An Oasis of Luxury

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Al Husn Hotel overlooking the bay

In a stunning bay overlooking the Gulf of Oman, this ultra-luxurious resort is accessed through a private man-made tunnel in the Hajar Mountains. Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa is a resort of 3 top international-class hotels, set in 124 acres of landscaped gardens with a remarkable mountainous backdrop. This resort is sheer relaxation and escapes offering a full-service spa complex and spacious rooms with panoramic views. Al Bandar’s rooms and suites feature a modern, Arabian-inspired style with comfortable furnishings and artworks crafted locally. The three hotels at the resort are geared towards different target markets: Al Husn (The Castle) is a 6-star luxury hotel, while Al Bandar (The Town) is aimed at the business guest. Al Waha (The Oasis) is aimed at families, providing a kids’ club named Cool Zone and Splash Pad water playground.

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Al Waha hotel overlooking pools

The CHI Spa, is the most extensive and well-appointed private spa in Oman, with twelve treatment villas offering traditional Himalayan and Chinese treatments. Guests can enjoy the experience of the unique CHI Water Oasis, featuring a vitality hydro pool, a herbal steam room, tundra and tropical showers, an ice fountain and a relaxation area inviting guests to linger in the restorative ambiance of CHI. Guests can also book the Rhassul and Hammam to truly unwind and relax.

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Al Waha hotel overlooking the beach

Take a culinary journey to the four corners of the globe at the resort’s numerous (17 in total) restaurants, bars, and lounges. Shahrazad – offers traditional authentic Arabian cuisine featuring Lebanese and Moroccan dishes, Sultanah – speciality international fine dining, Al Tanoor – all-day dining serving Middle Eastern, Indian and International favourites with nightly theme features, Bait Al Bahr – serves freshly-prepared Omani seafood by the beach, Capri Court – authentic Italian restaurant in a contemporary setting, Samba – all day dining serving exotic Latin American and International cuisine, The B.A.B. Lounge, Tapas & Sablah, Asia, Long Bar, Piano Lounge to name a few.

Guests of Al Bandar and Al Waha can use each other’s facilities and a long lazy river can be swum or followed adjoining the two hotels. There is a protected ‘turtle cove’ area where turtles come to nest and a dedicated ranger, Mohammed Al Hassani, informs and educates the guests on how to respect the species and their natural environment in his daily Turtle Talk at the Eco Centre. There is a dive school (Extra Divers) offering excursions, boat trips, snorkeling and dolphin watching. Watersports such as banana boat ride, wakeboarding, paddle boarding and doughnut ride can be enjoyed at a fee. Other facilities and services include a health club, Mini Golf, Babysitting, Adventure Zone, Art Gallery and Omani heritage village amongst others.

Al Husn remains exclusive, and with a huge chandelier from the Czech Republic, wall light shades from Morocco and carpets from Iran, the décor is opulent. When combined with 3 crystal-ceiling ballrooms with retracting walls to convert it into one 700-seater, this place is seriously luxurious!

Dress code is resort casual except for dinner in Sultanah and Shahrazad. For further details kindly contact Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, P.O.Box 644, PC 100, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman. (+968)24776677 Email: slmu@shangri-la.com

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A Five Minaret Beauty

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Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, Muscat, Oman.

An extraordinary structure of new age Islamic architecture captures your attention and keeps your eyes glued to it when you zoom on the main street of Muscat. The Supreme Ruler, HM Sultan Qaboos, gifted this grandeur piece of art to the people of his Sultanate of Oman in 2001 marking 30 years of his Accession to the throne. This mosque is awe-inspiring and is certainly worth a visit if simply to appreciate its magnitude, craftsmanship and the architectural design it represents.

Construction of the mosque began in 1995 and took six years to complete. The four corner minarets (45m high) along with the 90m high central minaret, represent the five pillars of Islam. With a capacity of 20,000 worshippers including 750 women in a private musalla (prayer hall), the mosque is an active place of worship, particularly on Fridays. The main prayer hall with a capacity of around 6,600 is breathtakingly rich with a magnificent 50 m high dome and the central Swarovski crystal chandelier. The Persian carpet in the main hall (measuring 60m by 70m and weighing 21 tonnes) is the second largest in the world; it was made in Khurasan in Iran and occupied 600 women fully for four years. This mosque highlights its role as a scientific and intellectual source of knowledge across the Islamic world. It houses a Library with a total capacity of 20,000 books.

Visitors are required to dress modestly, covering arms and legs and avoiding tight clothing. Women and girls (aged seven and above) must cover their hair. Abayyas (full-length dresses) and scarves can be hired from the mosque cafe and gift shop for OR2.500; some form of ID is required as a deposit. Tours are available. Mwasalat buses stop outside the mosque on the main road.

The tranquility and serenity of the riwaaqs (open-air arcades), archways and courtyards is quite an experience in itself. Even the non-religious visitor will probably be moved in some way by a tour of its interior.

The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque in its entirety stands as an assertive symbol of Oman’s confidence and spirituality.