Review: Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

Review: Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

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NAME: Alila Jabal Akhdar
LOCATION: Jabal Akhdar, Oman
DATE: February 2022
REVIEW RATING:
BEN SAYS: Alila Jabal Akhdar is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. If you're into the outdoors, you absolutely must visit. The only room for improvement is with food and service, but that doesn't take away from this resort's amazingness.
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EXTRA PERKS AVAILABLE Enjoy breakfast, upgrades, & more

Want to take advantage of Hyatt Privé benefits, including a room upgrade, complimentary breakfast, a hotel credit, and more, when booking a cash stay? Contact Ford ([email protected]) for more details. He may even be able to help if you already have a stay booked.

Our next destination in Oman was Alila Jabal Akhdar, a Hyatt property in the Al Hajar mountain range. This is probably the single Hyatt hotel in the world I’ve most been wanting to visit, and visiting this property was my primary motivation in planning this trip.

So, did Alila Jabal Akhdar live up to the hype? Yes… for the most part. This is one of the most stunning places I’ve ever been, and words can’t do justice to the natural beauty of this destination. If you’re into hiking and the outdoors, you’ll love this place.

The only catch is that there’s room for improvement with both the food and service. But then again, you come here for the nature, and not for the food. I’m hopeful that this is just a temporary issue, given how many places are having staffing issues due to the pandemic.

How we booked our stay at Alila Jabal Akhdar

We redeemed points for our stay at Alila Jabal Akhdar. The hotel is a Category 6 World of Hyatt property, meaning that a free night redemption costs the following number of points:

  • 21,000-29,000 points in a standard room
  • 36,000-44,000 points in a standard suite
  • 42,000-58,000 points in a premium suite

We booked a standard room for three nights (25,000 points per night), and then I used a Globalist suite upgrade award to secure an upgrade. These upgrades clear either into the Jabal Terrace or Loft Suite, and I decided to upgrade into the former. Even though the Loft Suite has more interior space, I figured having a really cool outdoor space would be preferable.

Redeeming points at this property is an exceptional value, given that paid rates for our stay were $600+ per night. For what it’s worth, I value World of Hyatt points at 1.5 cents each.

Even if you’re not a Hyatt loyalist, earning World of Hyatt points can be pretty easy. In addition to being able to earn World of Hyatt points with the World of Hyatt Credit Card (review) and World of Hyatt Business Credit Card (review), you can also transfer over points from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

World of Hyatt Credit Card
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  • Earn 4x Points at Hyatt Properties
  • Free Night Every Year
  • Complimentary Discoverist Status
  • $95
World of Hyatt Business Credit Card
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  • Earn 4x Points at Hyatt Properties
  • Complimentary Discoverist Status
  • Gift Discoverist Status up to 5 Employees
  • $199
Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card
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  • 5x total points on travel purchased through Chase Ultimate Rewards®
  • 3x points on dining
  • 2x points on travel purchases
  • $95
Chase Sapphire Reserve®
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  • 3x points on Travel after the $300 Annual Travel Credit
  • 3x points on Dining
  • $300 Travel Credit
  • $550
Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card
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  • Earn 3x points on travel
  • Earn 3x points on shipping purchases
  • Cell Phone Protection
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Ink Business Unlimited® Credit Card
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  • Earn unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases
  • Car Rental Coverage
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  • $0
Ink Business Cash® Credit Card
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  • Earn 5% Cash Back at office supply stores
  • Earn 5% Cash Back on internet, cable TV, mobile phones, and landlines
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Chase Freedom Unlimited®
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  • Earn 3% Cash Back on Dining
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  • Earn 3% Cash Back on Dining, Takeout and Eligible Delivery Services
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  • Rotating Quarterly Bonus Categories
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If you’re gong to book a paid stay at this property, make sure you book through the Hyatt Privé program. Hyatt Privé rates cost the same as standard flexible rates (not member rates, advance purchase rates, AAA rates, etc.), and include the following additional perks:

  • Daily full breakfast for two in the hotel’s restaurant
  • A $100 property credit per room per stay
  • A one category room upgrade confirmed within 24 hours of booking (room-to-room or suite-to-suite) — based on availability at the time of booking
  • Early check-in (as early as 9AM) and late check-out (as late as 4PM), subject to availability
  • A welcome gift and letter

Alila Jabal Akhdar location

The Alila is located in Jabal Akhdar (which in Arabic means “green mountain), which is in the Al Hajar mountain range. The closest major airport to the hotel is Muscat International Airport (MCT). From there it’s a roughly two hour drive to the hotel.

