May 24, 2017 01:00 By Pattarawadee Saengmanee The Nation Oman 5,741 Viewed
Perched on a cliff way up in the mountains of Oman, the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort offers terrific views and ultimate in luxury
PROMOTING itself as the best outlook on the Sultanate of Oman’s Saiq Plateau, the recently opened, five-star Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort offers luxury accommodation on the same spot that Princess Diana of Wales enjoyed a picnic with Prince Charles in November 1986.
At 2,000 meters above sea level, it’s the latest addition to Al Jabal Al Akhdar, which means green mountain, and boasts an astonishing perspective of the great canyons along with first-class services and plenty of fun activities designed to suit couples, families and explorers.
The resort is the brainchild of award-wining French-Moroccan architect Lotfi Sidirahal from Atelier Pod, who borrowed the layout of local villages to create a peaceful landscape, filled with fragrant rose bushes, fruit trees, lush green terraces and al falaj water features typical of Oman’s irrigation system.
Using traditional techniques and local materials, the low-rise, light coloured mud-brick buildings reflect Omani history and culture with contemporary flair. Earth-coloured facades blend seamlessly with the rugged mountain landscape while fort-like doors carved from solid wood, gently curving archways and decorative latticework add a touch of authenticity.
“Our architecture is inspired by Omani forts. You can see a lot of locally inspired designs indoor and outdoor. The buildings look like fortresses and are the colour of the mud-bricks. The interior and exterior designs are totally Omani from the lobby to restaurants and guestrooms, which are adorned with Arabian-style lamps, artwork and artefacts,” says Firas Rashid, director of sales and marketing.
“Our resort is recognised world-wide by international publications for its spectacular views and was voted the best resort to open in 2016.”
The resort features 82 canyon-view rooms and 33 private pool villas, ranging from 60 to 700 square metres, categorised by Canyon View Room, Garden Pool Villa, Cliff Pool Villa and Royal Mountain Villa.
The three-bedroom Royal Mountain Villa has a private VIP entrance and a garage for two cars. In the morning, guests can sit on sun-loungers and sip coffee on the private deck, then jump into a private temperature controlled infinity pool and separate Jacuzzi.
The bedrooms have king-size and twin beds as well as en-suite bathrooms with a rain shower and bathtub. Dinner can be rustled up in the small kitchen, which is equipped with microwave, stove and toaster and eaten at the eight-person dining table.
I stay in the standard 60-square metre Deluxe Canyon View Room. Very comfortable and spacious, my room is beautifully adorned with a carved wooden bed, perforated Arabian-style ceiling lamps and a wooden cabinet that showcases the fine craftsmanship found in this part of the world.
My favourite corner comes with a sofa bed facing a high-tech LED television and Bluetooth sound system. I’m spoiled with more than 30 complimentary in-room movies from Hollywood, though work eventually forces me over to the desk, which comes complete with a USB charging hub and Internet connectivity in case you don’t want to use the complimentary Wi-Fi.
The room is big enough to house a walk-in dressing room with a safe box and laundry set and a spa-inspired bathroom featuring a bathtub, double washbasins, a separate toilet, a rain shower and a vanity area.
There’s also a Nespresso coffee machine, tea making facilities and mini bar with full glassware collection.
The resort offers an infinity swimming pool on the edge of canyon, standard-size tennis court, a well-equipped fitness centre, a space, a Teen’s Club with fun sport games and a Kid’s Club offering educational toys and a babysitter service.
The recreational centre organises several workshops and outdoor activities, including cooking and painting classes, mountain and rock climbing, archery, three village walks, luxury mountain picnics, complimentary bicycle rental, driving tour and, for the very energetic, hikes to the Wadi of Waterfalls, the Wadi of Abandoned Villages and Wadi Al Bawaarid.
We’re too far away from town to eat outside but the resort more than makes up for it with six restaurants on different themes offering Arabian, Europe and Asian cuisine. Al Maisan restaurant – the name means “rising star” – combines Southeast Asian and Arabic treats and offers for all-day dining.
Al Qalaa – the fort – is a chic dining room serving a wide range of authentic Omani dishes and grills using quality ingredients from local farms and the Sea of Oman. At night, the rooftop shisha lounge Al Shourfa beckons with traditional water pipes or a choice of cigars under a blanket of stars while Al Burj offers an array of light tapas and a selection of exotic cocktails and fine wines in a Moroccan setting.
AT A GLANCE
High point: Tranquil location and fantastically comfortable guestrooms in different layouts.
Low point: It’s far away from the town and access is only available in a four-wheel-drive vehicle,
Pay for it: See website for the best rates
Find it: Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Nizwa, Sultanate of Oman