LOCATED ON THE FRINGES OF MUSCAT, THE CAPITAL CITY OF THE SULTANATE OF OMAN, THE CHEDI IS A PROPERTY SYNONYMOUS WITH SECLUSION AND LUXURY AND ONE THAT’S REFERENCED IN ALMOST MYTHOLOGICAL TERMS. GUESTS WHO VISIT THE 21-ACRE OASIS, WHERE THE CRAGGY HAJAR MOUNTAINS MEET THE TURQUOISE WATERS OF THE INDIAN OCEAN, SHOUT THE PRAISES OF THIS TRANQUIL RESORT. LET’S SEE IF FACT’S DAVID TAPLEY DOES THE SAME…
Could The Chedi be Muscat’s best-kept secret? An ultraexclusive hideaway targeting a clientele of worldwide jetsetters. It certainly appears to be the case when team FACT visited for a recent weekend stay. Unrestrained grandeur and high levels of service begin from the moment we touch down in Oman, as we’re transported via private limousine into the very heart of luxury. We didn’t expect The Chedi to be situated in such close proximity to the city centre but upon passing through the white-washed perimeter walls, it feels as though we’re miles from civilisation.
The hotel lobby greets us with Omani charm as the scent of oud drifts out into the starscattered sky, while a collection of rainbowcoloured glass lanterns are suspended overhead painting a picture straight out of the stories of 1001 Arabian Nights. The Chedi’s architecture is Moorish in style emanating a sense of zen-like serenity and it’s this hybrid of Arabian and Asian that provides much of the property’s appeal. We’re gifted a handy map to help us navigate the expansive grounds and as our hands brush against door handles inlaid with mother of pearl, we know we’re in for a real treat…
With 158 guest rooms and suites available we had the privilege of staying in one of the 38 Chedi Club Suites. These standalone units sleep a maximum of four guests and offer the feeling of a private villa, generously-sized and tastefully-decorated in traditional Omani furnishings. Taking a minimalistic approach, the living area features majlis seating that easily converts into divan-style beds. The bedroom juxtaposes dark mahogany against the ample natural light streaming through the shuttered windows, while a king-size bed provides the utmost comfort, superseded by a silver dome housing a large Arabic lantern. It’s not all traditional though as modern touches heighten the experience and can be found in the technological aspects – a Nespresso machine and two 42-inch flat screen televisions.
The bathrooms are literally the stuff of dreams (#TubEnvy), with double vanities, separate rainfall shower and a sunken tub big enough to fit an entire family! Acqua Di Parma toiletries add to the pampering nature of the property and are almost as comforting as the slippers and robes which forgo the usual ‘fluffy’ texture in favour of a more kimono-like approach. The benefits of the Club Suite also entitle guests to complimentary limousine transfers, laundry service and a mini bar (replenished daily) complete with glass decanters of liquor for an additional touch of class. Each Club Suite sports a small outside terrace with reclining sun-loungers from which you can glimpse the sea through natural sand dunes and meadows of pampas grass. Booking the Club Suite also provides access to the Chedi Club where afternoon tea and pre-dinner cocktails and canapés are provided.
Many guests select The Chedi as a hideaway from the world, if only for a day or two. With discreet levels of service and a respect for privacy, guests are valued in a way shown by few properties in the region. Set amidst tranquil water gardens inspired by the oasis falaj system, perfectly shaped hedgerows and curved archways, The Chedi is flanked by a 370-metre stretch of private beach and it’s refreshing to see a natural coastline in the Gulf unencumbered by the construction that blights other GCC cities. With three swimming pools on site, the Long Pool is a symbol of The Chedi used in magazines and on postcards for the best part of a decade.
At 103 meters in length, the body of water is recognised as the longest swimming pool in the Middle East. Lined by slender palm trees mapping out the trajectory of the water, a polished black-tile finish adds an uber-cool vibe to the monochromatic stylings of cabanas and lounge furniture. Two of the temperature controlled swimming pools are reserved for the use of adults only (the Long and Chedi pools) but the Serai pool, situated close to the beach is conveniently shaded for families with young children.
The health club and spa (the largest in Muscat) present a state-of-the-art gymnasium and a selection of treatment rooms (two of which are conveniently set up for couples). Continuing the Zen approach, the treatment rooms are home to jacuzzi baths and steam rooms, meaning all your wellness needs are taken care of in one place.
The beauty of a resort like this is in its proximity to Muscat’s main sights and attractions – Mutrah Souq, Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, and the opportunity for dolphin watching – while promoting a feeling of complete isolation.
Those in search of fine dining have six restaurants, two lounges and a myriad of cuisines to choose from. Breakfast is served in The Restaurant and offers both buffet and a la carte dining beneath Omani arches and crystal chandeliers. The Restaurant is also home to The Chedi’s popular Friday Champagne Brunch, a more sophisticated and restrained affair than the ritualistic party-orientated brunches of the region. For something a little special guests can opt to dine al fresco on freshly grilled seafood at the Beach Restaurant, which is one of THE places to dine in Muscat while taking in sunset views over the Indian Ocean. The Long Pool serves up distinctive Asian fare and represents our personal favourite of The Chedi’s dining options with the pool area taking on an ethereal quality after dark.
A SERENE STAY
The Chedi is the ideal place to escape for a few days and situated just over a 90-minute flight from Bahrain, it’s perfect for a long weekend. The beauty of a resort like this is in its proximity to Muscat’s main sights and attractions – Mutrah Souq, Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, and the opportunity for dolphin watching – while promoting a feeling of complete isolation. At almost 15-years-old The Chedi, is beginning to show minor signs of wear and tear BUT with such exclusivity and Arabian hospitality on display, you’ll barely notice. Go for the peace and the perfection of hospitality.