For the past week we have been climbing up mountains, jumping into natural springs, bashing sand dunes, hanging by a harness of the ‘grand canyon of Oman’ and mounting camels – it has been non-stop. For the grand finale of the trip we headed back to Muscat for two days of much needed relaxing before our flight home. After some research of hotels in Muscat, the same names kept coming up… The Kempinski, Muscat was one of them.
The Kempinski, Muscat has welcomed guests through it’s grand doors from since 21st March 2018. As the newest hotel to their world-wide collection of properties it is undoubtably an exciting addition to the pack.
If you google the hotel, you will immediately see hundreds of images of it’s lobby. And for good reason. It’s a showpiece inspired by the Al Alam Palace (the most important of the six royal residences of the ruling monarch) and before you’ve even got past reception, you will have had your first of many ‘insta-grammable moments’.
‘Would you like a glass of water ma’am?’ asked one of the staff. ‘Oh yes please’ we replied. ‘And how would you like that – cool or at room temperature?’ – in my half asleep state after a four hour drive from the desert and having never been given this option before, I stumbled over my words before asking for it to be cool. From that moment, I knew that this was going to be a special few days with every detail considered. The Kempinski Muscat were always a step ahead of us.
As we sipped our cool water from the lobby our eyes were down to the satisfyingly symmetrical gardens which have been landscaped with German precision. But before we could explore those, we were whisked off to our Deluxe Sea View Room. Finally a room with high tech light switches that I don’t have to play a guessing game with, a bed reminiscent of a cloud (with a pillow menu at hand – of course), a bath so big our minds drifted back to the twinkling natural springs we were swimming through earlier that day and a welcome snack of succulent dates, the fruit at the heart of Omani culture. The Deluxe Sea View Room is what it says on the tin. It’s the second category room you can book at the hotel and it gives you a beautiful view over the Gulf of Oman – particularly special at 5.45 in the morning as the sun rises over the pool and the sky turns purple. During our stay we also took a look at the Royal Suite which most notably has its own dining room, beautifully curated pieces of art, walk in closets, a landscaped garden, and a plunge pool over looked by palms and leading directly onto the beach. Even in October, Muscat temperatures can rise to 40’C in the day but with rooms as indulgent as these an afternoon nap, has never seemed more appealing…
We didn’t spend long in our room though when we arrived and headed straight down to the pool to choose a sun-lounger, jump in… and of course The Kempinski service continued. At intervals whilst we lay there taking in the rays, cute mini water coolers, ice lollies, and a sunglasses cleaning service were presented to us. How did I ever do without a sunglasses cleaning service?! I have never seen so clearly!!
You could be forgiven for not wanting to move from your sun lounger. However, if you can drag yourself away there is no shortage of activities to keep you busy. We decided to go for a spin in the ringos and for an exhilarating 20 minutes we screamed our way up and down the coast. In true Omani style, our amazing captain Mo, then un-expectantly took us for a little tour around the harbour whilst we soaked in some more vitamin sea. If the ringos aren’t your thing, hire a catamaran for the day, go whale shark diving, pull yourself up on the water-ski’s, hit some balls on the tennis court (recommended in winter when it cools down slightly) or head down to their ultra-modern (and quite unexpected) in-house bowling alley. There is plenty to do here!
… and plenty to eat. The three main restaurants at the hotel are Soi Soi for Thai (and the best fish cakes we have ever eaten), Bukhara for Indian, The Kitchen which offers an interactive dining experience as you journey through buffet stations with live cookery demonstrations from the chefs cooking up dishes on request… and finally Zale Beach Club for a seafront Omani experience. During our stay, to embrace their German heritage, Zale had actually been transformed into a beer garden to celebrate Oktober Fest. Lederhosen, umpa-bands and beer on tap were not what we expected with the backdrop of the Omani mountains but we embraced it all the same and had a blast! If you are one for cigars and whisky, there is a lounge for this too…
Needless to say, with all the options we had for dinner, we stretched our stomachs… so, and by some miracle, breakfast time and we were hungry again. And where do we even begin?! The Kempinski breakfast deserves a whole review of its’ own but here’s the top line. Served in The Kitchen restaurant, there are green health shots at the entrance, raw juices made to order, sweet honey dripping from a giant honeycomb, rainbows of fruit, eggs of every kind, bread of every kind, dietary requirements of every kind considered – no-one is going hungry. In fact, you will probably end up having a four course breakfast like we did… whoops!
Oman for us was an adventure holiday. It’s a beautiful country and I cannot recommend it enough. Fly into Muscat, explore the country and then head back to the capital to relax and unwind in luxury. The Kempinski is a hotel with unique style, intricate details, staff who can genuinely read your mind and as it is only 10 minutes from the airport, it’s too easy to stumble through its’ grand doors and into a dream like state…
See some of our other hotel reviews too!
Take It From Us
- ONE WORD REVIEW: Chic
- BEST ROOM: Deluxe sea view rooms…best for price and views across the pool, sea and mountains
- RATES: from £230 plus breakfast
- WHAT TO WEAR: Oman is a Muslim country so be respectful of this. Bikini’s and floaty dresses are fine by the pool but if you are heading out to dinner, go for something slightly more modest.
- LOCAL ACTIVITIES: The concierge service can arrange almost anything you want. The most popular are city tours (Grand Opera House, The Al Alam Palace, The Grand Mosque), whale shark diving, banana boat riding, tennis, sunbathing, yacht charters, jet ski’s and getting lost in the souks…
- WHEN TO GO: In the height of summer Muscat is HOT - sometimes 50’C hot. We would recommend any time from October through to May when you can enjoy the sunshine in the lush gardens without an air-conditioning unit on standby.
- HOW TO GET THERE: Fly to Muscat - the hotel is 10 minutes from the airport (and we didn't hear one plane during our stay!)
- WHAT TO GET OUT OF BED FOR: Breakfast! It’s the best breakfast you will ever have… (note: not included in your room rate)
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