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Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah resort is located 45 minutes drive from Muscat Seeb Airport.
If your looking to save on expenses, Its worth hiring a car as its overall less expensive than a one way taxi. The roads in Muscat area are of a very good standard & gives you opportunity to explore the mountains & deserts if you decide to leave the resort. Parking is done by staff for you.
The location is very idyllic with the coastline bordering the mountain range. The resort consists of three hotels all part of the Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort.
Al Waha Resort is the less expensive more family orientated resort (full of children but great facilities for them), Al Bandar is an more up market business hotel and lastly, the hotel I am reviewing Al Husn is their most premium product. Various staff describe it as the VIP hotel when I asked what differed to the others. This is because of the exclusive facilities for Al Husn guests only. In short this is the most premium product of the resort and where I was told Sultans and other Royalty have stayed at.
The room I stayed at was perfectly positioned facing the bay of hotels of the main beach. Very spacious 6 star standard of room from the exceptional attention to detail in creating a luxurious Arabic ambience with decor that includes a detailed classical thick but soft carpet, wooden detailed crafted walls and gold taps,switches and plugs. It feels cosy, glamours, a palace feel thanks to the luxury furnishings, wall designs and lighting . Artistic Omani framed pictures & photos enhance this ambience.
The room is large with a long full mirrored corridor from entrance leading to very spacious bedroom.
Large comfortable bed with clean white Egyptian standard of cotton bedding. Spacious, decorative with soft pillows. Either side is marble top built in bed side tables, both offering drawers with the one having a phone & a classic leather framed clock and nearby plug sockets. The highlight however is seen above both of the bed side tables; unique lanterns hanging overhead in creating the distinctive Shangri-La mellow Asian feel to the lighting, full room switches conveniently below. The back wall of the bed has an original artistic detailed wooden facade with a back white light relaxing and mellow. The craft design is consistent in other areas of the room such as the back wall behind the glass top desk that faces the bed. This is accompanied by an upright but comforatble burgundy leather chair. A large antique looking mirror above additional plug sockets, telephone, small nesexpresso machine plus drawers containing a hair dryer & handy plug adaptor. The table also contains a bose blue tooth speaker system- portable and connects to all blue tooth devices.
Both sides of this large desk are small oval art deco lamps, again creating warm mood to further enhance the cosiness. A silver suit hanger that also holds cufflinks stands nearby.
The room has two options of seating, a small classic sofa for two people that faces the TV. A glass top finish wooden coffee table plus a large classical velvet chair facing it. I was presented with some fruit and sweet snacks on top.
To the left is a small wooden cabinet that contains the free mini bar- this include a collection of canned soft drinks, juices, perrier water and Budweiser and even some sweet & savoury snacks – all complimentary, replenished every day included in room rate. Generous sized Bombay Sapphire, JW Waker & absolute vodka is also available at a price. The cabinet also contain a kettle for making tea and the expresso capsules. Nice glass ware and mugs are also offered.
Sony flat screen TV of decent size and clear clarity offers a generous 140 channels with convenient TV guide with programs from literally all over the world including news to movies channels and everything else.
Beyond the thick black out curtains is a decent sized balcony, deep and private from neighbours offering both a small sofa with soft pillows a glass table with chairs for smokers.
My room 1113 offered an impressive view of the main beach displaying the other hotels and sandy mountains in the back ground. Very nice for sunrise & general view of the resort. Great for relaxing & getting out of the sun.
The bathroom is directly located by the entrance and is very spacious offering a complete marble finish to walls and floor with gold faucet taps in all areas.
A large bath with window into main bedroom is present like in Asia but the Shangri-La offers sliding wooden doors for privacy when needed. Relaxing scented bath salts are offered in an artistic Arabian pot. There is a closed shower cubicle with both overhead rain and separate head’s – all classical design & exceptionally clean. Toilet in opposite room with bidet- again gold faucets.
A volume switch for the TV exist if you wish to listen while in bathroom.
Amenities offered are extensive and generous that include L’Occitane branded Jasmin & Bergamote Shower gel bottles, shampoo, and conditioner, body milk and even Colgate total mouthwash. There is the standard full set of amenities such as dental kits, shavers, vanity sets, combs etc by Shangri-La. Another classical but glass clock is also on the spacious sink area. 4 water bottles are provided.
Within bathroom is an inlet side room area with a convenient large luggage rack shelf. Staff have prepared your bags before you even arrive in there- its that efficient. There open wardrobe above has plenty of coat hangers and it also offers an iron, iron board, plus a laptop compatible safe and complimentary comfortable Shangri-La branded flip flops and slippers- so don’t worry if your forget them. As standard branded robes are also offered.
As I express such detail, i feels like your are in an Arabian palace guest room, soft classical carpet, cosy ambience and honestly in the many rooms I have stayed at, the Al Husn room had nothing you could fault. I really enjoyed just relaxing before retiring to sleep by just having the mellow lights on and absorbing the decor.
