Within the next five years Oman can expect several significant-quality hotels (Girlahead is trying, unsuccessfully, to avoid the over-used adjective ‘luxury’). In the North, the owner of SIX SENSES ZIGHY BAY is scouting around, supposedly doing ‘another one’ in the region. In the far South, Salalah, included in The New York Times’ 2023 top ten tourist destinations for 2023, badly needs more hotels.
Stuck in the middle, so to speak, is the capital, Muscat. Four Seasons, Mandarin and St Regis are at various stages of the development tunnel. NIKKI BEACH, by contrast, is coming along so well it even has a show room, complete with sand outside its all-wall window (there are some admirable room features – all beds face the windows, and the sea local-marble bedheads drop down so that anyone sitting at the bed-wide desk immediately behind also has a sea view, and so on). Nikki Beach, with 173 rooms in two six-floor blocks, is anchor of a massively ambitious project at beautiful Yiti Bay, which also has a large marina. An Indigo is scheduled for Yiti Bay stage two – it will go behind the army of cranes in the image above – the buildings to the right are Six Senses.
Many locals think Muscat Bay, like Yiti Bay to the south of the city, is the most beautiful area of town. Here, the rugged sandstone that cines right down to the water’s edge is sandwiched with layers of rose pink and even damson purpke (the result is like one of those glass tubes containing layers of coloured sand that English kids used to spend their pocket money on when holidaying on the Isle of Wight). JUMEIRAH MUSCAT BAY, which apparently was once envisaged as a Ritz-Carlton, therefore attracts not only kocal staycationers but also families and others spending a few hours at a spot that is near-holy to their nation. Girlahead lunched at the 195-room hotel with its Turkish GM, Zaki Ozal and the net table was occupied by 13 local ladies, all of them in flowing black robes and face-free, hair-covering veils (their box-like handbags were in a variety of macaroon hues).
Ozal stresses Adventurous Wellbeing, say hiking and desert camping, He originally intended to be a lawyer but a part-time job as a telephone operator at SHERATON ISTANBUL diiverted plans. Part-time today he’s a pretty savvy social media operator. He heard a million-follower influencer was in town and a couple of hours later that influencer had moved in, with girlfriend, thus lowering, if only by the weeniest iota, the average guest age. Well, says the GM, people come here to relax, and taste super-Italian in Prezza, which has an outdoor lounge on its roof. And to spa. Talise has two identical floors, one for guys and one for girls, and a separate facility. As with bedrooms, all windows face the sea. The highlight must be sitting in the black leaher chair that is part of podiatrist Bastien Gonzalez’s set up here. Now that must be an ultimate memory. Gazing out to sea and sitting in the chair, Bastien’s onsite disciple Safa doing her foot thing. Heaven.
And now see a room tour at Jumeirah Muscat Bay