You can either arrange a transfer through the hotel, or can rent a car. If you are going to rent a car, note that you’ll need four wheel drive, given the mountainous area the hotel is in (this isn’t just a recommendation, but rather there’s a police checkpoint where they ensure that you have the correct kind of car).

When you drive from Muscat to the resort, the first half of the ride is pretty straightforward, with excellent and flat roads. The last half of the drive is a real adventure, as you drive through some of the most spectacular scenery you’ve probably ever seen. However, the roads are really winding and steep.

While I would have liked to rent a car, we ended up just booking a hotel car. The hotel charges 90 OMR (~$234) for the one-way transfer (I’m sure it can be had for less through a third party).

Alila Jabal Akhdar lobby, layout, & check-in

Not only does Alila Jabal Akhdar have an unrivaled vantage point of the mountains, but the resort itself also has a great sense of place. The property has 86 accommodations, spread out over many buildings. There’s one main building as you enter, which is where the lobby, restaurants, pools, etc., are all located.

Alila Jabal Akhdar lobby exterior

The lobby has plenty of seating, and also leads to most of the hotel’s amenities.

Alila Jabal Akhdar lobby
Alila Jabal Akhdar lobby
Alila Jabal Akhdar lobby
Alila Jabal Akhdar lobby
Alila Jabal Akhdar lobby

Also off the lobby is a library, should you want to find a quiet place to work or read a book that isn’t your room.

Alila Jabal Akhdar library
Alila Jabal Akhdar library

Our check-in process was efficient. Interestingly most of the front office staff at the hotel are Omani and are from nearby villages, so that’s different than most of the other hotels we stayed at in Oman. It gives the hotel a bit more of an authentic feel.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room

Within a few minutes we were checked in and escorted to room 38, our Jabal Terrace. This was located in a building not too far from reception, which housed a total of four rooms (as far as I know). Our room was on the second floor.

Alila Jabal Akhdar property
Alila Jabal Akhdar room exterior

The interior of the room wasn’t particularly big (the room is marketed as being 1,120 square feet, though that’s mostly outdoor space), but was nicely appointed. It featured a comfortable king size bed, a chair with an ottoman, and a desk with a chair.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room desk

Behind the red curtain by the bed was a walk-in closet area, with plenty of space.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room closet

Near the entryway was the minibar, which had a Nespresso machine, a tea kettle, and some complimentary soft drinks.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room entryway
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room minibar
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room minibar

There was a lovely welcome amenity consisting of some fresh fruit, pomegranate juice, and some tasty sweets.

Alila Jabal Akhdar welcome amenity

The bathroom was a great size, and had double sinks, a beautiful tub, a walk-in shower, and a toilet.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room bathroom
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room bathtub
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room shower
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room toilet

Note that the water controls in the bathroom (for both the sink and shower) were kind of problematic. If you turned on warm water it would immediately be scolding hot, so make sure you’re careful when selecting the water temperature.

Toiletries were in reusable ceramic containers. While I can appreciate that this is intended to be sustainable, am I the only one who has a bad track record with breaking these, no matter how hard I try to be careful?

Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room toiletries

As you’d expect based on the room’s Jabal Terrace name, the highlight of the room was the outdoor space. There was a smaller terrace at the far end of the room, which had a couch.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room outdoor space
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room outdoor space

But the real highlight of the room was the massive terrace, which must have been the same size as the bedroom. It had a daybed, loungers, a large dining table, etc.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room outdoor space
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room outdoor space
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room outdoor space
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room outdoor space
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room outdoor space

How unreal are these views?!

Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room view
Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room view

And they got even more spectacular at sunset.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Jabal Terrace room view

Alila Jabal Akhdar pools

Alila Jabal Akhdar has an indoor and outdoor pool. The outdoor pool is infinity-edge, and must have some of the most gorgeous views of any pool I’ve seen.

