Shangri-La will quietly open its first hotel in Muscat next month, cementing the city's reputation as a business and leisure contender to Dubai.
The Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa will get underway near the Oman capital at the start of December, although this is a "soft opening", which will see the hotel operating under capacity until early January, when it will officially open.
Located 40 minutes from the airport and 20 minutes out of town, the resort hotel is set in 124 acres of landscaped gardens in a private bay. The resort complex incorporates three hotels, a heritage village championing local arts and culture, and a river linking its two outdoor swimming pools. There is also a 1,000 seat amphitheatre, a business centre, free shuttle bus to shopping and business districts, and 11 meeting rooms plus a ballroom.
The hotel will also have extensive leisure facilities including an outlet of the Shangri-La spa brand, Chi Spa (like the one in Bangkok, pictured), with 12 treatment rooms, a dive school, water sports centre, gym, tennis courts, private beaches, and 19 different food and drink outlets, offering a range of formal and informal dining options.
The three hotels are geared towards different guests, with a family hotel, five star option and deluxe five star, where all guests have their own butler and the hotel has a private gym, beach and infinity swimming pool. All rooms have sea views and private terrace or balcony, plus broadband internet access, electronic safes and satellite television. Rates start at £126 at the family hotel, Al Waha, £168 at the five star property, Al Bandar, and £238 at the top hotel, Al Husn.
Other Shangri-La hotels in the pipeline include properties in Chiang Mai and Suzhou, set to open next year and an extension to the Shangri-La in Beijing, the group's first London hotel will not open until 2009. For more information go to www.shangri-la.com.
Report by Ginny McGrath