Hotel review: Shangri-La Al Husn, Muscat, Oman
2017 was a pretty hectic year for both myself and my husband. In March we set about booking a holiday for the simple purpose of de stressing in the sunshine and get getting away somewhere neither of us had previously been to. With that pretty basic criteria in mind we found that British Airways had a brilliant deal of flights and hotel to the 5* Shangri-La Al Husn hotel in Muscat, Oman. After a quick perusal of what the hotel had to offer and some of the online reviews, we were sold and booked it that afternoon.
The main draw of the Shangri-La Al Husn is that although it is one of three hotels in a complex it is adults only. As a teacher I am surrounded by children all day so it was really important to me that our choice of hotel be suitable for couples and ideally adults only. On this front we couldn’t have made a better choice!
Getting to the Shangri-La Al Husn
We flew from Heathrow on an early evening flight and landed seven hours later in Muscat. Our arrival time was made slightly more civilised by the fact that Oman is 4 hours ahead of the UK.
Having chosen to travel in July it was not a surprise when we were greeted by a wall of sweltering heat as we stepped out of the airport. We quickly shed our travelling layers and headed for our taxi.
The journey from the airport took around 40 minutes and gave us an opportunity to take in some of the spectacular scenery Oman has to offer. Soaring rugged rocks and cliffs reminded me very much of the landscape of Tenerife. The whole process was nice and simple and having a pre booked transfer made life easy after a long flight.
Driving up to the hotel felt like arriving at the Sultan’s palace from Aladdin. A beautiful plain façade with simply crafted archways which lead to a stunning interior. Colourful geometric patterns adorned the floors and walls and the long courtyard drew the eye all the way to the sea. As first impressions go the Al Husn is simply and beautifully striking. Our check in was quick and efficient and made even better with the addition of a glass of bubbles and a cold towel! It is these small touches that make such a difference. By the time we arrived at our room our bags were already there.
Our room, A Deluxe Sea View:
Our room was perfect. A blissfully cool retreat from the blazing hot sun, immaculately clean and tastefully decorated with a modern fusion of Western and Arabic design. The furniture was well selected to complement the style and the bed was very comfortable, it really was tough to get up each morning!
Our room was also perfectly situated with a stunning view of the sea and beach. That view at 10am on a 35-degree July morning was the perfect tonic and seemed to wipe away all my prior stress leading up to the holiday.
The Al Husn is part of a larger complex of three hotels; the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah and the Shangri-La Al Waha. Both the other hotels are more family orientated and were significantly busier than the Al Husn. It is also worth bearing in mind that the whole complex became busier at weekends as local Omani families came for a weekend break. The main impact of this was ensuring that you had made sufficient dinner reservations. However, the staff were more than helpful when it came to booking restaurants and organising dinner reservations.
Despite being part of a group of hotels the Al Husn certainly did not feel like it. The whole hotel was calm and a totally separate entity to the others.
As a guest of the Al Husn you could also use the spa facilities of the Barr Al Jissah, however the Al Husn has recently opened its own exclusive spa and fitness centre. This addition in my opinion will secure the absolute luxury status of this hotel and is a driving force in my eagerness to return!
Pool and Beach
As a resident of the Al Husn you have full access to the private 100m beach, restaurants and spa facilities of the whole complex. Although the Al Husn has its own private beach, the long stretch of unspoilt beach connecting the Al Jissah and the Al Waha was too good not to take advantage of and made for a perfect post breakfast walk each morning.
The main pool at the Al Husn was a beautifully appointed infinity pool looking out to the calm waters of the Arabian Sea. Having travelled to Muscat in the height of summer, I spent a lot of time in the pool! It felt truly heavenly to wallow in cool water with a good book in hand.
The pool accommodated around 20 guests and there were further sun beds on the terrace above and below by the pool bar and the lower level of the pool which was more of a shady run off for the infinity pool. The sun beds were set nicely apart and you weren’t too close to any other couple. Although there was space for lots of people during our stay the pool never had more than 15-20 people sat by it, limited numbers made for a really peaceful and relaxing stay.
The pool staff could not have been more attentive, they brought round a cool box with cold towels, cold fruit drinks and water multiple times a day so you were never at risk of dehydrating! The pool attendants also offered sunglasses cleaning and worked tirelessly to ensure that the pool environment was pristinely presented and offered pure relaxation for all.
Food & Drink
The British Airways deal was a bed and breakfast package so lunches and dinners were an additional cost. Each night we ate in the hotel complex and the food was superb! The Al Husn offers 2 restaurants available for evening meals and the beach bar; however as with all other facilities the restaurants of the entire complex are at your disposal.
My particular dinner highlight was without a doubt the meal we had on our last night at the Shahrazad restaurant in the Al Husn. The restaurant offers Omani, Moroccan and Lebanese cuisine with world class wines and live entertainment. I opted for a lamb tagine which was delicious! The Shahrazad is the signature restaurant of the hotel so the prices were not cheap however the quality of the food and service were well worth the price.
If you are a fish lover then the Bait Al Bahr must be on your dinner wish list. The seafood was stunning, fresh, flavoursome and all locally sourced. Although we only had 7 nights worth of dinner reservations to play with; we decided that the Bait Al Bahr needed two nights to sample its delicious offerings. I can thoroughly recommend the Sultan Ibrahim!
Every evening in the courtyard there were pre-dinner drinks and canapes all included
with your stay. Beer, wine, prosecco and a range of other beverages were all available without charge. When the sun went down and the temperature dropped (only slightly) this was the loveliest way to relax before dinner, indulging in a few cold beverages, miniature bites of culinary excellence and listening to the live music.
With the intensity of the heat we never felt that a proper lunch was needed however; the Al Husn offered a complimentary afternoon tea every day in the Sultanah restaurant. This luxury touch provided a soothing retreat from the heat of the day and the food presented was of the highest quality, we never left disappointed!
I loved this hotel and couldn’t have asked for more of my holiday. If you are looking for a totally relaxing time away then I cannot recommend the Shangri La Al Husn enough. I returned home feeling completely rested and ready to tackle life again! My short trip has me already planning a longer more adventurous stay in Oman.