Alila Jabal Akhdar pool
Alila Jabal Akhdar pool
Alila Jabal Akhdar pool

There was plenty of seating around the pool as well. There were loungers right next to the pool, as well as a variety of daybeds scattered all around the pool, many with amazing views of the mountains.

Alila Jabal Akhdar pool seating
Alila Jabal Akhdar pool seating
Alila Jabal Akhdar pool seating

There was also a hot tub in this area.

Alila Jabal Akhdar hot tub
Alila Jabal Akhdar hot tub

In addition to the outdoor pool, there was a small indoor pool.

Alila Jabal Akhdar indoor pool
Alila Jabal Akhdar indoor pool
Alila Jabal Akhdar indoor pool seating

Across from the outdoor pool was a yoga deck.

Alila Jabal Akhdar yoga deck
Alila Jabal Akhdar yoga deck

The views from this area during sunset were unbelievable.

Alila Jabal Akhdar sunset view
Alila Jabal Akhdar sunset view
Alila Jabal Akhdar sunset view

Alila Jabal Akhdar gym

Alila Jabal Akhdar has a 24/7 gym, located right next to the indoor pool. It’s on the basic side, but did the trick for a secluded mountain resort.

Alila Jabal Akhdar gym
Alila Jabal Akhdar gym
Alila Jabal Akhdar gym

Alila Jabal Akhdar spa

A big focus for Alila properties is spas, so Alila Jabal Akhdar has one. While we got a couple of spa treatments at Alila Hinu Bay, we didn’t get any here, since we were so busy with other activities. The spa looked beautiful, and I’d imagine the treatments are probably great. You can find the Alila Jabal Akhdar spa menu here.

Alila Jabal Akhdar spa
Alila Jabal Akhdar spa

Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant (breakfast & dinner)

Dining options at Alila Jabal Akhdar are fairly limited. Juniper Restaurant is Alila Jabal Akhdar’s signature restaurant, and it’s where breakfast (7AM until 11AM) and dinner (6:30PM until 10:30PM) are served. The restaurant has a large indoor space, as well as an enclosed outdoor terrace with heating lamps.

Guests almost always chose to eat in the beautiful enclosed terrace, so that was typically full, while the indoor space stayed empty.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant indoor seating
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant indoor seating
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant indoor seating
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant outdoor terrace
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant outdoor terrace

In the evenings at sunset the outdoor terrace is even more beautiful.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant outdoor terrace

Breakfast at Alila Jabal Akhdar is a la carte, and you can find the menu below.

Alila Jabal Akhdar breakfast menu

You can order coffee or tea plus a variety of fresh juices, all of which we enjoyed.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant breakfast

Then several small dishes were automatically brought out, including a fruit salad, a salad, some cold cuts, a bread basket, and some homemade spreads.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant breakfast

From there you could order as much as you wanted from the menu. Over the course of our stay we tried several dishes, including the Omani omelet, aloo bhaji, oatmeal, and spicy avocado.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant breakfast
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant breakfast
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant breakfast
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant breakfast

For the most part breakfast was very good. Personally I’m a fan of the a la carte concept, especially since you can order as much as you’d like.

The issue is with dinner, as you only have a single restaurant to choose from. While the menu is a decent size, you’ll probably pretty quickly get bored. That’s especially true when you consider that there are some overlapping dishes with the lunch menu.

The restaurant serves a little bit of everything for dinner, ranging from salads, to pasta, to burgers, Omani dishes, to Indian dishes. You can find the menu below (for context, 1 OMR is roughly 2.5 USD).

