Oman is a hidden gem waiting to be explored, where a blend of modern Arabia comes together with ancient traditions to offer visitors incredible holidays and superb experiences: on the coast, in Oman’s mysterious deserts or in the breathtaking Jabal Akhdar mountains. Travel on your own, with family, friends or on honeymoon - Oman has something for everyone. Scott Dunn’s guide to this fascinating country tells you more.
October to March brings cooler winds and pleasant temperatures, making it the most popular time for our guests to visit. May to September sees temperatures and humidity increase dramatically making these lesser visited months. However, temperatures in the Jabal Akhdar remain pleasant year-round and we’ve seen guests stay at the striking Alila Jabal Akhdar during the summer months. October half term and the festive period are particularly popular with families, whilst September sees more and more honeymoon couples take advantage of favourable rates and slightly quieter hotels.
The capital Muscat is served by a number of leading airlines and with a flight time of just seven hours from London, Oman Air and British Airways (touch down in Abu Dhabi) are popular choices for UK guests, whilst our overseas guests favour Oman Air or Emirates, with regular connections to and from Dubai, taking just over an hour.
Most journeys start in the capital – Muscat. Situated in the north of country, wedged between the Gulf of Oman and rugged mountains, most guests take a day or two to explore this understated city. Muscat, old Muscat in particular, strongly retains an air of historic Arabia whereas other parts of the city occasionally boast incredible wealth – Al Bustan Palace, the Grand Mosque or one of the luxury yachts moored in the city’s marina. Muscat is also the base for many sailing options - explore the ancient coastline, picnic on outlying islands or charter a private yacht, with crew, and sail to the Musandam Peninsula to combine mainland Oman with the wonderful Six Senses Zighy Bay. Oman’s interior is home to endless sections of Empty Quarter, however the close proximity of Wahiba Sands to the capital draws many visitors out of Muscat to glimpse traditional bedouin settlements and to explore rolling dunes by camel or quad bike. The Jabal Akhdar mountains form an ideal base for mountain biking, trekking and to explore remote mountain villages.
Muscat is home to a number of international restaurants, though we often recommend traditional restaurants or private dining experiences such a picnicking on a private sail boat. No holiday to Oman is complete without an authentic picnic lunch in a Wadi (creek often with water or surrounded by lush vegetation) where giant date palms provide shade for a huge rug covered in Omani treats, freshly prepared by our local team. Many restaurants outside of hotels are dry whilst most luxury hotels have an alcohol licence.
Our favourite beach hotels are:
The Chedi Muscat – a slick boutique hotel, ideal for couples or honeymooners
Al Bustan – a large luxury hotel, originally built for the GCC Summit in 1985, that boasts the largest hotel beach in Oman at one kilometre long.
Shangri-La al Jissah Resort & Spa – a vast hotel complex made up of three resorts; Al Waha, Al Bandar and Al Husn. Ideal for families or those seeking a wide range of facilities and different dining options
Six Senses Zighy Bay – set under a dramatic mountain, two hours from Dubai international airport. A Scott Dunn favourite for it secluded location and range of activities and culinary excellence.
Our honeymoons typically start slowly with a few days on the beach – often at Al Bustan Palace – with time to relax and find your feet after the wedding. Take a sunset cruise on a traditional dhow or speak to your Scott Dunn travel consultant about private cookery experiences. What is more romantic than enjoying authentic Omani cuisine in an original village house, lit by hundreds of candles? Often honeymoon couples head to the desert where you can watch the setting sun from the stylish Majlis or ‘meeting’ tent luxuriously furnished with low hand-carved Arabic furniture, cushions and traditional hand woven rugs. Lamps and candles are lit in preparation for nightfall. Then head to Nizwa to explore the market and Fort before you’re driven into the heart of the mountains for a little adventure. Many honeymoon couples stay at Alila Jabal Akhda where you can take a gentle walk or enjoy epic views from the poolside with a glass of fizz. Return to Muscat for downtime at The Chedi, Muscat’s boutique resort, or hop on a flight to The UAE where a driver will take you directly to Zighy Bay.
Oman is proving increasingly popular with families. Seven hours from the UK, guaranteed sunshine, minimal time difference, peaceful and politically stable, Oman is ideal for travelling with children. Our specialist team know the country inside out and handpick the best local guides to bring family-friendly experiences to life for your children. Families tell us their favourite experiences are: Raz Al Jinz turtle centre, dolphin watching, sunset camel rides, sand boarding, and for older children, or teenagers; dune bashing and mountain biking in the Jabal Akhtar.
Oman Air is increasingly improving its network with many worthwhile destinations; we often see Oman paired with some incredible countries making for truly contrasting travel experiences. For active honeymoon couples, we are creating more and more combinations with Nepal and, for those seeking a slow pace of travel, the Maldives. Families love our combination of Oman beach following a tour of India’s Golden Triangle; direct flights from Jaipur to Muscat make it an easy combination. Oman and Jordan appeal for those wanted a dual Middle East experience and we’re seeing those guests interested in something entirely contrasting combining Oman and Zanzibar!
Our Travel Consultants know the country inside out and how to deliver your requirements through exceptional holiday experiences. We smooth your journey with fast-track meet and greet as standard, the best 4x4 vehicles and local drivers, often accompanied with expert local guides who ensure you get the very best out of your holiday whilst ensuring your travel experience is seamless from start until finish.
Daniel visits the Alila Jabal Akhdar
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