Discover some of Oman's beautiful scenery as you explore the Wahiba Sands and Hajar Mountains before spending a luxurious week at the beach.
3 nights Wahiba Sands, half board; 7 nights Shangri-La Barr al Jissah - Al Husn including breakfast. Includes flights and transfers.
11 days from £3,215pp
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On the beach - 7 days
Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa
The Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa has a stunning location set on a private bay framed by golden sands, turquoise waters and the red rock of the Al Hajar mountains behind.
The palatial Al Husn ‘The Castle’, is set on a cliff overlooking the water with guests enjoying complimentary afternoon tea, evening cocktails and hors d’oeuvres.
With easy access to colourful coral and marine life, the resort has its own dive centre and a dedicated turtle ranger who ensures the protection of the green and hawksbill turtles that nest in the area from January to July and can advise the best times and places to see them. There is also a superb spa and the historic city of Old Muscat is only a short drive away.
After the beach - 3 days
One of Oman's most scenic areas, the Wahiba Sands offer a dramatic desert experience with towering sand dunes and a surprisingly wide array of flora and fauna. Enjoy spectacular sunsets, overnight skies densely packed with stars and the soft light of desert dawns. Meet the nomadic Bedouin who call the desert home and visit the vividly coloured pools and shady canyon of the Wadi Bani Khalid. On your journey to and from the desert you will pass small villages lining the coast and the dramatic scenery of the Hajar Mountains.
The Desert Nights Camp offers luxurious accommodation in traditional Bedouin tents.
Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa
180 rooms, 8 restaurants, 3 pools
With a dramatic setting overlooking the Sea of Oman, the Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa offers Omani hospitality and Arabian luxury with a wide range of lavish dining and leisure facilities.
The location is one of the Shangri-La's key attractions as the hotel is backed by rugged mountains that arc down into the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Oman. The name means 'castle', and it aptly has sweeping views of the bay from its commanding location on the sandstone heights up above. The lavish interior, with ornate plaster work, Arabian alcoves and luxurious furnishings reflects the style of a Sultan's Palace.
Two sister properties, Shangri-La Al Bandar and Shangri-La Al Waha, sit next door, just below Al Husn's hilltop setting. Guests at Al Husn are free to use the facilities at these sister properties, opening up a wide range of dining and leisure possibilities.
Al Husn is only open to adults. Families are welcome to stay at the two sister properties next door, which have a larger range of children-focused entertainment.
Al Husn is only open to adults and we recommend families to stay at Al Waha or Al Bandar, as the atmosphere there is family-friendly with better facilities for children.
The Shangri-La enjoys a secluded location, set in its own bay. In front of the resort lies a long stretch of golden beach which shelves gently down into the blue waters of the Sea of Oman, while behind the hotel, the rugged sandstone mountains provide a dramatic backdrop.
The hotel’s beach is private, and stretches for a kilometre (0.6 miles), while down a short path, there is also a smaller, secluded beach at the edge of the mountains, called Turtle Beach.
The hotel provides complimentary shuttles to Muscat, 15 minutes’ drive away. It’s a good idea to reserve seats a day ahead or, alternatively, taxis are easy to arrange. There are no local restaurants or shops within the immediate vicinity of the hotel, but the resort offers a wide range of dining options.
We think that Al Husn has been well-designed with traditional Arabic artistry, and provides the ultimate in luxury. The resort has excellent facilities, and with luxuriant gardens and meandering waterways, feels very spacious.
The beaches that the resort is built around are a dramatic change to palm-fringed white sand hotels — an ideal option if you’re looking for something a little different. With a wide range of restaurants and cafés across all three sister hotels, this would suit those who would like a secluded location without compromising on dining choices.
The 180 spacious, richly decorated rooms all have a balcony with views of the pool, beach or sea. The décor is contemporary with Omani influences including opulent fabrics, carved wooden furniture and Arabian lantern-style light fittings.
Deluxe Pool View
These large suites are 116 sq m (1,248 sq ft), offering contemporary luxury with an Arabian-inspired decor.
Each suite has panoramic views of the Gulf of Oman, and has a separate sitting room and a large balcony. The bathroom features a separate shower cubicle and soaking tub, designed with sliding glassed panels, so you can enjoy sea views whilst relaxing in the bath.
Deluxe sea view
In addition to the facilities of the Deluxe rooms, the balcony/patio of this room type enjoys views that extend beyond the gardens and pools to the turquoise waters of the Gulf of Oman.
One bedroom suite
These large suites are 116 sq m (1,248 sq ft) offering expansive, contemporary luxury with an Arabian-inspired decor.
Each suite has panoramic views of the Gulf of Oman and offers a separate sitting room and a large balcony. The bathroom features a separate shower cubicle and soaking tub, designed with sliding glassed panels so you can enjoy sea views whilst relaxing in the bath.
Pictures of the rooms
Activities, diving & excursions
The infinity pool at Al Husn is exclusively for Al Husn guests, although they are also free to use the pools at Al Bandar and Al Waha hotels if they wish. Al Husn guests also have exclusive access to a private beach.
There are plenty of activities to keep guests busy. Kayaking tours and two-hour snorkelling trips are available, as well as waterskiing and wakeboarding. On land, there are four floodlit tennis courts, a fitness centre and a mini-golf course.
Stretching between Al Waha and Al Bandar hotels, a ‘Lazy River’ allows guests to drift between the two hotels on the man-made current.
Between January and June you may have the opportunity to observe turtles laying their eggs. Toward the end of March until August the baby turtles begin to hatch and you can watch the turtle ranger checking the eggs at around 5.30pm daily. The dedicated ranger can also advise you on the best times to observe the turtles and if you give him your phone or room number, he’ll call you in the middle of the night if a turtle comes to lay eggs.
