Distance : 91.623 Kms from Muscat Airport
that derived its origins from a quaint Sanskrit expression that modestly describes ‘surprise’. However, what at first glance of the place is that rare, soul-stirring mix of astonishment, amazement and bewilderment, as you gape in disbelief at the wonder you got to behold.
This remote stylish resort nestled in the heart of the central section of the cold and misty Al Hajar mountains, is just 171 km away from the Muscat International Airport. The place is a quick two and a half drive from the capital, but accessible only by 4WD. Perched atop the Al Sayq Plateau 6000 feet above sea level facing the plunging gorges and dramatic rock formations of the “The Green Mountains,” the eco-friendly resort has been caringly designed to sit in perfect harmony with the breathtaking location. This unique destination of secluded refinement, is a sanctuary dedicated to the peace and splendor of the mountains offering a living on the edge tranquility to one’s soul.
This contemporary-styled newest member of the ‘Design Hotels’ portfolio was created under the aegis of “Omran” the Tourism Development Company of Oman. They now have joined the elite list of Originals, who are acclaimed the world over for their passion for immaculate craftsmanship, impeccable quality and following their signature ‘artisan’ philosophy of excellence in the pursuit of perfection.
The resort is laid out in an orderly scatter of independent individual double-storey clusters of four to six suites, besides some rooms in the massive main block. The buildings inspired by ancient forts, is a charming marriage of traditional construction techniques and modern minimalist architecture.
The construct assumes a distinct character on account of the rough-cut grayish-black ophiolite rock blocks hewn from the surrounding hillocks, that were used extensively to create those aesthetic high-ceilinged spaces.
The gigantic fort-like black studded-wood doors swing open to reveal a cavernous lobby area that is exquisitely embellished in the damask rose pattern with many other Omani silver and copper ornaments and artifacts of Bahla pottery elegantly displayed along the walls.
One cannot miss the large fireplace which is a popular lounging haunt for the guests at nights, when the temperature plummets to single digits.
There are some 84 beautifully appointed suites and two villas available for the guests. This choice includes six types of accommodation ranging from two regally expansive 3875 Sq Ft Villas to the popular more modest triple-option 560 Sq Ft Mountain, Horizon or Ridge View Suites. Somewhere in the middle there are also these 1120 Sq Ft large Jabal Terrace and Loft Suites, that overlook the plunging gorge.
The various structures have been generously spaced out around the cliff-top to maximize privacy and provide uninterrupted views of the mountains and gorges.
The Juniper Restaurant that commanded gorgeous views of the mountain horizon, is a copious eatery with a distinctive ambience, created by those tall stone pillars, a ridged ceiling with a myriad suspended lantern lights emanating a warm electric glow, a dark wooden floor and walls adorned with huge driftwoods.
The restaurant serves an eclectic menu inspired by Arabic elements. It can cater to over hundred diners at a time. It was been christened after the juniper trees that abundantly grow in these Omani highlands. The diners have flexible seating options as they have an open deck seating, the indoor main air-conditioned seating and a closed corner private dining area, where they can choose to dine.
The taste of those delicious Kanafeh Pastry Wrapped Tiger Prawns with Spiced Red Pepper Puree which Sri Lankan Chef Mohammed Naleef presented at dinner, comes flooding back to memory as I think about the restaurant.
The multi-cultural culinary team here is infinitely talented and make some amazing gastronomic delights that will linger in one’s taste palate for a very long time. It is open between 7 am and 11 pm.
The well-stocked, softly-lit, cosy and warm Rose Lounge, is a bar that also offers a wide range of light eats for those guests who enjoy their drinks while on a holiday. The lounge is open from 11 am until very late.
Spa Alila with its seven treatment rooms offers guests Asian healing techniques with age old beauty recipes, administered by expert hands flown in from Indonesia.
In addition to the above facilities, the resort also boasts of two fully equipped boardrooms that can facilitate exclusive executive retreats. There are two swimming options, in the temperature-controlled indoor plunge bath and the heated outdoor infinity pool, besides a 24 hour fitness centre and a quiet library. Alila Living allows guests to shop for souvenirs to take back as a memory.
The wood and stone suites, with those characteristic hand-painted leaves of juniper trees, makes one feel the enlivening presence of nature within the room. The en-suite bathing area and tub overlooking the mountains is a very different experience from other resorts.
The balcony and terraces of the suites make for excellent perches to witness the mesmerizing sunrises and sunsets from, besides indulging in some serious star-gazing in the peace of the night.
The relaxed, off the beaten track holiday a guest is privileged to experience here conforms exactly to how Alila has chosen to so aptly summarize it, as something “surprisingly different” and it is wonderfully so. The renowned rugged landscape in which Alila has chosen to locate itself has something unique to offer to every type of holiday-maker, be it the nature lover, adventure traveler or someone who just wants to seek a brief refuge in serenity.
Alila, is endowed with that memorable enrapturing allure that has the power to entice you to revisit it many times, over a lifetime.
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