The Chedi Muscat opened more than 15 years ago, yet remains the most exclusive address in the Omani capital. Framed by the Hajar Mountains, the striking white-washed resort sits within 21 acres of manicured gardens punctuated by zen pools.
Set alongside an endless private beach, the hotel boasts uninterrupted views over the Gulf of Oman and beyond. The chic, minimalist rooms and suites epitomise understated luxury, while the celebrated restaurants and stylish bars are ideal for a special occasion.
Instantly recognisable as a GHM hotel, with signature design-led touches and distinct interpretations of local style, the design was masterminded by French-Belgian architect Jean-Micheal Gathy, who is much fêted for creating harmony between landscape, architecture and interior styling. The result is a graceful and welcoming resort.
The 158 rooms and suites are tranquil havens. I felt instantly at peace when I entered the Chedi Club Suite with its separate large, neutral-toned living area; spacious bedroom centred by a low slung, king-sized bed; and floor-to-ceiling mirrors lit with candles. The calming open-plan bathroom is filled with generous bottles of gorgeous Aqua di Parma products, while the open terrace overlooking the palm tree-fringed lawn and the sweeping stretch of sand leading to the sea below completes a feeling of being completely surrounded by nature. Guests staying in the Chedi suites are greeted with decanters of premium spirits and a selection of fresh fruit along with local almonds, pistachios and dried apricots. With complimentary access to The Club Lounge, the suites are ideal for guests who are not in a hurry to leave the resort to explore.
With six restaurants catering to some of Muscat’s most discerning visitors, the food lived up to expectations. We were recommended the fusion cuisine at The Restaurant, which has won numerous international awards. I chose a northern Indian-inspired dish, which was perfectly paired with a 2016 Laurenz V. & Sophie ‘Singing’ Grüner Veltliner Kamptal. Without a doubt, the highlight of the meal was the passion fruit chocolate fondant with banana ice-cream and marshmallow. Totally decadent.
The 800-square-metre Spa at The Chedi Muscat is a true sanctuary, with 13 spacious spa suites and relaxation spaces that are the epitome of understated, peaceful elegance. Set alongside the Long Pool, the spa fuses Eastern philosophy with Asian Oriental rituals. Specialising in Balinese therapies, it also offers an extensive variety of beauty treatments based on the holistic principles of aromatherapy and Ayurveda. All products are vegan and organic, so without guilt I chose a relaxing facial with VOYA seaweed-infused products to soothe my sensitive skin. A pedicure followed, using SpaRitual’s non-toxic varnish. The hand-painted Balinese fan used to dry my nails was a particularly beautiful touch. Following my therapies, I floated along the lengthy corridor to enjoy chamomile flower tea and the sea-view from the serene relaxation room.
Who goes there?
GCC weekenders and European couples recovering from a few days of climbing and adventure sports in the mountains. The restaurant was populated by a mix of sophisticated Muscat-based expats and locals enjoying pre-theatre supper and post-opera cocktails.
Out & about:
Located just 20 minutes from Muscat’s old city, yet within easy reach of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and Royal Opera House, The Chedi Muscat is a tranquil haven away from the city. If you can bear to leave, explore the Mutrah Souq and shop for jasmine and frankincense oil. There’s also a host of museums to visit, or plan your visit to coincide with the Muscat Opera House’s forthcoming season with performances of Puccini’s Madame Butterfly and Verdi’s La Traviata.
The best thing:
Exploring The Chedi’s endless gardens and hidden corners offset by tranquil water features.
The worst thing:
Having pool anxiety, with three pools as well as the ocean, it can be hard to decide where to invest precious tanning and lap time.
The Chedi Muscat, Al Khuwair, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman; +968 24 52 44 00, ghmhotels.com