Luxury Hotels


From New York, Global Wellness Institute’s Beth McGroarty sees 2023 wellness trends including  being strong on city wellness, microdosing, emotional expression,  EMDR therapy and frequency based healing (help, can someone please translate? Ed). Back down to basics.

Feeling better about oneself is of course a worldwide phenomenon.  In London, THE LONDONER now has a programme whereby such trainers as fat loss specialist Stuart Baikham offer twelve hour-long one-to-one sessions over a period of six weeks.

In Muscat, the 250-room AL BUSTAN, A RITZ-CARLTON HOTEL has such a variety of wellness offerings there is simply no reason to leave the resort. But when you do, you are thankful for what the hotel has done for you – see its Gratitude Tree, above, near the spa.

The hotel has a two-floor wellness centre, ten minutes’ walk from the main building – look out as you work out on your piece of Technogym, at padel and tennis courts, and pools, including one for kids that has four curved chutes. If you want to swim straight from your room, get a lowest-level Lagoon View, say #103: about 40 sq m, with you have a deep Kohler tub and from the rear door, it’s three steps across a deck and three steps down into the man-made lagoon that runs parallel with the building. And although you can go by golf cart, walk for 12 minutes via beach and re-wilded greenery to the sanctuary that is the Al Bustan Spa.  It’s magnificent, an Arab palace (though lilliputian in comparison to the main nine-floor hotel with its upper windows cantilevered out like an inverted ziggurat).

It can be, honestly, quite intimidating when you first arrive at this hotel. There are small intimate lobbies which don’t expect you to linger – think TRUMP NEW YORK. There are massively spacious lobbies, along the lines of MANDARIN ORIENTAL ABU DHABI EMIRATES PALACE. And then there is this one.  The Al Bustan, coming up to its 40th birthday, still, even at a repeat visit, overwhelms.  Enter and even a basket ball player feels like a midget.  You go in through somewhat inconspicuous doors to find yourself in an octagon, 73m from any facet to its opposite.  It’s a honey marble confection, and so huge that even carefully-set groups of upholstered seating cannot get in the way. Anyway, that’s up there and, as if in a separate world, down there at ground level you have rooms, and enormous outside areas and the ability to feel fabulous.

And you do.  Breakfast on Kitchen’s deck, table 32, tell the server, inside, for the omelette to augment a three-station copious buffet, lebaneh instead of yoghurt today, Beurre d’Isigny and Bonne Maman to go with zaatar-topped breads, and let us try local smoked fish. Read the impressive Times of Al Bustan Palace, which salutes employees of the month – Nawaf Al Mudhafar, front desk agent; guardian angel of the month, Caroline Shatsala from Kenya, and guest voice champion Ei Ei Khin from Yangon. No wonder every employee seems so passionate as well as professional. Someone cares about them (a fact noticed an hour later as, in the spa, Miss North-East India supplements ESPA’s products with her skilled facial massage).  And everyone cares about you, the customer, and you feel better for being here.