Hotel Review: Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar in Oman
Words by Amira Arasteh
Be introduced to the real Middle East in this breathtaking mountain retreat. Two hours drive from the capital city of Muscat, this mountain escape offers you a retreat of decadent surroundings, and unparalleled views.
Walking through the entrance of the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, I was immediately hit with grandeur. From the size and genuineness of the welcome to the immensity of the chandelier hanging in the foyer, it was clear that detail and first impressions were of simultaneous importance at this hotel.
We pass through what I later find out is a replica of ‘al falaj’, the water irrigation system in the Jebel Akhdar mountains. The grounds are unobtrusive and allow me to focus fully on the night sky, which is blanketed with tiny stars. It’s a far cry from London.
My room is the perfect balance of traditional decor with modern comforts. A cosy blend of golden hues, I am instantly warmed, wanting to curl up on the large bed that sits opposite what I know will be the most incredible view in the morning. I open the curtains; it is the black of night currently but I know I will be grateful tomorrow.
I miss summer days in London, where the rising sun would naturally – and gently – wake me for the working day. I cannot wait to have the same experience here – but better, as a cliff view, with the limestone rock dropping over into the canyon, will be my view, rather than the concrete jungle of the city.
I settle down on the lavish chaise, feeling slightly less elegant than the ornate detail of its material. However, it is the perfect spot to ravenously devour (I told you the chair was more elegant than me) my mezze platter of kibbeh, tabbouleh, hummus and fattoush, which I ordered to my room. Not one to miss out on a moment of this life of luxury.
The grounds do not disappoint as I walk through them the next day, feeling slightly like Simba in The Lion King, as the sunlight touches everything in the Anantara kingdom. Breakfast is in Al Maisan, meaning ‘Rising Star’, and I could not ask for a more beautiful setting in which to eat my fresh watermelon, made-to-order omelette and labneh.
The columns of the building stand tall and the light sparkles through the cut-out design of the windows, filling the room with brightness. I’m pretty sure a couple of watermelon slices missed my mouth as I was distracted, gazing up at the intricately designed ceiling.
Lunch is at another one of the resort’s restaurants, Bella Vista, translated to ‘Beautiful Sight’. This is next to the infinity pool, which looks so inviting and the epitome of an five-star resort holiday. It is only the seafood soup and fresh tuna salad – both divine – that keep me firmly in my seat.
The view is gorgeous. An exceptional spot, adjacent to Diana’s Point, where the late princess famously visited with Prince Charles in 1986. Later on that day, I will watch the sunset from the rocks, with the soothing sound of the falling water rippling and making the perfect background noise for a proposal I witness being made.
After what I can only describe as a mild form of gatecrashing a poor couple’s most personal moment, I retreat to Al Burj, ‘The Tower’ bar for some cocktails. The chandeliers in this part of the hotel are even more opulent than the ones I first saw upon my arrival. Should you dine at the restaurant below the bar – which I thoroughly recommend you do for a true gastronomical immersion into Middle Eastern cuisine – you can gaze up at the same lights and lanterns.
A trip such as this one would not be complete without a relaxing visit to the spa. Keen to fully indulge, my body was only too eager to absorb the essential oils as the stress of London life was kneaded out of me. Each evening, I detoured to the spa to mentally switch off with a relaxing dip in the jacuzzi pool and steam room; my mind a world away from its usual thoughts.
More interested in natural architecture? Take a walk on the cable track of the via ferrata – 2086m above sea level – this Anantara offers guests to experience. If you’re not fixated on putting one foot in front of the other, clutching the cable wire like a security blanket (this was me), you will cast your eyes upon an even more breathtaking view than your bedroom balcony can offer. Inducing a natural high, you’re literally in Green Mountain, absorbing the immensity of the jagged rock which encompasses you.
My thoughts as my stay at the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar drew to an end? That I’d love to return with my dad who, as a structural engineer, would fully appreciate both the structural and visual design of this resort. Any (selfless) excuse to go back…
Address: No 110, Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Nizwa 621, Oman
Phone: +968 25 218000