When I thought I was going to leave Dubai and the Middle East I created a bucket list of places I still hadn’t been to and decided to do as much as possible before I left. One of the places on the list was Muscat and in particular the Chedi.
I flew on Fly Dubai as it was the cheapest and its an hour flight; so I wasn’t going to spend loads on travelling. The flight was good but shame they confused us by saying the flight was due to be delayed for four hours!!!
On arrival I paid 5 rial for an entry visa (as a GCC resident you get a discount which is a bonus). To get a taxi you prepay and then have a mental Omani bloke drive like a maniac to the hotel. Once at the hotel the craziness dropped off.
This is a five star hotel so from the moment your taxi door is opened you are treated like a queen. I was asked to take a seat and was given a cold towel and a glass of orange and ginger juice. Check in formalities were done whilst I remained seated by a lovely Filipino lady. As I was too early she offered me complimentary coffee in the lounge and a wifi password to keep me occupied for a while. I also got a map of the hotel which as you can see if bloody huge.
In the lounge I could only get biscuits to nibble on but the waiter brought me loads to tide me over. Bless.
After waiting a few hours, a friend who has been here before suggested i pay the extra amount to upgrade. Upgrading would mean i would get access to the club lounge, drop off at the airport and free minibar. Plus it would mean i would get the room. So after sitting for 4 hours i finally got into a room.
The rooms were the normal 5 star standard of lovely, understated and Arabic designed. Lovely.
As quick as a flash i was in my bikini and had my beach bag ready to start exploring the 3 pools. I went in one direction and ended up in the Long Pool area. Each point of the pool had a section with a massive lounger (enough to fit 3 people) and steps into the pool. It was awesome. You could sit in the pool and the drinks would be brought to the edge to sip on whilst relaxing and topping of your tan.
After a while i went to the pool restaurant at the smaller pool area to have some lunch (Wagyhu burger and chips – when sunbathing i need a burger). Delicious and very proper.
After the meal and feeling very bloated I chilled by the Long pool for a bit longer. The whole point of this weekend was to do very little and to rest. I did a lot of that whilst on the massive lounger.
In the evening, i put on my semi fancy dress (thank god i brought it with me) and went to the club lounge for the free drinks. After a while of listening to couples chat, i went over to “The Restaurant”. Supposedly in the Top 100 list of restaurants in the world. Still feeling bloated i opted for Prawns in corriander (see picture) and also sashimi. Two starters might be weird but it was what i needed. There is another restaurant by the beach but with the mossies in love with me, i thought it best to stay away from there.
Being alone, the rest of the evening was spent chilling with my ipad and being lazy.
The next morning not planning very well, i sat by the beach after a lovely breakfast. At 12 I had the grand plan to go to the souk in Muscat, but of course the souks close from 12-4 in the Middle East so instead my lovely taxi driver took me to Muscat City Centre. It is the same as Deira City Centre in Dubai but smaller. I had lunch and then left there very quickly. I had the taxi drivers number so he picked me up from the mall and we organised for him to come and get me to take me to the souk later.
After checking out, i went to “The Spa” (yep they were clever with the names of stuff in the Chedi) and had the hot stone massage. To say it was painful would be an understatement but it did clear the really tight muscles on my top and lower back. Unfortunately the middle part of the back suffered for the next few days after. The spa was different in that there was no joint changing room, but you changed and got ready in each spa treatment room (each room contained a shower and toilet as well). It was like being in a hotel room with a massage bed and spa bath.
Finally after that i went to Muscat old town and saw the souk for a few minutes, buying the famous delicious halwa (saffron and regular) and some buqur (frankincense) for my parents.
Muscat is what you wish Dubai would be. Arabic designed everywhere even on new flyovers, growing but not high rise and with gentle kind locals. The locals work as taxi drivers, in shops, etc so you can talk to them to get an idea about the city. Even on a weekend the roads were quiet. The souk was old school with a covered warren of lanes with stalls selling various arabic things for locals and tourists. I wished i had planned better.
It is crazy to go to another country to stay mostly in a 5 star bling hotel but it was nice to get out of town. The only downside was the couples in the hotel. It was full of them; all staring as if us single people (3 in total) were freaks. Smug couples should remember that they could break up and that the grass might be greener on our side. Also a few unsubtle staff members at the hotel did ask if i was alone and then made a slight face. It’s not cool. Otherwise I had a lovely weekend away and highly recommend going to Muscat.