This vibrant itinerary combines some of the highlights of northern Oman, including the capital city of Muscat, the vast desert of Wahiba Sands and the dramatic forts and hidden villages around Nizwa in the stunning Hajar Mountains.
Oman is an excellent destination for families, with superb child-friendly hotels and plenty of activities to suit all ages. A combination of the beach, mountains and desert makes for an easy-going but exciting trip, which can easily be tailored for you.
Oman is a country with dramatic landscapes, magnificent forts, vast empty deserts, rugged mountain ranges and stunning coastlines. Imagine India specialist Louise has travelled extensively throughout the country and is very passionate about this little known Middle East destination. We have asked her to whittle down her ideas to come up with the top five reasons why Oman should be your next holiday destination…
This luxurious itinerary takes in Oman’s most breathtaking sites, including the dramatic Hajar mountains and powdery white beaches of Salalah. Spend a night under the stars in an exclusive private camp, and be awe-inspired by Muscat’s Grand Mosque.
Al Bustan Palace
Best for: Beach, Family, Honeymoon
Built to accommodate visiting heads of state, the sophisticated luxury of the Ritz-Carlton Al Bustan Palace is literally fit for a king and makes a stunning base for a beachside holiday to Oman.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Standing in lush palm-filled gardens, with lavishly grand public spaces and exceptional levels of service, the Al Bustan Palace was originally built in 1985 for visiting heads of state attending the GCC Summit. As such, it is one of Oman’s most distinguished hotels full of Arabian style and splendour. The lobby is 38-metres high, perfumed with frankincense and glimmers with golden tones and polished marble under an intricate and oversized chandelier. The grandeur of the public interior spaces is matched by the beauty and relaxed vibe of the gardens. Sitting along a long stretch of stunning coastline facing the Gulf of Oman and backed by the dramatic scenery of the Hajar Mountains, the hotel is around 35-kilometres from Muscat and a 30-minute drive from the international airport.
There are 218 rooms and 40 suites offering classic international style and comfort. All rooms have balconies with views over the garden, ocean or mountains, while Lagoon Access Rooms allow guests to go straight from their private terrace to the pool. Rooms can be interconnected for families and enjoy air-conditioning, Wi-Fi, marble bathroom, flat-screen TV, Satellite TV, minibar and butler service on request. Suites also include a separate living room. For a touch of Arabian glamping, the hotel can also offer a camping experience for children sharing a room with their parents with an in-room tent. The hotel has three main restaurants: Al Khiran Terrace for themed buffet-style dining; China Mood for wonderful Asian cuisine and the atmospheric Beach Pavilion which offers sophisticated beachside dining. High Tea is offered in the Atrium Lounge, while the BLU Bar in the gardens is a lovely spot for a sundowner.
The beautiful gardens offer direct access to the one-kilometre stretch of private beach and guests can enjoy four lagoon pools, a children’s pool and a 50-metre infinity-edged pool. There are also four floodlit tennis courts and the services of a tennis coach, a fitness centre with a programme of daily classes and a wonderful Six Senses Spa with fitness area and yoga pavilion. Non-motorised watersports are also available, along with snorkelling, diving and fishing trips. This iconic hotel is conveniently located for exploring the culture, history and traditions of Oman and runs a daily bus shuttle to Muscat. Full of Arabic grandeur and charm, with warm and attentive service, we’d recommend the Al Bustan Palace to families and couples looking to relax by the beach and explore the local area.
When to go
The most popular time to visit northern Oman is from November to March, when daytime temperatures are around 25-30 degrees Celsius, with warm seas and blue skies. Whilst there may be the odd rainy day, these are pretty infrequent, although occasionally there can be tropical storms which can last a few days. From May to September, humidity and temperatures soar, with July and August often experiencing temperatures of over 40 degrees Celsius.
To start planning your tailor-made holiday, call us on (646) 934-8916
Things to do
Nizwa Friday Market
The Nizwa Friday Market offers a fascinating insight into Omani culture, as farmers from the mountains and desert gather to buy and sell camels, sheep, goats and cattle. There is a live auction close to the entrance to the souk.
Bait Al Baranda Museum
Built in the 1930s, this former American Mission was converted into a Museum in 2006, focusing on the history of Muscat reaching right back to the 1st century AD.
Dolphin Watching from Muscat
Many species of dolphin can be found in the waters off Muscat, including bottlenose and spinners. The pods often number hundreds of dolphins, and the chance of sightings is very high. The views back onto the coast are also stunning.
Jabal Shams & the Carpet Weavers of Wadi Ghul
Jabal Shams is Oman's highest peak, rising just over 2,000 metres above sea level. The area is often referred to as Oman's Grand Canyon, and the views from Jabal Shams down into Wadi Ghul below are breathtaking.
Muscat Cooking Class
This hands-on cooking class is an entertaining experience both for first-time cooks, and for those who know their way around the kitchen. Visit a local market to pick up ingredients, and then learn how to transform them into delicious dishes.
Get your adrenalin pumping by climbing to the top of Jabal Shams using the Via Ferratta; a metal cable and rungs in the rock face. Whilst not for the faint hearted, this is an exciting experience for adventure enthusiasts!
Wadi Arbayeen Day Excursion
Venture south of Muscat to explore Oman’s stunning coastline and enjoy a BBQ lunch in one of the country's most picturesque wadis. Wadi Arbayeen is lined with lush date palms, and features deep pools of water, surrounding by soaring mountains.
Half Day Muscat City Tour
Muscat is a fantastic mixture of history, tradition and modern influences. Explore the capital with your private guide, taking in the highlights of this modern Arabian city.
Coffee with the Curator at the Bait Adam
Visit the fascinating Bait Adam Museum in Muscat where you can enjoy a traditional Omani coffee with the curator, and learn more about the country's history as well as the museum's impressive collection.
Like the round tower fort in Nizwa, Jabrin Castle was built during the 17th century. Explore this historic castle, which offers panoramic views across the countryside and beautifully intricate design and decorations.
Private Dolphin Watching & Snorkelling Trip
Enjoy a private boat trip into the Gulf of Oman, searching for dolphins and whales before heading to Bandar al Khiran to snorkel amongst the coral reefs, which are home to a variety of fish species and even turtles.
Nizwa Fort & Souk
Explore Nizwa, where you can learn about the history of Oman's previous capital city, visit the fascinating Nizwa Fort and take a stroll through the winding souk, brimming with trinkets, handicrafts, antiques and spices.
Dinner with an Omani Family
Enjoy an evening meal with a local Omani family in their home, where you can learn about their day-to-day life, culture and beliefs. This is a fantastic way to gain a better understanding of this fascinating country and its people.
Visit the Royal Opera House
Take a tour of Muscat's impressive Royal Opera House. The serene, white-washed exterior contrasts beautifully with an opulent interior, decorated with intricately carved wooden panels, ethereal archways and lavish design.
Visit Bahla Fort, one of the oldest and most dramatic forts in Oman, as well as designated UNESCO World Heritage Site. The fort also has extensive battlements which run along the valley, and the nearby town is famous for its pottery.
Daytrip to the Damaniyat Islands (Private Charter)
Enjoy a private boat trip out to the incredible Damaniyat Islands, and spend the day swimming, snorkelling and paddle boarding amongst the beautiful scenery. The area is home to a myriad of marine life and coral reefs.