September 19, 2021
The expansive Gulf Sea tenderly laps the smooth sands of a cozy private beach dotted with palm trees. It then seemingly blends into a terrace of deep greens, pristine whites, and shimmering blues of what forms a two-tiered infinity pool. As the sun sets, the marine blues assume crimson-gold hues until night falls and the terrace comes alive with ambient yellow lights speckled to frame the still sparkling waters of the pool. That is the view from the 5 th floor of the Suite at Crowne Plaza Muscat. Mirror my spot from the far end of the horizon and you’ll see a cruise-liner-shaped hotel perched on a comfortable cliff top niche. An iconic landmark in itself, this hotel does not need to impose its magnificence; its rich history, distinctive design, and promise of panoramic views of the city, sea, and mountains attest to its grandeur.
One of the primary hotels to set up base in the country, Crowne Plaza Muscat, formerly Gulf Hotel, was the first structure in the area as early as 1975. In recent years, the hotel underwent some remodeling to enhance its facilities while still staying true to the unique boat theme that pays tribute to Oman’s rich trading and maritime heritage.
An architectural beauty, the hotel welcomes guests at its porte cochère where the beginning of the famed Omani hospitality begins. While you let the beaming staff members assist you in, a strange sense of tranquility starts seeping in as you hear the distant chirps from canopying trees harmoniously syncing with the sweet sound of the gushing waterfall that flanks the opposite side of the entrance.
With mellow shades of beige, orange, and brown inspiring the feeling of warmth, the uncluttered lobby and lounge overlook the not-so-distant sea. Evidence of Omani tradition and culture that is infused in the hotels otherwise contemporary linear designs finds its niches throughout the lobby, whether in the form of a life-sized Arabian Oryx statue that takes center stage amongst plush furnishings, a collection of earthen pots lining up a passage, or the delicately framed ornate artifacts denoting Omani jewelry that hang on the walls.
The journey of breathtaking views and plush interiors continues into the Sea View Suite. Minimalistic, spacious, and well-equipped, the most thoughtful feature is that each suite has two balconies – one that overlooks the city and the other that offers spectacular views of the terrace and pool that blend into the horizon. Those who are frequent at IHG’s Crowne Plaza hotels will also be familiar with their choice of premium bedding. A separate Jacuzzi and shower cabinet (because everyone has their special preferences) in the main bathroom makes shower time after a day of fun activities, a truly rejuvenating experience.
Activities are abundant at this property. Along with soaking in the pool, Crowne Plaza Muscat also has two tennis courts, two squash courts, and table tennis for those who’d want to try their hand at a quick game of ping-pong. Guests can also make the most of the Cliff Club that have a wide range of state-of-the-art equipment, whether you want to pump up those muscles or enjoy views of the serene lawn that merges into the sea while you clock kilometers on the treadmill.An exclusive steam and sauna room ensures that you can relax after an intense session in the gym.
Talking about ‘things to do’, one of the best experiences to not miss while at the Crowne Plaza Muscat is the sunset at Duke’s Bar. Though the restaurant offers both indoor and outdoor seating, the experience is best enjoyed out on the terrace. Undoubtedly, this is the spot where dozens of photographers and enthusiastic Instagrammers often flock to take that perfect shot in the golden hour. With a backdrop of the sun presumably sinking into the sea, the rugged mountains that border the edges of the hotel’s private beach, and the infinity pool spilling into the horizon, sunsets here will create an unforgettable memory that will remain etched in the minds.
Positioning itself as a business-cum-leisure property, Crowne Plaza Muscat knows how to strike the right balance between work and pleasure. With sophisticated meetings rooms lining the ground floor, it also offers a wide variety of award-winning dining options to cater to the varying taste buds of its multi-ethnic guests. While Shiraz serves a blend of Persian and Omani cuisine, Come Prima brings to the table a selection of authentic Italian dishes.
The breakfast buffet at The Restaurant is a testimony of the variety of cuisines that the hotel excels in. The breakfast experience forms a very important part of the stay and is often something that is most critically judged by guests. Apart from a wide selection of freshly baked breads, muffins and cakes, and the familiar English breakfast options, The Restaurant also serves a variety of popular Indian breakfast items. (Tip: Ask the chefs for their recommended Indian specials and they’ll be happy to cook it up for you.) A good assortment of seafood and meat options also lines the table. The Restaurant hosts two popular theme events – The Friday Brunch and the Seafood Night every Thursday and Friday.
Offering an all-inclusive stay experience, the Crowne Plaza Muscat offers a beautiful amalgamation of views to inspire, food that satiates any craving, and a plethora of activities to keep you entertained.