Alila Jabal Akhdar dinner menu
Alila Jabal Akhdar dinner menu
Alila Jabal Akhdar dinner menu
Alila Jabal Akhdar dinner menu

Every dinner started with fresh focaccia with labneh and honey. It was of course ridiculously delicious, but I also kind of wish they’d switch things up a bit.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant dinner

Over the course of our stay we tried a variety of the starters, including the quinoa salad, caesar salad, and cobb salad.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant dinner
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant dinner
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant dinner

For the mains we ordered the goan fish curry, chicken biryani, Arabic mixed grill, and tagliatelle al salmone.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant dinner
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant dinner
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant dinner
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant dinner

Then for dessert we tried the dark chocolate fondant and a selection of ice cream.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant dinner
Alila Jabal Akhdar Juniper Restaurant dinner

The food was mostly quite good, but after three nights I feel like we exhausted the menu. I should also mention that I appreciate that the hotel doesn’t charge for still or sparkling water, even in the restaurant. That’s a nice touch, because for so many other resorts that’s a huge profit center.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge (lunch & drinks)

While Juniper Restaurant serves breakfast and dinner, Rose Lounge serves lunch and drinks throughout the day (it’s open from 12PM until 10:30PM). This is the poolside restaurant, and it has outdoor seating, as well as some limited indoor bar seating as well.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge indoor seating
Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge bar
Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge indoor seating
Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge indoor seating
Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge outdoor seating
Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge outdoor seating

You can find the lunch menu below (with the first page being the European menu, the second page being the Americas menu, and the third page being the Asia menu — I don’t make the rules, but that’s what the menu claimed).

Alila Jabal Akhdar lunch menu
Alila Jabal Akhdar lunch menu
Alila Jabal Akhdar lunch menu

Lunch always started with the same bread basket…

Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge lunch

To give you a sense of the food, we ordered the fattoush salad, a pizza margherita, and lahmacun.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge lunch
Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge lunch
Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge lunch

We also generally had a cocktail at Rose Lounge each evening, as this offered the best view of the sunset. The cocktails were fine, but paled in comparison to the passion that went into drinks at Alila Hinu Bay.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge drinks
Alila Jabal Akhdar Rose Lounge drinks

Alila Jabal Akhdar room service

Alila Jabal Akhdar offers 24/7 room service, and one afternoon we ordered room service after a very long hike. That was delivered promptly, and allowed us to also try the dips as well as the club sandwich.

Alila Jabal Akhdar room service lunch

Alila Jabal Akhdar service

Alila Jabal Akhdar is an absolutely stunning property that I can’t recommend visiting enough. At the end of the day you come here for the beautiful nature, and the jaw-droppingly beautiful setting.

At the same time, service at this property needs to be improved. The hotel seemed to be woefully understaffed, and on top of that it seemed like no one was in charge. I think the only management person we ever interacted with was the food & beverage manager, who busted his tail taking care of guests.

But beyond that there’s so much room for improvement for service here. Where do we even begin?

  • At Rose Lounge you literally had to beg to be served; there was often one person working the entire restaurant and pool, and I’d frequently have to go inside to the bar to ask a server to come out
  • The servers here are obsessed with constantly asking for room numbers, and it’s bizarre; at sunset it once took us 30 minutes to get a single drink, and while waiting for the drink a server came out four times to ask us for our room number, and then we went straight to the restaurant, where we were asked for our room number two times
  • Staff are generally friendly and well intentioned, but many don’t speak English well, and as a result seem to try to avoid contact with guests, and are too timid to communicate
  • Service just wasn’t very refined; for example, empty plates and cups often wouldn’t be cleared, but rather they’d just pile even more stuff on your table (below you can see how we were brought more coffees, but our original coffees weren’t taken, despite being empty)
  • We did two excursions through the hotel — for the first excursion we were told that there would be Arabic coffee during a stop, but the guide forgot the cups, and for the second excursion the guide forgot to bring water for us (though he ended up stopping at a store to get us some); this is minor, but still, that shouldn’t happen when you’re paying a premium for a tour arranged through a hotel
There’s room for service improvement at Alila Jabal Akhdar

Seriously, everyone was genuinely friendly and well intentioned. Any shortfalls with service fall on management, for not training staff enough, and not having enough staff to take care of guests. If this hotel could get service fixed, it would be next-level amazing.

It’s funny that service at Alila Hinu Bay was amazing, by comparison. Admittedly the hotel was much emptier, but the staff there seemed to be more “with it” across the board. If you could combine Alila Hinu Bay staff with the Alila Jabal Akhdar property, you’d have an unbeatable combination.