There are way too many facilities to mention since this hotel covers all of the complex. However Al Husn guest’s have exclusivity & benefits in addition to use of the whole Shangri-La Resort of three hotels. The main noticeable aspect of these is that its has a child-free policy to keep in line the luxurious ambient atmosphere. The other two especially Al Waha is full of children with busy pools and kids running everywhere.
The Al Husn avoids this with the child-free policy at its private beach & the infinity pool that offers splendid views of the coast below. Jacuzzi’s palm tree each side with soft comfortable sun loungers that face the ocean- the other hotels have very busy pools full of children but Al Husn is quiet and relaxing with plenty of space at both beach and pool to have your own privacy, in contrast to how busy the lawn of the main beach of the other two hotels was.
The private beach you can walk down (5-10 minutes) or staff will happily drive you down with a golf cart. This beach is much nicer than the main beach of the other two hotels, positioned much more intimately between the rocks and cliffs, the sandy beach has many sun loungers that face two sides- one side offers a view of the large bay where the local marina of Yachts is nearby and where you can see the stunning sunset over the mountains behind. Beach staff offer canoes and other equipment for your convenience. Plus cold refreshing mist, bottled water and cold towels.
There is also a beach bar in this area. Its is great for photos since one of the rocks that sticks out has a nice hole in it that boats stream thru. Sunset is mesmerising plus the sea seemed less wild in this area.
There is a 24 hours gym – well equipped with weights and cardio, quite small but staffed readily there handing out towels and cold water bottles.
A library exists with both apple and windows computers with printer plus off course comfortable arm chairs with plenty of shelves of interesting books of all kinds. Great place to rest and read especially in the main heat of the day time sun.
In terms of catering there are two restaurants (at Al Husn) one of which offers the complimentary afternoon tea, enjoyable small selection of mini scones, sandwiches and cakes- very British with a large selection of teas offered from the proactive staff. This is also where the buffet and ala carte breakfast is served. An excellent offering of menu dishes with fresh international and Arabian choices plus a buffet full of delicious breads,fruits, meats and cheeses. I was impressed with my Salmon on Scrambled egg and Beef tenderloin.
Another restaurant nearby is the most premium fine dining of all the 10+ catering facilities across the whole complex- I did not try this so cannot comment. Both areas have indoor and outdoor seating. There is also a complimentary pre-dinner glass of wine of mixed liquor drinks offered between 6-7.
The Al Husn has beautiful decor both in lobby lounges and nice carpeted corridors scented with what I belief to be frankincense. There is also a Omani Coffeee and date station that door staff are ready to offer you upon arrival, in addition to the delicious tropical juice drink.
Since there are so many facilities on sight of the whole complex, please look at picture of map but some items to mention in main areas (at the other hotels) include a lazy river (moving river) where you sit on lidos that carry you along between the other hotels- quite fun. Tennis court, SPA, Kids area, Volley ball and multiple water sports like banana boat and snorkelling plus a diving centre is also on site.
Large selection of catering outlets across the whole site both Arabic and International foods.
There is also an Art gallery, shops, outdoor Shisha/Hooka lounge, Mini Golf,and excursions amongst others. There is even a daily return transfer service to various sights in Muscat. A unique highlight though is Turtle beach where around late afternoon if your lucky, small turtles come to the beach in a small cove in an area of the resort close to Al Husn side. Its a 5 star resort with no reason to leave, full of activities but the Al-Husn goes further in fitting the 6 star standard with its additional facilities and attention to detail from both the product and staff service.
Staff are exceptional. I was welcomed upon arrival by with an authentic Omani Uniformed door man, dressed with the local traditional sword, ready to park my car, offer you a date and the Arabic local coffee available in the lobby. With bags taken and automatically delivered to your room while your checking in. A delicious welcome drink and refreshing cold towel with eager reception staff ready to personally accompany you to your room and explain the facilities and what the Al-Husn offers very clearly.
Staff at afternoon tea are sincere and professional in their efforts to ensure your needs. This is also the case with the friendly staff down by the beach and even when visiting the main resort, staff in all areas are very attentive to the presence of the guest, consistently acknowledging you in a friendly manner with eye contact and a smile regardless which hotel you are at. In the evening I spent some time at the Shisha place to relax and look at the stars and the staff there were easily approachable and chatty noticing I was on my own.
I walked around the others in the evening and daytime and the main difference is simply not the staff but atmosphere of the guests, the others two hotels are just very busy with lots of children.
Overall the Al-Husn is very impressive product that I certainly feel is worth upgrading especially if your on a honeymoon or prefer a relaxing environment. A place that leaves a lasting impression of experiencing the true Omani Hospitality together with room decor comparable to an Arabian Palace. I hope to return here soon to experience more, since I was only there 24 hours.
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