailableOn the northern Musandam Peninsula82 Private Pool VillasSumptuous dining options
Muscat Festival in January and February is a celebration of Omani culture, heritage, traditional folk art and handicrafts and includes a varied programme of sporting events, folk bands, carnival shows and theatre performances, together with Omani food, kite shows, fireworks and much, much more.