What to do at Alila Jabal Akhdar

Staying at Alila Jabal Akhdar puts you right in the middle of a stunning mountain range. The outdoor activities here are endless, especially if you’re into hiking. Though truth be told, even if you’re not big into hiking, you can enjoy so many of the gorgeous views without even leaving the hotel.

Ford and I love hiking, so our first full day we did the Lost Village Hike. This was described as being the most challenging hike, and the brochure said it should take five to six hours. To be honest we typically complete hikes in about half the time that hotels suggest they’ll take, though we were surprised to see that this was legitimately challenging.

A guide drove us about five minutes from the hotel, and then we essentially descended into the canyon below the hotel. While there were paths for much of the way, in some cases we were basically just climbing big rocks. To give you a sense of how deep we went, at the top left of the picture below you can see part of the hotel, and then we went all the way to the bottom of the canyon.

Hiking from Alila Jabal Akhdar
Hiking from Alila Jabal Akhdar

It was amazing how varied the landscape was, and there were even palm trees at the bottom of the canyon.

Hiking from Alila Jabal Akhdar
Hiking from Alila Jabal Akhdar
Hiking from Alila Jabal Akhdar
Hiking from Alila Jabal Akhdar
Hiking from Alila Jabal Akhdar
Hiking from Alila Jabal Akhdar
Hiking from Alila Jabal Akhdar

The hike ended up taking us just under four hours (including a break at the bottom), but we were rather sore and tired after.

The next day we did a much easier excursion. We were driven to two different points, and from each point we did a roughly one hour hike. We enjoyed this, and were grateful it was a bit easier after our activity the day before.

Hiking from Alila Jabal Akhdar
Hiking from Alila Jabal Akhdar
Hiking from Alila Jabal Akhdar

Bottom line

Alila Jabal Akhdar is an incredible hotel that’s worth a visit if you’re into the outdoors. Words can’t do justice to how beautiful the area around the hotel is. Not only that, but the hotel has a great sense of place, from the room design, to the infinity-edge pool overlooking the mountains.

I’d absolutely recommend visiting this property and would return in a heartbeat. The only feedback I have is that it would be nice if there were a bit more food variety, and the service also needs to be improved. Admittedly the pandemic has caused staffing issues in many places, so I’ll hope that these issues are just temporary. Despite shortcomings with food and service, this hotel is 100% worth a visit.

What do you make of Alila Jabal Akhdar? Would you consider visiting?

Conversations (33)
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  1. Scott Guest

    Stayed there a couple of years ago and loved it, as well. We rented a car and drove ourselves from Muscat and it was easy, definitely do-able.

    We also unfortunately had the same issue (two years ago!) with the service, particularly in the evening getting drinks served. We would have to go find a waiter and explain what we wanted and then maybe it would show up 30 mins later. We still loved our experience...

    Stayed there a couple of years ago and loved it, as well. We rented a car and drove ourselves from Muscat and it was easy, definitely do-able.

    We also unfortunately had the same issue (two years ago!) with the service, particularly in the evening getting drinks served. We would have to go find a waiter and explain what we wanted and then maybe it would show up 30 mins later. We still loved our experience there and I would highly recommend it to others, but yeah, there is some room for improvement.

  2. KuBear Guest

    Great review of the property! I will try to make it here some time in the future.

    Can you wonder off on your own outside the property or do you have to get a tour guide?

    1. Torsten T Guest

      They offer free (!!!!) activites like Yoga and star-gazing and some botanical walks on the premises. Hiking (and a via ferrata climb for that matter) tours cost extra - it's not impossible to do the hikes on your own but you'd need a proper map and some basic sense of how to walk around in unsecured terrain.

    2. KuBear Guest

      Thank you for the information.

  3. Iowan Guest

    Thank you! Your trip reports are always the best and have been helpful to get through the last couple of years.

    One correction - labneh and money: did you mean honey :)

  4. BenjaminGuttery Member

    EXCELLENT Review Ben! After the last couple weeks of posts I want to visit Oman now definitely with my Husband! One suggestion though: Adding a map to your trip reviews would be helpful, interesting, and help us all understand where everything is in relation to airports/the route taken/side excursions. I bet even a OMAAT specific graphic could be interesting as well! Adding different color lines for various airlines taken, zooming in on the continent/country/area of...

