We take the short trip to Oman to explore the culinary delights and selection of outdoor pursuits on offer at Kempinski Hotel Muscat…
If you’re looking to escape Dubai’s hustle and bustle for a weekend staycation, jump onboard the short one-hour flight to Oman and you’ll soon arrive at this gorgeous beachfront property, just 10-minutes north of Muscat International Airport. Exuding grandeur from the get-go, the hotel welcomes guests with its modern, palace-like lobby design, which draws on inspiration from nature and ivory-coloured water lilies. From its all-exposing glass exteriors, we catch a glimpse of the hotel’s infinity pool and a snippet of the 6km glimmering coastline from the check-in desk, before making our way to our home for the weekend.
There’s certainly no shortage of rooms at the Kempinski Muscat. Of the 310 spacious rooms and suites available, we’re staying in a Junior Suite during our two-night stay. The room is tastefully decorated with neutral tones and offers ample space for couples – with a large bedroom plus adjoining lounge, bathroom and separate dressing area. There’s no balcony, but the floor-to-ceiling windows offer sea views and plenty of natural light into the room. There’s complimentary soft drinks and snacks at the Executive Lounge for guests staying in a suite, plus use of the in-room Nespresso machine and fresh water that is replenished daily. For families looking to book a stay, the hotel offers interconnecting king and twin-bed rooms. Alternatively, two additional beds can be arranged for the Grand Deluxe Suite – a spacious option including a large entrance foyer, fully equipped pantry, powder room, and a lounge with a separate living and dining area.
With a total of 10 dining outlets onsite, there’s something to suit every taste and occasion at Kempinski Hotel Muscat. For a relaxing sundowner or beachside dinner, head down to Zale Beach Club & Lounge. Boasting idyllic ocean views, the Lounge recently expanded its terrace area for guests to enjoy its lively ambience during the cooler months; and it’s truly the perfect spot for a weekend dinner and drinks. Translating as “power of the sea” in Greek, the menu features an array of ultra-fresh Omani seafood, with its signature dish being the Omani Gulf Lobster Salad. The restaurant focuses around a sharing-style concept, with each dish designed to be enjoyed as part of a tapas or “small plates” dining experience. For starters, don’t miss the seared tuna, which is served with a deliciously moreish miso sauce. The king crab tacos are also a must-try; the fall-apart crab meat is well flavoured and perfectly complements the crunchy taco shell. For mains, the tenderloin beef comes out on top for us. Served the Italian way – “tagliata,” meaning thinly sliced, its dressed in subtle Asian flavours and topped with soy, chilli and sesame seeds.
For authentic north Indian fare, be sure to pay Bukhara a visit during your stay. This award-winning eatery boasts three tandoori ovens and serves an array of ultra-flavoursome dishes. The Kashmiri style lamb chops to start have real depth in flavour, scented with fennel and saffron, while the yoghurt croquettes serve as fried golden pockets of deliciousness. For mains, try the soya chaap masala and vegetable biryani, which is cooked encased in a bread topping to ensure maximum flavour – and it certainly doesn’t disappoint. Both dishes are perfect for vegetarians, too.
Next door, you’ll find delicious Thai street food at Soi Soi. A more casual outlet, this colourful restaurant seems popular with both in-house guests and visitors alike during our lunchtime visit – and for good reason. The menu showcases an array of authentic dishes that will soon transport you to the bustling streets of Bangkok, including Thai favourites from coconut-based curries and refreshing salads to stir-fried noodles and locally sourced seafood dishes. The lightly spiced chicken satay skewers are served with a delicious, creamy peanut sauce and contrasting cucumber relish, and make for a great sharing starter. For mains, we try the stir-fried Thai noodles with beef and soy sauce, alongside popcorn-style chicken pockets served in a spicy, chilli-based sauce and topped with crunchy cashews. Both mains are packed full of flavour and traditional Thai spices – we only wish we’d room for more!
The resort’s all-day dining outlet, The Kitchen, serves up international delights in an open-kitchen setting, with various live cooking stations spread across the restaurant. Breakfast is served here every morning, featuring the usual favourites from made-to-order eggs and fluffy pancakes, to fresh fruit, cold cuts and cheese. Be sure to grab a table outside to enjoy the hotel’s tropical garden and pool views with your morning coffee.
Aside from the gorgeous infinity pool at the rear of the hotel, we’re told that there is an adults-only pool for those looking for total serenity, plus a newly opened sports bar to enjoy the Six Nations rugby that would be screened during our stay.
For a dose of true relaxation during your visit, make your way to Kempinski The Spa, where you’ll find both modern and traditional treatments – from massages and facials to body scrubs and mani/pedis. For a true Arabian treatment, book in for the Omani Experience, commencing with a natural sea salt scrub scented with frankincense and rose, followed by a nourishing date and honey full body mask and concluding with a relaxing massage with frankincense oil. If you’re on a romantic getaway, treatments can also be offered as a couple’s experience.
For the little ones, Dippy’s Clubhouse is a fun and exciting space, equipped with entertainment, games, activities and childcare attendants. For the ultimate family outing, head to the hotel’s in-house bowling alley on the lower-ground floor. It can be reserved for a special occasion (perhaps a family birthday?) or it makes for a great date night if it’s just the two of you. The hotel has also just launched its ballet and rhythmic gymnastic classes for children aged 4-7 years. The sessions will take place every Friday and need to be pre-booked in advance.
For those looking to soak up the Sultanate’s natural beauty, Kempinski Hotel Muscat has partnered with Euro-Divers Oman to provide guests with expertly led excursions around the local waters. We take a morning boat from the nearby Marina Bandar Al Rowdha, and are lucky enough to spot lots of friendly dolphins during our trip. The hotel has also partnered with Twenty3 Extreme for the more adventurous traveller. From canyoning to caving and trekking to kayaking, there are so many exciting outdoor pursuits to enjoy in the surrounding areas. We can’t wait to go back to explore some more!
Details: Room rates at Kempinski Hotel Muscat start at Dhs1,176 per night. GCC & Oman residents enjoy a 35% discount on rates until 23 April 2020, inclusive of breakfast, health club and kids’ club access. Call +968 24 98 5000, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the website for more information.
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