STAY at the Alila Jabal Akhdar, perched 2,000 metres above sea level in the Al Hahar mountains, in one of Oman’s most spectacular regions two hours from Muscat and only accessible by four wheel dive. Overlooking a dramatic gorge, surrounded by awe-inspiring views this luxury mountain retreat really is the perfect base for exploring the region’s magnificent rugged landscape, a haven for adventure travellers, nature lovers and those seeking secluded refinement. Stone clad suites and villa’s meld seamlessly within the environment, spaciously placed around the cliff top to maximise privacy and the uninterrupted views. But its not all outdoor hike and nature, so if relaxing by a pool or indulging in wellness is more your thing, Alila Jabal Akhdar is just as serious about its indoor pleasures with a peaceful library, two pools and Spa Alila, providing a wide array of Asian-inspired treatments and wellbeing practices.
ORGANISE an early morning ‘wadi’ hike with the hotel guides and you will be rewarded with enlightened conversation about the environment, ancient and modern Omani culture. Tailored walks can take you through pomegranate clad riverbeds, to exploring slop-set villages abandoned before the mid eighties regions housing developments. The resorts ‘Leisure Concierge’ will personaly guide you through the A’roos and Saiq Plateaus in the comfort of a resort vehicle, an experience not to be missed during the months of April/May, as the extraordinary sight of the prized Damask roses in full bloom cascade down the mountain slopes. For those seeking culinary delights, join a cooking class with the talented hotels chefs or simply indulge in the Arabic cuisine of Juniper Restaurant, the menu is influenced by trade routes that stretched from the Middle East to the Mediterranean region. Expect traditional mezze offerings and tagines or unwind in the Rose Lounge with a an Omani Burger (minced lamb patty, feta cheese, date-tamarind sauce, cucumber, mint yoghurt), of course all come with a picturesque backdrop!
VISIT the Friday Goat Market in Nizwa, where local farmers gather early in the morning to auction their livestock – mainly goats, cows and sheep. Then drop by the 17th century Nizwa Fort, the largest and one of the oldest forts in Oman distinguished by its unique round shape. Explore its maze of halls and rooms connected by narrow staircases and corridors, and enjoy the 360-degree views from the top of the tower. Stroll through nearby Nizwa Souks and join the locals shopping for everything from grains and spices to hardware! For a quiet space pop into the Nizwa Fort Coffee café for a traditional Omani ‘coffee plus dates’ or alternatively an ‘illy’ latte!
HIGHLIGHTS Alila Jabal Akhdar, Plot No.4, Block- Al Roose Jabal Al Akhdar, Nizwa Sultanate Of Oman, +968 2534 4200, Nizwa Fort, Nizwa, Ad-Dakhiliyah Governorate, Nizwa Fort Coffee café, left of the forts entrance. Please call Benalla Travel for information on where to stay, eat and visit further afield in and around Muscat.