The dive centre has scuba diving and snorkelling facilities, and is a PADI Five Star Gold Palm Resort. For the best snorkelling, we would advise taking a boat offshore, which can be arranged by the hotel.
The dive centre welcomes beginners and certified divers for daily scuba-diving trips. Courses start in the hotel pool, and later move to the ocean to discover the rich waters of the Arabian Sea, full of brightly coloured fish, turtles and other sea life.
Food & drink
One of the highlights of the resort is the huge range and quality of dining options open to guests. As well as the dining options at Al Husn, guests can also eat at the restaurants of the two sister properties next door.
At Al Husn, the stylish Sultanah restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving an international menu of à la carte dishes. Shahrazad restaurant has a richly opulent Moroccan interior, serving subtly spiced Moroccan dishes, accompanied by live Moroccan music. A smart-casual dress code is required.
At Al Bandar hotel, Tapas and Sablah is set in a large square with views over the gardens to the sea beyond. Open for dinner, it offers a mix of Mediterranean and Asian tapas, as well as Middle Eastern mezze. Some evenings, traditional music or dancing takes place on the square, and hookah pipes are also available.
Capri Court, also open for dinner, offers Italian cuisine in a stylish restaurant overlooking the gardens and beachfront. Al Tanoor is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving buffet meals with a wide choice of Arabian, Mediterranean, Indian and other international dishes.
Set on the beachfront between Al Bandar and Al Waha hotel, Bait al Bahr is a charming, intimate seafood restaurant, with both indoor and outdoor dining, overlooking the sea. Enjoy one of the à la carte dishes, or wander over to the Seafood Market to take your pick from the array of fresh fish caught by one of their dedicated fishermen from the local village.
Al Waha hotel offers two relaxed, family-friendly dining choices. Samba is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, offering buffet meals with flavours of Asia, the Mediterranean and Latin America. The Surf Café is open all day serving burgers, sandwiches and salads, alongside Internet stations.
At the hotel’s souq area, there is a choice of three dining options; an all-day café, a contemporary Asian restaurant with four show kitchens, preparing the best of Asian cuisine, and a Lebanese restaurant serving Middle Eastern cuisine.
There’s also a wide range of bars and lounges, including beach and pool bars.
Please note that hotel restaurants can be busy at the weekend (Friday & Saturday) with local residents and ex pats. We recommend you ask your specialist to pre-book for you.
The Shangri-La group is renowned for its spa facilities. Al Husn guests can use the facilities of its sister resort at CHI, The Spa, set between Al Bandar and Al Waha hotels which has a peaceful water oasis and 12 treatment villas.
Location: The Wahiba Sands
The Wahiba Sands is a large desert area just four hours' drive from Muscat.
Its geography is mixed: in the north are smaller dunes and wide flat areas, to the east the dunes pile up to 100 metres against the ocean, and in the south, at Barr El Hikman, is a vast expanse of flat sand dotted with treacherous salt flats and home to huge populations of migrating birds.
Experiencing the Wahiba Sands
A surprisingly wide array of flora and fauna call the sands home, as do about 3,000 Bedouin, some of whom you will get to meet when you visit the Wahiba.
There are also camps to spend the night in the desert, a remarkable experience that starts with a golden sunset, continues with a densely-starred sky and concludes with the soft light of a desert dawn.
Wahiba Sands to Muscat
Leaving the Wahiba Sands, a scenic drive passes between the contorted slopes of the eastern Hajar mountains and the shore, past the stunning water pools and shady canyon of Wadi Bani Khalid.
On the coast, Ras Al Junayz is a small sandy bay where green turtles come ashore to nest all year round (though the principal nesting season is July to September) and there is the opportunity to visit the turtles in the late evening or early morning.
From here you follow the coast, passing through small villages and towns scattered along the shoreline. The area is beautiful, despite clear signs of the damage caused by the 2007 cyclone Gonu.
Closer to Muscat, shining white beaches nestle under rocky overhangs, and a collapsed cave has created an impressive sinkhole.
Desert Nights Camp
Accommodation: Desert Nights Camp
Set between two 30 metre-high dunes, yet only 11 km from the main road, the Desert Nights Camp is a luxury tented accommodation with a real feeling of peace and relaxation. Each air-conditioned tent comprises a lounge, bedroom and bathroom and is equipped with all the facilities of a luxury hotel. There are a range of activities from quad biking, camel riding and 4x4 dune bashing. In the evening, dinner is provided in the main restaurant with the chance to relax afterwards under the stars and listen to local musicians.
Day by day
Today you'll be driven from Muscat into the Wahiba Sands, via the spectacular mountain scenery around Nizwa. You'll stay in tented accommodation in the Desert Nights Camp for a unique desert experience.
This morning you head out to the edge of the Hajar mountains to Wadi Bani Khalid, a canyon — and usually several pools — surrounded by steep wadi walls. The afternoon is at your leisure to indulge in any number of desert activities from the camp, should you wish, including dune bashing and camel riding.
You'll drive back to Muscat today, travelling via the coastal road. Once you arrive into Muscat you'll be taken to the Al Husn hotel, part of the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah resort, where you spend the next 7 nights.
This morning, embark on a tour of the city with your private chauffeur-guide.
At leisure. Why not relax on the private beach and read a good book. Remember to have your daily complimentary afternoon tea, pre-dinner drinks and canapés.
Days 6 - 9
Tonight you will be collected from your hotel and driven to the hotel in time to catch your flight home.
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