Short Break: Al Bustan Palace, Muscat

Muscat is such a great destination for a weekend break from the UAE. At only 45 minutes away by plane, it’s just so easy to get to and is so beautiful whether you want to get out and explore or relax and do nothing at all.

We spent a lovely long weekend recently at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel (a Ritz Carlton Hotel) in Muscat, which has to be – in terms of service, one of the best hotels we’ve stayed in to date…

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The hotel opened in 1985 after having been built for the GCC Conference by Sultan Qaboos. It’s a pretty grand affair inside with 250 rooms and of course the ninth floor is reserved for the Sultan and his family, not even the hotel staff are allowed to go up there!

But it’s the lobby that strikes you as soon as you enter the building. It’s 38 metres in height and was built specifically to represent the same height of the surrounding mountains and features a three tonne Swarovski crystal chandelier, along with a Lalique crystal fountain as its centrepieces.

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The lobby is so wide and high that it’s very difficult to get a decent photo of!

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Of course the grounds are immaculate and the beach is reportedly the longest private beach in the Sultanate of Oman! We pretty much just enjoyed lazing around the pool and beach and even when the hotel was busy there was still a great feeling of space and privacy around the grounds.

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The most recent addition to the hotel in the last year is the Six Senses Spa, which of course it would have been rude not to have taken the opportunity to explore! 😉 I love a good massage, and it was great to escape and completely switch off for the afternoon. If you’re visiting and in need of some TLC, it’s definitely worth a visit.

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The hotel even has its own theatre which was requested by Sultan Qaboos himself to hold performances and concerts. He even founded the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra who hold concerts there twice a year (and if you happen to be staying in the hotel at the time, you’ll get free tickets!).

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And with all grandeur aside, I have to say the service was also remarkable. From the moment we were greeted at the door to the moment we left, I don’t think I could fault them. The staff were so friendly and helpful and couldn’t do enough to make our stay just right. We’ve stayed in a lot of five-star hotels around the world now and at this hotel it has to be said, they’re definitely doing it right. We were impressed from the word go. And you know how there’s usually at least one thing in a place like this where there’s a hiccup? Where one member of staff or department didn’t get the memo about customer service – well, this just didn’t happen. We found everyone from cleaners to front of house, to pool and beach staff to be equally accommodating. Everyone was so helpful, and there really wasn’t any such thing as no – if we needed it or asked for it, whatever it was, we got it. The service was spectacular from start to finish – and no, this isn’t a sponsored post, it really is my genuine impression of what we experienced throughout our stay!

For families, it’s also worth noting that the hotel has their own in-house club, Ritz Kids that holds lots of activities throughout the day to keep the kids amused. Baby Arabian Notes is still too young for this unfortunately, but it didn’t stop him experiencing the great service too! The staff all seemed to be very child friendly and want to help out wherever they could. And one particular morning after a bad night teething, Baby Arabian Notes decided to take great exception to sitting in the high chair for breakfast – he literally screamed the place down unless he was being held…! Thankfully, the amazing staff came to our rescue and whisked Baby off to a kids play area in the corner of the restaurant to play and keep him amused so we were able to eat breakfast ourselves. I had made up a plate of food for him from the buffet which they happily took along and he was able to eat while he played. In my opinion it’s the extra things like this – the extra effort and attention from the staff that can make a huge difference to how your holiday goes, especially when there’s a baby in tow! We were grateful for the short break to allow us to eat, that’s for sure! 🙂

We booked our hotel through HotelsCombined.ae where you can search by location or specific hotel name to get a price comparison on all the different room options from all the main travel sites in one place – it saves a fair bit of time and web trawling for the cheapest deals! They even have a best price guarantee where if you can find a cheaper price they’ll refund you the difference!

Up next, watch out for my post on 8 Things to Do in Muscat Old Town itself – coming soon… 🙂

Let me know your thoughts and comments here!

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