Our first stop was to the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, an area of Oman only recently discovered and available to tourists, when a mere seven years ago a new road was built opening up the mountain where the hotel proudly resides. Opening shy of a year ago and about to celebrate their first anniversary, the hotel functioned like it had been around for years, with dedicated staff and service that was of unsurpassed luxury. This is what I remember most about my time in Oman- yes, the destination itself is stunningly beautiful, but the Omani people are what made it such a memorable stay. My visit was actually my first to the UAE and I wasn’t sure what to expect but everyone, both in resort and out, were so friendly, warm and welcoming that I am already dying to return.
The hotel itself is beautiful architecturally, with clean lines throughout the design; a juxtaposition against the most dramatic backdrop of untouched natural beauty. The resort has 82 canyon view rooms and 33 private pool villas, and whilst not boutique, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar boasts a cocoon of silence, unique to anywhere else in the world I am yet to visit.
I personally had the pleasure of staying in a canyon view room, with a private balcony boasting panoramic views across the Saiq Plateau. Of course, hand in hand with the mountainous terrain comes nature. Whilst I am largely appreciative of the stunning views, I can’t say that I lend a warm welcome to the local wildlife. Whilst the hotel staff attended to what I initially perceived to be a ferocious mountain spider within a minute of my call, it came to fruition that the tiny money spider I had actually come into contact with was in fact, harmless. This is just one example of the exemplary level of service which continued throughout my stay. No ask was too big or too small, and I was treated impeccably, not only with the service but delicious gastronomy all the while spoilt with indescribable views.
Guests can enjoy morning yoga or a private dining experience at Diana’s peak. A spot made famous and named after Princess Diana herself after her visit in 1986 with Prince Charles. We enjoyed pre dinner cocktails at this spot one evening before moving on to the hotels Arabian restaurant Al Qalaa, where we dined on the most amazing meze and Arabic cuisine. Feeling content and full we opted for some fresh air and took to the outdoor shisha lounge where we ended the evening with shisha and some dessert under the stars.
Despite being a remote destination there were still plenty of activities to enjoy from the resort. After an early morning dip in the hotels infinite pool we set off on a cultural village walk to discover three of the ancient villages nearby. Our guide had was brilliant, having grown up in one of the villages and knew all of the spots to take us to. We even had a quick pit stop at his home, where he still visits occasionally with his wife and children at the weekends, sleeping on the floor, with no mattress or blankets. A stark contrast to the life we were quickly becoming accustomed to at our hotel – the highest five-star resort in the Middle East. Our guide treated us to freshly brewed Omani coffee and dried dates which was an absolute pleasure and opened our eyes to what life was like in this part of the country.
If it’s a more adrenalin fuelled adventure you’re after, then back at the hotel the Jabal Activity Wall awaits. Unfortunately, due to an injury a week before the trip I still had stitches and wasn’t able to take part which was absolutely gutting. But I relished the opportunity for some quite pool time in the hotels infinite pool whilst I waited to the rest of the group to return exhilarated by their abseil down a 20m cliff!