    EXCELLENT Review Ben! After the last couple weeks of posts I want to visit Oman now definitely with my Husband! One suggestion though: Adding a map to your trip reviews would be helpful, interesting, and help us all understand where everything is in relation to airports/the route taken/side excursions. I bet even a OMAAT specific graphic could be interesting as well! Adding different color lines for various airlines taken, zooming in on the continent/country/area of the country your in, and roads to hotel/points of interest. Just a suggestion! I wanted to know where each Alila you stayed at was and the local airports so I kept having to open up another window and Google and spending time off of your site to research that. Anyways, thanks for all that you do!

  5. Ag Guest

    Is breakfast only comped for globalists or included for all guests including those redeeming points

    1. Dennis Ray Guest

      All rooms and suites come with breakfast. Stunning presentation and delicious. We are here now.

    2. Torsten T Guest

      Breakfast is included with any rate and was VERY good... at least it was when I stayed there last October

  6. Miamiorbust Guest

    Can somebody explain the appeal of Oman? I recognize pictures rarely do a location justice and to some extent perception of natural beauty is bound to include subjective elements but I don’t really see either of these hotel locations as more interesting or beautiful than dozens of high end resorts near red sea or on less traveled greek islands. Interaction with local people seems limited. Limited number of other travelers. Food is forgettable. Zero opportunities...

    Can somebody explain the appeal of Oman? I recognize pictures rarely do a location justice and to some extent perception of natural beauty is bound to include subjective elements but I don’t really see either of these hotel locations as more interesting or beautiful than dozens of high end resorts near red sea or on less traveled greek islands. Interaction with local people seems limited. Limited number of other travelers. Food is forgettable. Zero opportunities for truly memorable meals in these isolated spaces. For similar number of points or cash I can stay at a very good greek island resort during the summer and also amazing sunrise and sunsets in a similar aesthetic. And a good restaurant. And fun. Is it that there not many places for people in Europe to find warm weather in winter? Entire trip feels a little forced and sort of Hyatt corporate boondoggle-ly but that’s not really my point. Why Oman?

    1. BenjaminGuttery Member

      I actually prefer places that are "off the beaten path", for example going to Grand Teton or Bozeman versus Jackson Hole, or the Southern coast of Phuket vs the tourist hellscape that is the western side/Phuket City. Also it's kind of an "exotic locale", maybe like what Morocco was 15 years ago. I think that the food not being as "local" was a point Ben brought up himself and just maybe is a product of...

      I actually prefer places that are "off the beaten path", for example going to Grand Teton or Bozeman versus Jackson Hole, or the Southern coast of Phuket vs the tourist hellscape that is the western side/Phuket City. Also it's kind of an "exotic locale", maybe like what Morocco was 15 years ago. I think that the food not being as "local" was a point Ben brought up himself and just maybe is a product of the pandemic/supply chain crisis or room for improvement by the properties (both hotel had some staffing shortages). Also we don't see everything that Lucky & Ford do on these trips. They said they took several side excursions and stuff, I'm sure there was plenty of culture and new experiences on their trip. Just my opinion/watching from the outside.

    2. skimegheath Gold

      @Miamiorbust - I want to Oman several years ago. To me the appeal was not the 5 star hotels by the beach or the food (although I do like that too).
      I drove to/from the UAE (female, by myself on the "other" side of the road). I love to drive around through small local towns etc. and as a result I had loads of interactions with locals.

      Oman is definitely not for everyone, but for me I loved it.

    3. Jason Guest

      Oman is simply a beautiful country. Hire a guide to take you out to the desert and for hikes in the wadis. It's also distinct from its neighbors culturally, in that most Omanis work, are gracious and hospitable, and eager to show you around. If you go to Salalah during the summer - rainy season - it's a special treat as well. Hotels can be nice and five star, etc, but what really draws you...

