Walk around Oman’s Chedi hotel in Muscat and you’re minded of the Alhambra, with its gently arching halls, majli-inspired lobby and updated Moorish water gardens. But laze by one of its perfect pools or repair to the sublime spa and you’ll note that the swarming crowds of that particular palace couldn’t be further from your reality. This is standard-bearer for understated luxury and quiet minimalism.
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On returning home after your stay, you'll be sent a Smith voucher for £25/$40/€30 to use on your next holiday; GoldSmiths also get a bag of frankincense during their stay (GoldSmith room upgrades aren't usually available)
Noon (though late check-out up to 6pm is available for half the room’s nightly rate). Earliest check-in, 2pm.
Double rooms from $451.95 (OMR174), excluding tax at 17 per cent.
Rates usually include breakfast; an impressive buffet which offers everything from dim sum to Danish pastries.
There is a minimum stay of five nights between 24 December 2018 and 3 January 2019.
There's expected to be construction at the site neighbouring the hotel throughout 2019, starting at 6am each day and ending at 7pm (11pm on Fridays). A few rooms overlook the construction site, but the hotel will avoid allocating them.
At the hotel
Private beach, spa and health club, tennis courts, boutique, 21 acres of landscaped grounds and free WiFi. In rooms: TV, CD player, iPod dock, minibar with free drinks and snacks, Acqua di Parma bath products.
Our favourite rooms
In all rooms, neutral tones and dark fixtures are the order of the day, with the occasional carved wooden detail. Any room facing seawards offers cinematic views of the Gulf of Oman from the widescreen windows. The Chedi Club Suites have sunken terrazzo baths, private terraces and are close to the regal Club Lounge so you can be the first in the queue for the decadent champagne brunches it hosts.
There are three, including the region’s longest, a 103-metre-long moody marvel lined by palms and black double day beds. The Chedi pool overlooks the beach – perfect for wallowing with a view of the waves and, with a quick scamper across the narrow sands, you can splash among them. On the very hottest days, head for the Serai pool; it’s ample awnings provide welcome shade in and around the water.
In the 13 suites of Muscat’s largest spa you can treat yourself to jet lag-busting restorers, romantic bathing rituals, Himalayan warm stone massages and all manner of rejuvenating facials.
Bikinis, swimming shorts and the usual beachy essentials are fine for the pool. For day trips and evening time, it’s the smarter side of smart casual: trousers and shirts for men; long skirts and dresses for women, and something to cover your shoulders. If you're planning any desert adventures, sturdy shoes are a must.
Pick up a little shiny something from the boutique to accessorise your evening wear – locally-crafted jewellery, ornaments, art and clothes are all available to buy.
Children can only stay in the Chedi Club Suite (free for under sevens, and 40OMR a child a night for kids aged seven to 15).
Visit in the cooler months (October to April) and you can sit in the tree-lined courtyard where, under starry skies, mezze and kebabs are served to the rhythmic sounds of traditional Omani musicians.
Long, flowing cottons, light linens and neutral-toned chic to match your surrounds
The three pools each have their own cabana serving drinks and food, with Mediterranean fare by the Chedi pool, Asian flavours at the Serai pool and Japanese-cum-Malaysian nourishment to help you reach the other end of the Long Pool. Fine dining is done in the elegantly arched, and simply-titled, Restaurant. Its four open kitchens serve an impressive array of Arabian, Indian, Asian and Western cuisines – from lamb tagine to Wagyu beef. For an al fresco affair, opt for the Beach Restaurant, a romantic waterfront patio where fresh seafood and fine wine are paired with a sea breeze and lapping waves.
It’s not about where you get your drink; it’s where you take it. Poolside is prime cocktail territory, sip fine wines and watch the waves from the patio and retire to the outdoor Shisha Lounge with something stiffer.
The Restaurant is open for breakfast 7am-10.30am (11am on Fridays and Saturdays), lunch from noon to 6pm, and dinner from 7pm to 10.30pm. The three cabanas open at 9am and close at 5pm (Chedi Pool), or 11.30pm (Serai Pool and Long Pool).
Available 24 hours a day and includes breakfast, lunch and dinner options, a dessert and nighttime menu. The seafood grills and mezze plates tend to satisfy mild munchies.
Beachside in Muscat, with the the Gulf of Oman in touching distance and the peaks of the Hajar mountains jutting out just behind you.
Fly direct to Muscat International Airport from across the Uk, Europe and America; our Smith24 team of travel experts are on hand round the clock to book your flights and arrange the swift 15-minute transfer to the hotel (free for guests staying in a suite). Taxis regularly shuttle between the airport and the hotel’s driveway entrance.
You won't need a car is Muscat, but if you want your own set of wheel, Smith24 will happily arrange a rental for you to pick up at the airport. You’ll see the Chedi signposted regularly on the road into central Muscat. If you’re feeling decadent, a private car with a driver can be hired through the hotel’s concierge service, otherwise taxis are plentiful.
Worth getting out of bed for
With its cultural riches, wondrous waters and adventurous surrounds, Muscat has a broad appeal. If you need to ease yourself in, head to the spa for an uplifting Himalayan crystal body polish and you’ll be raring to go.
A walk along nearby Shatti Al Qurum beach at sunset is a Muscat highlight (if you can dodge the locals’ footballs). A 90-minute drive east brings you to Wadi Shab, a deep, palm-flecked sandstone gorge lined with blue-green pools that adventurous types will find irresistible for cliff-diving (don’t worry – locals are on hand to point out the safe spots). The road back takes you past the Hawiyat Najm Park, home to the Bimmah Sinkhole which was supposedly formed by a meteor and is well worth a swim in.
