When I was planning my trip to Dubai, I intended to stay in UAE the weekend before and the weekend after my training course. That is, until a colleague and fellow traveler suggested that I consider Oman for the weekend instead. I didn’t know one thing about Oman – where it was located, if it was safe for a woman to travel alone, what was there to see or do…nothing. I started to do some research and decided pretty quickly that I should check it out.
First things first. For those of you who, like, me, don’t know where Oman is, let me help you:
It’s technically called the Sultanate of Oman, and Muscat (where I visited) is the capital. The flight from Dubai was only 30-40 minutes. I found a beautiful property on the water – Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. It’s 20-30 minutes by taxi to the center of Muscat, but it is situated on the Gulf of Oman, and it is just gorgeous! I didn’t pay particular attention to which of the three hotels I booked on the property, but when I arrived, I found out they were upgrading me to the high end hotel – Al Husn. Hip hip hooray!
I was so utterly exhausted after my work week that I went to bed shortly after arrival – committing to sleep until I woke up. Of course, that was 7:45am. But at least I wasn’t woken up by an alarm!
The view out my window in the morning was stunning!
Unlike the flatness of UAE, Oman had rock formations along the water and mountains behind the property. The landscape was unexpected and truly beautiful.
Apparently, Oman is known for turtles. I guess it’s appropriate that I got to see baby sea turtles hatching on the hotel’s private beach. The staff was ready to help them into boxes where they can grow a bit before being released into the water. It was SO. COOL.
On my way to my spa appointment, I was able to see more of the property.
Leading up to the weekend, I had grand plans of all of the things I would do during my two day visit. Sure, I would sit by the pool for part of a day, but I was going to visit another large mosque, shop in the souks, and go to a museum. However, once I arrived at this lovely place, I decided I didn’t want to leave. (Plus, my level of exhaustion convinced me it was a good idea to take up residence in a beach chair with a book.) And that was exactly what happened.
I only ventured off-property on Friday night when I went into the city to attend a ballet at the Royal Opera House Muscat. It’s the only opera house in the region, and I was thrilled at the idea of a live performance – something that isn’t readily available in Vevey. The venue has a strict, formal dress code. Shoulders must be covered and dresses must be below the knees. I bought something while I was in Florence earlier in the month, so I had two reasons to get out of the hotel – a ballet ticket and a new dress.
The opera house is so beautiful, and the performance was equally wonderful. It was called The Love of Chunhyang, and it was performed by the Universal Ballet of Korea. It was so emotional, and I loved it!
[They even had violins all over the seats in the auditorium. The orchestra nerd in me thought that was adorable!]
Instead of running all over town on my final day trying to see and do everything, I decided to stay in my chair with a view. When it’s at least 116*F, there’s really not much more one is capable of doing anyway…
My weekend of rest & relaxation was completely unintentional, but I think it was probably necessary. It isn’t every day that I sit still for so long. I even managed to read an entire book, which was such a treat! (For those looking for a book recommendation, check out “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd.)
Perhaps I’ll make it back to Oman someday to barter in the souks, visit the huge mosque, explore the wadis and other natural wonders. But until then, my memories will be of a beautiful opera house, amazing scenery, and utter relaxation.