      Oman is simply a beautiful country. Hire a guide to take you out to the desert and for hikes in the wadis. It's also distinct from its neighbors culturally, in that most Omanis work, are gracious and hospitable, and eager to show you around. If you go to Salalah during the summer - rainy season - it's a special treat as well. Hotels can be nice and five star, etc, but what really draws you to Oman and make it special are the landscapes, the people, and the mix. It's very interesting and a great place to go if you want something different.

    4. miamiorbust Guest

      Thanks all for responses. Makes sense and as someone that was in Morocco 20 years ago and also recently the comparison resonated with me. Can piece together how many aspects of culture may be more like North Africa than some of gulf states based on relative absence of oil wealth. Guess everyone is different but the approach each of you took would be far more appealing to me than the premise of these reviews, which...

      Thanks all for responses. Makes sense and as someone that was in Morocco 20 years ago and also recently the comparison resonated with me. Can piece together how many aspects of culture may be more like North Africa than some of gulf states based on relative absence of oil wealth. Guess everyone is different but the approach each of you took would be far more appealing to me than the premise of these reviews, which seemed kinda like high-priced glamping. Perhaps that's a little unfair but was the thought that kept running through my mind while reading.

    5. Torsten T Guest

      Oman is a great place to visit. There is wayyyyyy more to do than to visit hotels and beaches. It should not be on a bucket list in the top 20 but comes pretty quickly afterwards. The people are VERY friendly and approachable, it's super easy to navigate around on your own and the country has a cool mix of nature (Wadis! Canyons!) and history (lots of old forts).

  7. AJ Member

    Great review! This property has been high on my list for a few years. You mentioned that you needed a four wheel drive and there was a police checkpoint. Im curious...are you implying that if you DO NOT have AWD that you're not allowed to visit the property? If so, I wonder how many people are turned away in, say, a week or month.

    1. BenjaminGuttery Member

      I would assume not many, as anyone getting the hotel shuttle or securing a ride there is already aware. For those renting a vehicle, the agency has to inquire where their vehicle is going and for how long. Anyone that's a tourist who is turned away, because of bad planning, would just delay their arrival. Turn around an hour, get a different truck, and come back and try again.

    2. AJ Member

      "For those renting a vehicle, the agency has to inquire where their vehicle is going and for how long."

      I'm not sure that's correct. I rented a vehicle from the Muscat Airport simply to travel around Muscat for two days and was never asked where I was going. It was similar to renting a vehicle in the states...we walked around the car for inspection and I was on my way. But given that people are...

      "For those renting a vehicle, the agency has to inquire where their vehicle is going and for how long."

      I'm not sure that's correct. I rented a vehicle from the Muscat Airport simply to travel around Muscat for two days and was never asked where I was going. It was similar to renting a vehicle in the states...we walked around the car for inspection and I was on my way. But given that people are being turned away, is driving two hours (back to Muscat) the only option for trading in your car? Ouch!

    3. Krivokrasov Guest

      Yes, if you do not have a 4WD vehicle, the police will not let you through. This definitely happens, and if that occurs, the hotel can come get you for a hefty fee.

    4. John Guest

      I stayed there a few years ago. I thought we’d rented a good enough car in Abu Dhabi but at the checkpoint we were told in no uncertain terms it wouldn’t make it up the hill. The hotel sent a car down for us.

  8. Benjamin Guest

    It's Amangiri, only less exclusive (and probably less expensive).

    1. KATA Member

      definitely less expensive. I mean Alila was actually established to become a mini, less expensive Aman in the first place.

  9. Jake Guest

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your stay! We stayed there about a month before you (same exact room) and had an amazing time. Our takeaways were similar to yours, although I’m surprised to hear you didn’t meet the management. The hotel GM introduced himself during our check-in and we ran into him again two more times during our trip. He was exceptionally friendly. We did the Via Ferrara excursion and would recommend it to anyone...

