Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is managed by the Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts, a brand that currently operates over 100 hotels with more than 41,000 rooms.
WHAT’S IT LIKE
The first thing you will notice about the resort is that it is spread across 124 acres of landscape surroundings. This beautiful resort comprises two hotels — Al Waha and Al Bandar that lie amidst the scenic Al Hajar mountains and the Gulf of Oman.
Once I arrived at the Al Bandar (the Town) property, the doormen clad in traditional white outfits with mustard-coloured turbans cordially welcomed me with a scented-towel and a glass of fresh juice. The overall design is inspired by old Muscat. Its stylish lobby is huge and is filled with the aroma of cardamom. The decor features Omani and Islamic design elements. Additionally. guests can enjoy authentic kahwa coffee and local dates at the lobby’s designated grab and go concept table.
WHERE IS IT
An easy 40-minute drive from Muscat International Airport.
The resort provides 460 rooms and suites in different categories. Most rooms boast views of the sea or the pristine coastline. I stayed in Al Bandar, which is designed largely for a business clientele. My Deluxe room featured a balcony with spectacular views of the garden. The room featured a minimalist decor — mainly inspired by Arab palaces. Its pleasing sand walls gave a contemporary vibe. The room had a large living room, a work desk and comfortable chairs. The shoe shine kit available in the room is a nice touch for business travellers.
FOOD & DRINKS
Guests have access to 19 food and beverage outlets located in the two hotels of Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, Al Waha and Al Bandar, in addition to adjacent sister property Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa. Some of my favourites include Bait al Bahr for serving the freshest seafood. A must-try is the BAB grilled seafood platters that include grilled Omani lobster, sea bream, kingfish, king prawn and steamed veggies. Capri Court offers Italian fare with a selection of fine wines. Enjoy an outdoor seating at Al Tanoor that specialises in Arabic cuisine featuring dishes like Marinated Shish Tauk, spinach fatayer, cheese rakak, Dijaj mashwi and a sparkling date juice, among others.
MEETINGS & BANQUET FACILITIES
The resort’s highlight is the Barr Al Jissah Ballroom, which is spread across 1,008sqm and can accommodate up to 850 guests. The ballroom is perfect for hosting conferences or cocktail receptions.
I kept my swimwear handy, as this complex houses a few swimming pools including a kid’s pool with waterslides, and a lazy river connecting the Al Waha to the Al Bandar. If you are staying in this resort then you are likely to take a plunge often during the day, mainly because of the sunny weather around the year. Apart from water sports like snorkelling, diving and Kayaking, I went for a dolphin watching tour. Art enthusiasts should check out the art gallery, which is supported by the historical-Ethnographic museum of Beit EZ-Zubayr. A must-try is the resort’s CHI Spa, which is spread out between 12 treatment rooms and surrounded by the garden, offering several relaxing therapies, a range of treatments using natural Omani ingredients and its exclusive Hammam facilities.
VERDICT: Ideal for business as well as leisure stay.
PRICE: Upwards of OMR 180/INR 33,652
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa, PO Box 644, Muscat 100, Oman