Distance : 27.513 Kms from Muscat Airport
This landmark palace hotel stands as an opulent monument honoring Arabic grandeur. All aglow in that sparkling shimmer of majestic splendor, that one experiences, the moment one steps into the cascading brilliance of the crystal fountain and the overhanging crystal chandelier cluster that adorns a breathtaking, 38 metre high domed atrium lobby. In all of my half a century of travelling the planet, I have scarcely come across a grander lobby than this one.
Often the home to visiting heads of states and members of royalty, this resort was originally built for the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Summit in 1985. This historic 30 year old property underwent a multi-million dollar renovation a few years ago in 2008. The decor of the octagonal lobby was spruced up, with intricate handcrafted wall embellishments that combined local traditions with art deco. Those eight imposing 18 metre arches, are decorated with an intriguing mix of interlocked geometric polygons, trapezoids, chevrons and sunburst motifs, arranged in symmetrical, layered patterns of maroon, brown and gold, that are woven together by an asymmetrical elevated white zig-zag ridge, of straight and angular lines. The lobby with this wondrous communion of shapes, sizes and sensations, contributed by the dome, arches, chandeliers, wall patterns, fountain and piped music, is an enchanting fusion that will never cease to mesmerize the beholder. Night or day, one always comes away feeling overwhelmed, when one traverses the lobby.
Set amid 200 acres of lush beachfront landscaping, this hotel has 250 guest rooms that include 8 Presidential Suites of 300 Sq Mtrs area, 44 other Executive Sea View/Mountain View/Junior Suites of 80 & 60 Sq Mtrs area. The I98 other regular Guest Rooms have an area of 40 Sq Mtrs each and come in Ocean/Mountain/Garden/Lagoon Pool View options, that the guests can choose from.
The twin-bedded room we stayed in, afforded soothing scenic views of the lagoon pool, manicured lawns and the lush gardens from the private balcony. Day time brought in abundant energizing sunlight through those expansive doors and windows. The tastefully furnished room had all amenities expected from a luxury hotel, including a well-stocked bar.
Bathing was a luxurious experience at the Al Bustan Palace on account of an alliance with the legendary British luxury goods brand Asprey of London. It is a celebrated name that is over two centuries old and among the most revered brands, that has held a Royal Warrant since 1862. Asprey is synonymous with the epitome of luxury and refinement.
There are a delectable choice of regional and international flavours that are on offer, in the multi-cuisine dining options provided. The hotel’s primary eatery is the sea-facing, all-day diner Al Khiran Terrace Restaurant, which is located at the first level alongside the shopping arcade. It has buffet offerings for all the three meals - breakfast, lunch and dinner, besides an comprehensive a-la-carte menu to choose from. This multiple award-winning restaurant with indoor and outdoor dining spaces, offers daily themed buffet nights. Indian Night on Sundays, International Street Food on Mondays, Italian on Tuesdays, Asian on Wednesdays, Traditional Omani Night on Thursdays, Steakhouse on Fridays and Seafood on Saturdays are the themes running currently.
The garden and poolside are serviced between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. by a well-stocked bar called Blu. At the lobby level guests can savour authentic Chinese cuisine, in one of the top Asian Restaurants in Oman - China Mood. This is a dinner only restaurant open between 7 p.m. and 11 p.m. The lobby also has an Atrium Tea Lounge open between 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. The English High Tea offering between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. is very popular. A selection of exotic teas, along with the traditional Omani Kahwa, dates and other short eats, are also set in an Arabic majlis floor seating adjacent to the imposing central dome, where a talented young Omani harpist plays soulful tunes, this makes for an interesting experience, that one will not forget in too much of a hurry.
The most exotic place to dine would definitely be the Beach Pavilion, where one can enjoy the freshest seafood in a beach grill. The Private Cabana, with the traditional lamps imbuing a warm glow to the setting on the white sandy beach, overlooking the sea, under a canopy of bright stars must surely rank as the most romantic spot in Oman to dine in. This ought to be the perfect spot to serenade one’s beloved and celebrate a very special occasion.