Off the coast of Muscat you’ll find exceptional snorkelling and diving in the warm sea, where turtles, rays and the occasional whale are likely companions. The Chedi’s concierge will be happy to arrange special dolphin-watching trips, too.
In the city, browse a treasure trove of Omani art and cultural curios at private museum Bait Al Zubair, home to one wealthy family’s impressive historical collection. Or settle in for some lung-busting operatics at the Royal Opera House Muscat. If you’re a fragrance fanatic, follow your nose to the headquarters of Amouage, the world’s most expensive perfumery. It’s been hand-crafting its range in Muscat for generations, using more than 120 natural ingredients, and coffee-aided tours are available throughout the week (Sunday to Thursday).
20 minutes away, the Muttrah Souk is alive with traders and patient browsers can unearth all kinds of good-value gold and silver gifts. Nizwa Souk – a 90-minute drive away – hosts a livestock auction each Friday morning, where the stubborn animals provide plenty of amusement.
The oven-fresh bread and just-caught seafood draws expats and locals alike to Turkish House (+968 244 88071), a 15-minute drive away. A few minutes further towards Qurum beach is Mumtaz Mahal (+968 246 05907), an award-winning dress-up-and-dine North Indian restaurant, also with seafood aplenty. If it’s a romantic dinner à deux you’re after, Al Angham (+968 22 077777), in the grounds of the Royal Opera House, does modern Omani cuisine in lavish surrounds. Try one of their private dining rooms for a memorable meal. For something a little more laid-back, Kargeen Caffe (+968 246 99055) is a Muscat favourite. Expect a mix of Omani dishes, Arabic grills and western snacks along with coffee, shisha and limonana, the ubiquitous lemon-mint drink. If you’re in need of stronger refreshment, Left Bank (+968 246 93699) is a western-style bar with chrome fittings, an extensive cocktail list and regular DJ nights.
Mr & Mr Smith have just returned from a stay at this Omani luxury hotel, and as soon as they've unpacked their souk souvenirs and Amouage perfume, a full account of their Gulf-side break will be with you. In the meantime, just to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick postcard from the Chedi Muscat
There’s a relaxed cocktail bar at one end and a private beach, lapped at by the Gulf of Oman, at the other. In between, elegant arches are decorated with smatterings of Balinese pottery. And that’s just the pool.
But don’t mistake its double-Olympic-length splendour for the kind of brash bling offered in Oman’s gulf-side neighbours, because the Chedi is very much a sanctuary of serene minimalism, inspired by its heritage-rich surrounds. From the material-draped indoor courtyard to the trickling fountains in the quiet quads, this is a place to seek peace.
The rooms are high of ceiling and large of window, accented with light linens and dark decor. The grounds are carefully coiffed and simple scenes of Omani life decorate hallways. Even the gym is calmer than your average spa space. We’d call it an oasis if that weren’t the stalest of clichés.
It’s a place to dine and to recline, to save your energy for the adventures for which you are so perfectly placed; moseying in Muscat, sauntering round a souk, driving through the desert, snorkelling in the sea…
Whenever you book a stay at a Smith hotel or villa, we’ll invite you to review it when you get back. Read what other Smith members had to say in The Chedi Muscat’s Guestbook below.
Everything about this place was perfect. The service, the attention to detail, the wide variety of delicious food, the breathtaking scenery and the peace and quiet to name a few. I would highly recommend the Chedi for anyone who is in need for some much needed chill out time in paradise.
Stayed on 15 Nov 2018
The peace, tranquility and design of the hotel and how big the grounds are. There are three gorgeous swimming pools and no area of the hotel was particularly busy. There isn't any high-rise and the buildings have been impeccably designed. It was perfect for the start of our honeymoon to switch off in peace and quiet.
A cheap meal or drink! The food is ludicrously expensive (c.50 for one salad, one sandwich and tap water at lunch!) and 9 for a bottle of beer. An evening meal of very simple food was 170, which did leave a sour taste.... we don't mind paying up for food but it wasn't worth the expense and you are quite trapped so have to pay. We did go out to eat one evening which was much cheaper. Also don't expect a beautiful beach.... the sea is lovely and warm but the sand and the outlook are nothing special.
Stayed on 15 Oct 2018
We absolutely loved the Chedi! It was as beautiful as it looked in all of the pictures and a perfect escape from the hum drum of daily life. It is set in the most stunning location, with amazing gardens and totally in keeping with the traditional Omani culture and architecture. We loved the long pool, the stunning location, the amazing staff (who couldn't do enough to help us and make our stay one to remember), the wonderful food in the restuarant, the attention to detail in the rooms and the overall tranquility and seclusion of the setting. Do try the Nasi Goreng in the restuarant and enjoy the evening sunset down at the Long Pool! Go to the Souq in Mutra, great place for bargin hunting and trinkets and generally a wander and explore; do try the Kargeen Cafe in an Omani neighbourhood (we had the Iftar buffet during Ramadan – it has a wonderful outdoor courtyard); go dolphin spotting in the gulf of Oman and snorkelling (dolphins not always guaranteed – we had two gos!) and last but not least the amazing Grand Mosque, go early to avoid the crowds and bring items to cover up arms and legs and hair for ladies.
It to be cheap – it is quite pricey, don't expect any bargins! However, everything is exquisite and luxurious as you would expect from a 5-star hotel. If you are looking for somewhere cooler, do go before April/May. If you want to manage your budget find a local supermarket and do try local restaurants and venture out, it is well worth it!
Stayed on 4 Jun 2018
The outdoor space including pools and gardens. The Muscat souk is a must.