For my recent birthday weekend we’d decided to visit the The Chedi, Muscat. We had wanted to get out of the UAE for a bit of a break and a rest from work, and since we didn’t feel like venturing too far, we decided that spending a weekend at the hotel as somewhere we’d long since wanted to visit would be the perfect solution. Only a 50 minute flight away from Abu Dhabi (or a six to seven hour drive, but we didn’t fancy that since Baby Arabian Notes current position on my bladder would make that journey a most uncomfortable feat, not to mention the fear of finding enough appropriate bathroom stops on the way, so to fly was an easy decision this time).
We’ve visited Muscat before, but people have talked about The Chedi as a must visit location since it opened back in 2003, so with having lived in the UAE since 2006 (mostly!) and with it being under the banner as one of the Leading Hotels of the World group, it was about time we paid it a visit.
On arrival we were warmly welcomed and ushered to sit down while the reception staff took care of the paperwork and checking in process for us. It was a very good way to start, and although our room wasn’t yet ready, we were offered a couple of waiting options and were ushered through to the lobby lounge for a nice cup of tea.
After enjoying relaxing in the lobby lounge and a refreshing tea, we decided to move through to the Serai Pool to grab a spot of lunch where shortly after we’d ordered, were informed our room was ready – hurrah!
The hotel is set in perfectly manicured and very well cared for grounds which adds to the luxurious and exclusive atmosphere of the place.
All throughout our stay we found the service to be impeccable – the staff were all only too happy to help, no matter what our requirements and we were always addressed and welcomed by name when we arrived to dine anywhere in the hotel which I always find an impressive touch. I’m never sure how hotels do this, I can only imagine that somewhere behind the scenes they have a photo board with passport images of all the guests that staff are required to memorise, but who knows. However they do it, it’s a pretty special touch.
The hotel is set in large grounds and has three pools, each set in a different area. The Serai Pool that I have already mentioned (and pictured earlier) is the family pool of the hotel and the only place that children under 16 are allowed to swim, along with their parents although there weren’t too many families staying in the hotel. There were a few around but the hotel definitely has a much more adult and grown up feel than many. The pool is well shaded and there are also plenty of shady spots to sit around the pool too to keep little ones cool and out of the sun.
The Chedi Pool lies next to the beach at the opposite side of the resort to the family pool and is only for those aged 16 and over. There are options to sit pool side on the sand or on the tiled pool side under the structure which provides partial shade depending on the time of day. The beach is quite pebbly, but is still inviting with the waves gently lapping at the shore and is also long enough to take a decent walk from one end to the other.
The Long Pool is also an area only suitable for those aged 16 and over, but is designed to impress. This pool has the feel of where the ‘cool kids’ hang out, with ambient music gently oozing from well hidden speakers around the place. It’s the sort of place that could have easily fallen straight out of an advert for a relaxed but chilled post party pool lounge in Ibiza.
After having settled in comfortably and spent our first night in the hotel, we decided to book ourselves in for a treat the next day – a massage at the spa, and after breakfast we took a leisurely wander around en route to the spa.
The spa is set at the far end of the resort, next to the Long Pool and above the Health Club, and is an impressive large space with 13 treatment rooms, but still with a warm and relaxing feel of a space much smaller. The staff at the spa was exceptional, and both myself and Mr. Arabian Notes thoroughly enjoyed our massage experiences. The spa staff were friendly and helpful and the therapists were extremely skilled and due to the fact they explained the process and what was involved very clearly, it meant there was none of that awkwardness there can sometimes be that arises from confusion or misunderstanding. The most heavenly massage followed and I can only say it was one of the most impressive spas all round that I have visited in a while – everything was perfectly planned and executed.
During our three night stay in the hotel, we ate in The Restaurant, The Beach Restaurant and enjoyed room service one night. The Restaurant serves a varied, international buffet breakfast and to be honest, was probably my culinary highlight of every day. There was so much choice and the quality of everything was top-notch. The buffet even changed slightly each day which helped provide even more variety. My favourites had to be the Belgian waffles and the gorgeous little yoghurt pots. No fear of any shop bought or branded yoghurt pots being left on display here, it was all put together in-house in the cutest little jars with a selection of homemade fruit purées to mix in to choose from. The Restaurant also serves an international à la carte menu for dinner every evening which we also found to be of good quality.
One other foody thing that I couldn’t go past was their selection of pastries made in-house. The counter itself was so inviting, you just had to look – and of course, I couldn’t not try one of their Mille-feuille, or a vanilla slice as we tend to call it back in the UK. I can honestly say that I cannot remember the last time I had a proper cream cake that was as amazing as this slice of heaven was. I have certainly not seen anything in the UAE that comes close to even looking half as tempting as this did! Amazing layers of crumbly, crisp pastry with fresh vanilla cream and icing on top – my explanation just cannot do it justice and frankly, I’d say it was worth paying a visit to the hotel just to try one of their pastries.
As is typical, you go wild and enjoy a little treat for your birthday, and then another one comes along. Not long after we’d finished licking our lips from the Mille-feuille, there was a knock at our door and a birthday cake was delivered for me! Another lovely touch – complete with candle and matches for me to make my birthday wish, and thankfully there was room in the mini-fridge so we could save it for the next day!
We had a fabulous weekend at The Chedi, Muscat and were kept more than well fed and watered with the selection of places to dine on offer. All the food was of an excellent standard although as you might suspect, it does come at a price.
The staff was attentive and helpful without ever being intrusive, and were only too happy to help in any way they could – any request was thoroughly investigated if not easily fixed and a pleasing solution was always provided. The only minus point I could pick out was with the hotel wi-fi – although it is supposed to be available by the pool areas we did not manage to find the signal at all outdoors, nor were we able to connect in the lobby lounge. The only place we could get wi-fi was in our room, although we felt it didn’t really matter since we were on holiday and really wanting to get away from it all. In our experience, Muscat does tend to be surprisingly expensive on the whole (in hotels), even in comparison to Dubai, and even though the overall experience at The Chedi was very positive, you do need to be prepared to dust off your wallet somewhat.