The long weekend was approaching and my husband and i decided to celebrate our long due wedding anniversary by going on a road trip to Muscat, Oman!
The first cringe-worthy thought that came to my mind was the l-o-o-o-o-n-g drive with Khaled in the car with us – I mean, i am all up for road-trips.. But the idea of a 2 year old, stuck in a car seat for 4 hours.. hmmm i wasn’t so sure about that. The longest i’ve ever traveled with him was home to Bahrain; which is a 1 hour flight. Nevertheless, i decided to muster up my courage and started planning for the trip with a ‘now or never’ attitude.
Picking a hotel was quite tricky as there were tons of options! My husband and i spent hours researching and finally decided on the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, Al Waha. The Shangri-La resort is made up of 3 hotels, conveniently situated close to each other (walking distance). The resort is facing the beautiful Oman sea on one side with the majestic rocky mountains that Oman is famous for on the other side.
Why Al Waha?
- First and foremost, it is a family hotel and PERFECT for kids
- It is the largest of the 3 hotels (and you get to experience the man-made tunnel as you literally drive through a mountain to get there!)
- It has several children’s pools and water play areas as well as a kids club with babysitting services
- A lazy river connects it to Al Bandar (just prop yourself on a tube and float to the other hotel)
- The price is very reasonable and you get access to all facilities in Al Bandar hotel as well
- It has one of the best sea-food restaurants i’ve tried (Bait Al Bahar.. The Omani lobster thermidor; HEAVEN)
- Only 15 min drive from the city
- Super friendly and accommodating staff
- Clean rooms and a beautiful view of the sea!
- Shuttle services to the city and popular landmarks (such as Souq Mattrah).
Our drive to Oman took around 4 hours and a half. Khaled was an extremely EXTREMELY good boy, i am so proud of him and could probably write a whole blog post about how proud i am but i won’t go there (hopefully!). I kept him entertained with books, toys, his iPad and little snacks. We also left home a few hours before his bedtime so he ended up napping for a good solid hour or so during the drive (who run the world??? GIRLS).
We had informed the hotel that we were celebrating our anniversary and were greeted with a super yum chocolate mousse cake and a large bottle of sparkling date juice in an iced bucket along with two champagne glasses. Khaled kept asking for more ‘shokolit kik’ (chocolate cake) as we attacked it with our spoons.
The view from our hotel room was simply perfect – especially in the evening time, as the glowing hotel lights shimmered across the sea.. it was just beautiful. The hotel was jam-packed with people and yet, it was still peaceful, which i loved. At night time, all you could hear was the waves as they washed across the shore…. Ahhh bliss.
We spent our first day lounging by the pool.. Khaled then demanded that he wants to “play sand” so we went by the beach and built sand castles which he ever so delightedly crushed – Yes, my boy is demolisher (not sure if that’s even a word). We spotted two camels by the beach and discovered that the hotel offers free camel and pony rides – to add to the hundreds of other activities that they offer!
Khaled saw his first camel and reluctantly patted it on the head as it batted it’s eye lashes at us (nice camel, nice camel. good camel. please stay still).. Shame on me for not introducing camels to him earlier.
We then had dinner at their sea food restaurant, Bait Al Bahar. We ordered Omani lobster thermidor, a grilled sea food platter and a plate of jumbo grilled prawns. Our food was accompanied with an aromatic bowl of saffron risotto and french fries (for Mr. Khaled). Everything that i tried was delicious! The highlight of the night was the lobster thermidor though.. My tummy is grumbling at the thought of it!
The next morning we decided to spend the day at Al Bandar hotel. We stayed in the pool till lunch time and decided to try out their pool bar, Circles. I had the yummiest, cheesiest wood-fire margarita pizza!!! I wanted to eat all 8 slices if it wasn’t for the faint voice of reason in my head telling me that i was crossing all sorts of red lines at my fifth slice.
That afternoon we decided to take the shuttle service to Souk Mattrah. It reminded me of Manama Souk back home.. We bought the best Omani halwa (as all tourists do) had some samosas and drank rose milk (as all tourists do once again!).
We decided to have dinner at a new Omani restaurant close to the fish market called Bait Al Luban.. This was the first time i try traditional Omani cuisine. My favourite dish was the ‘Shuwa’ which basically consists of slow cooked lamb and rice. The decor of the restaurant and attention to detail was amazing.. The minute we stepped in, we were transformed into a world of rich Omani heritage. It was the perfect ending to our night in the city!
We all genuinely enjoyed our time and can’t wait to visit Oman again! The next two hotels on my bucket list are Alila Jebel Akhdar and Zighy Bay. Suggestions are always welcome xx
My Outfitit Deets: Pompom top and White Pants, Zara. Pompom sandals, Mabu by Maria BK. Denim dress, Namshi. Brown Bucket Bag, Michael Kors.
Khaled’s Outfit Deets: Top and Shorts, Mothercare.