For guests who are activity-inclined, there are an abundance of water-options in which they can indulge themselves at Al Bustan Palace. These include four lagoon pools, a children’s pool and a 50 metre long temperature-controlled infinity pool, that connects the Al Khiran restaurant outdoor terrace, to the beach front. The hotel also boasts of the longest private beach in the country, extending over one kilometre. This free access to the water, ensures that the guests have an exciting bouquet of sea-based activities also like sailing, wind-surfing, kayaking, diving, snorkeling and dolphin watching, that they could opt for. In addition the property also houses a 2000 Sq Ft state-of-the-art Fitness Centre, with separate steam and sauna rooms for ladies and gentlemen, four floodlit tennis courts, a children’s playground, beach football/volleyball area and a scenic jogging trail.
One of the experiences that stood out for me, was my post-breakfast splash in the pool, followed by the laze on a sun-bed along the poolside, close to the white-
sand beachfront cabana, which afforded me a glimpse of both the pool and the sea at the same time. The cooling gentle mid-day breeze that blew, brought along with it some soft wafting music that was being played at Blu the Pool & Garden Restaurant. Before long this heady mix of musical breeze, lulled my senses into a comforting hour-long slumber, from which my body and spirit emerged absolutely refreshed. I must also add here the touch of thoughtfulness that was shown by the hotel, they provided cold water bottles in small cooling boxes gratis, to the lounging guests. This attention to detail was heartwarming, and a testimonial to the lengths, they go to fulfill the unexpressed wishes and needs, of their valued guests.
A massive 3000 Sq Mtrs Six Senses Spa, with 17 treatment rooms, where one can avail some exclusive therapies, to awaken one’s senses, is also a choice the guest may like to avail.
With over 4000 Sq Mtrs of function space, that includes Majan - Oman’s largest ballroom, Al Bustan Palace has one of the grandest convention centres in the Middle East.
The grand Majan Hall that measures over 1200 Sq Mtrs can comfortably host 2000 guests. For more modest gatherings there is the Qantab Room with a private sea-facing terrace, that will take in 250 guests.
These two can also double up as spectacular beach-wedding options as well, when one takes into account their connecting up with the private beachside, through the adjoining lawns set in a sprawling garden. These two venues are renowned to have rolled out the red carpet, for some of the most memorable get-togethers, ever hosted in the Sultanate.
The Lion & The Crown Experience
My holiday experience was taken up several notches, by these little subtle details that I had observed during my memorable stay at the Al Bustan Palace.
Exquisite fresh flower decorations adorned the various foyers, lift embarkation areas, private nooks, toilets, shopping floor and other public spaces.
The presence of attentive uniformed wait staff, who were smartly turned out in their distinctive liveries and aprons, lent a very formal feel to the dining experience. I also found that the staff, warmly and sincerely greeted each guest using their name, be it in the restaurant, lobby, room or the poolside. Even the television had the name of the guest emblazoned on its screen, that really personalises the care that one feels in the service being extended by these hospitality professionals. They indeed go that extra mile, to see that all their guests are comfortable and made to feel ‘special’.
This palatial beachfront Al Bustan Palace destination, that offers all the top flight luxuries one can imagine, along with the spectacular views of the Sea of Oman and the Al Hajar Mountains, must certainly rank as one of those rare hospitality retreats that is equally desirable, for couples and business guests, as it is for families.
No small wonder that the Al Bustan
Palace, is called the “Jewel Of The Sultanate” and it truly glorifies the acclaimed “Lion & The Crown” tradition of elegance, refinement and regal living, celebrated the world over, and offers its guests memorable ways to make their vacation experience, one that would be treasured for a lifetime.
AL Bustan Palace
Al Bustan Street,
Tel: +968 24 799666
Kindly visit our website for bookings.