The Oman Diaries: Part 2, Alila Jabal Akhdar
I don't think words can do this hotel justice. Never have I been anywhere where I have been in such complete bliss from the moment I stepped out of the car and into the hotel. Perched 2000 meters above seas level in the Al Hajar Mountains, it's a paradise for those seeking peace, quiet, the stars and adventure. I never wanted to check out of Alila Jabal Akhdar.
We chose this hotel as the next place on our tour of Oman, wanting to get out of Muscat and explore a little more of the interior of Oman, as well as its mountainous regions and nearby forts and wadis. Located roughly 190km from Muscat near the town of Nizwa the Alila Jabal Akhdar is only accessible via 4x4, and I would recommend that someone who has a fear of heights remain firmly in the back seat!
If you're travelling to the Alila Jabal Akhdar with a local guide then I would recommend they take you to some of the local restaurants along the way, on our way to the Alila we stopped to eat in a Yemeni "restaurant" which looked like you would leave with food poisoning and die, but was beyond delicious and was not far from the hotel, so if your guide pulls up in the carpark of what looks like a bizarre warehouse and says there's good food inside, trust them... there is!
Located 2000m above sea level, the Alila Jabal Akhdar has commanding views of the Al Hajar Mountains and has the most spectral sunrises and sunsets. Being so high up does mean that the temperature is much lower than in Muscat, so if you're looking to sunbathe I would recommend choosing the warmer months, it's even been known to snow in December/January!
Another elegant and relaxed hotel that fuses beautiful Omani architecture, local stone and modern influences to create a resort that feels as if it was made from the landscape rather then dumped on it. The infinity pool gives you the feeling of swimming in the sky and the daybeds located around it are perfect for lazing an afternoon away on.
We stayed in a Loft Suite which gave us two floors to sprawl across and had stunning views of the ridge line. The bathrooms were sublime, the bed divine and the rest of the 104sqm sumptuous and oh so relaxing.
It's easy to see how the Alila Jabal Akhdar has so many accolades attesting to its sheer awesomeness, and if you're looking for an instagramable hotel... this is the place to go!
Service & Faclities
The staff are friendly and very helpful, the first thing you are offered when you arrive is traditional Omani Coffee and dates, (as in most hotels in Oman). There really isn't anything I could fault here. We were lucky enough to arrive at the hotel in time for sunset yoga... and oh my, if you get the chance, even if you don't like yoga, it's worth doing. Pure bliss.
Food & Drink
Being that you are perched on top of a mountain with literally nothing around you but sheer drops and little else, it's important that you don't starve to death from rubbish food... so the Alila thankfully doesn't disappoint with its delicious menu and great selection of wines. As with most hotels in the Middle East alcohol is expensive, and I am always a little disappointed that getting wines from Europe seem to cost 10x more then from Australia... (being part French my grandmother would scold me if I ordered "new world" wines... #expatfamilylife I remember getting face-timed from her when she was travelling around South America to discuss her disappointment in the wine and to rave about the food...)
Spa & Gym
I used the gym a couple of times and it was a total joy to work out to the stunning view beyond the big glass windows. It's a small gym and I was lucky enough to only ever find myself with one other person when I was there, as it's quite small it might not be that pleasant to use if it were busy, however the hotel is so small that I doubt it would ever be a jam packed gym. The Spa was utterly stunning and they use their own products and whilst I didn't manage to have a treatment before I left, my mother did and she said it was utterly divine. As a part of the gym and spa area there is also a small indoor pool that looks out onto the same view as the gym, it's a relaxing and quiet place to unwind and I can imagine in the winters it must be a total joy, however I spent all of my time outside by the main pool... because, sunbathing!