    Glad to hear you enjoyed your stay! We stayed there about a month before you (same exact room) and had an amazing time. Our takeaways were similar to yours, although I’m surprised to hear you didn’t meet the management. The hotel GM introduced himself during our check-in and we ran into him again two more times during our trip. He was exceptionally friendly. We did the Via Ferrara excursion and would recommend it to anyone who doesn’t mind heights. The course is right on property, you literally just hop the fence, strap in, and start going down the cliff! Also, while I certainly understand the appeal and convenience of hotel-arranged transport, I definitely wouldn’t recommend it here. We had a private tour guide who picked us up from the Ritz outside Muscat at 8am, drove us around all day giving us tours of the Grand Mosque, multiple villages/farms/ruins, provided an amazing lunch, and dropped us off at Alila around 7pm, and the rate was only 45 OMR more than just the hotel’s transport!

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jake -- Where was the GM from, out of curiosity? Maybe he wasn't on property when we visited...

    2. Jake Guest

      I believe he’s Australian.

    3. Michael F Guest

      GM is Karl Marshall, Australian and former GM at Hyatt Regency Johannesburg. When the hotel was feautured in BBC's Amazing Hotels series then the previous GM, Darren Darwin, was there and who seemed to have higher standards.

    4. Andre Martins Guest

      Jake, could you give me the contact of the tour guide you hired?

  10. Jimmy’s Travel Report Gold

    Wow, the natural area looks amazing. We are visiting the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort in April. I’ll be curious how it compares to Alila.

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Jimmy’s Travel Report -- Hope you enjoy your stay, and would be curious to hear how it compares!

    2. Nicolas Guest

      I stayed at the Anantara nearby a few years ago during Christmas. I had no regrets. We had an amazing time there. It seems like there is more to do there than Alila (e.g. tennis courts, several Jacuzzis, bigger Spa)
      Tips :
      1. you don't need a tour guide to explore the abandoned village, you can just walk down by yourself :)
      2. we rented a 4 wheel car with a driver,...

      I stayed at the Anantara nearby a few years ago during Christmas. I had no regrets. We had an amazing time there. It seems like there is more to do there than Alila (e.g. tennis courts, several Jacuzzis, bigger Spa)
      Tips :
      1. you don't need a tour guide to explore the abandoned village, you can just walk down by yourself :)
      2. we rented a 4 wheel car with a driver, cheaper than the car service from the hotel and there are quite a few places to stop on the way (you just click on "add driver" when booking the car, super easy and cheap)
      3. The wine selection was weak, so best to bring your own French wine.

  11. Alan Guest

    Thanks for the review! I assume the room was considered a suite because of the outdoor section? The room itself (inside) doesn't look like a suite.

    Also, who would you say is the clientele of the property? Weekenders from Muscat? Vacationers from gulf states? Europeans?

    1. Ben Schlappig OMAAT

      @ Alan -- Exactly, it was considered a suite because of the outdoor space, as the interior was more or less a standard room.

      As far as the clientele goes, it was mostly Europeans, with lots of Germans, Brits, and Russians. There weren't many Americans, and there weren't many locals either, but that might have been because we stayed over weekdays. It's my understanding that the hotel does also usually get lots of visitors from the region.

  12. RetiredATLATC Gold

    "Every dinner started with fresh focaccia with labneh and money"

    Probably good thing they give out money, as the menu looks $$$

    5 OMR for a salad. Nah.

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BenjaminGuttery Member

EXCELLENT Review Ben! After the last couple weeks of posts I want to visit Oman now definitely with my Husband! One suggestion though: Adding a map to your trip reviews would be helpful, interesting, and help us all understand where everything is in relation to airports/the route taken/side excursions. I bet even a OMAAT specific graphic could be interesting as well! Adding different color lines for various airlines taken, zooming in on the continent/country/area of the country your in, and roads to hotel/points of interest. Just a suggestion! I wanted to know where each Alila you stayed at was and the local airports so I kept having to open up another window and Google and spending time off of your site to research that. Anyways, thanks for all that you do!

6
RetiredATLATC Gold

"Every dinner started with fresh focaccia with labneh and money" Probably good thing they give out money, as the menu looks $$$ 5 OMR for a salad. Nah.

3
AJ Member

Great review! This property has been high on my list for a few years. You mentioned that you needed a four wheel drive and there was a police checkpoint. Im curious...are you implying that if you DO NOT have AWD that you're not allowed to visit the property? If so, I wonder how many people are turned away in, say, a week or month.

2
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