That Oman is attracting tourists from far and wide is a well-known fact. Usama Bin Karim Al Haremi, of Oman Air’s Corporate Communications and Media said, “Oman is different and suits the taste of any traveller. It is a country of traditional Arab – Islamic values and culture with a cosmopolitan living environment. Steeped in 6000 years of history and distinctive mixture of cultural riches, dramatic scenery, luxury hotels which offer unparalleled hospitality services and facilities surpassing in quality, and a magnificent unspoilt coastline stretching over 1,700 kilometres, the Sultanate has much to offer visitors. In reality, Oman is one of Arabia’s most unique countries.
Al Haremi informed that the American Luxury Travel Magazine website, which is one of the world’s leading luxury travel websites, and a premier resource for the world’s most discerning travelers, has recently published a report titled “Luxury and Adventure in Oman” by Mark Gillett.
Highlighting the writer’s profile, He notified that Mark Gillett who is an adventurer, speaker, photojournalist and explorer specialising in desert travel, is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society. His favourite Travel Destination he added is Oman followed closely by the Scilly Isles. With 30 years of travel and organising expeditions to the Middle East, Mark’s career has turned more to photojournalism. “In his report on Oman, he rightly brings the flavor of an ideal leisure travel destination.” Usama Karim Al Haremi said.Hill highlighted that Paris-Charles de Gaulle, the latest addition to the carrier’s network, is part of a route expansion programme that will reinforce its position on long haul routes. Oman Air’s expansion, he mentioned, has been designed to run parallel with the Sultanate's strategy of positioning itself as an upmarket leisure destination. “I am sure that the new direct link will prove very popular,” he said.
While other international airlines are cutting back their services Hill added, we continue to grow our network to offer the travelling public a world-class airline service. Oman Air is operating with three-class service to Paris-Charles de Gaulle. “Our customers can now experience fine dining, the latest in in-flight entertainment and amenities onboard our new Airbus fleet,” he said.
To know Arab culture, is to know hospitality. His majesty, Sultan Qaboos Bin Said ruler of Oman has issued an open invitation for visitors to experience the wonders of his country located on the southeast corner of the Arabian Peninsula. I convince my wife, Freddy that we should sample luxury “Omani style.”
As we enter the Chedi, we are overwhelmed by a sense of space that stretches upward into the extraordinary blue sky. Everywhere water, that most precious commodity in the desert world, sooths and reflects. We are given freshly squeezed orange juice and cool face towels to banish the effects of travel. After our check in, we are shown to our suite by a concierge. Tension is soon a memory.
We spend two beautiful relaxing days by the beach and visiting Muscat town. English has been adopted by Oman as its second language and many signs are in both Arabic and English. The souk (local market) in Muttrah is a must and an opportunity to mingle with locals. Most Omani men wear a traditional white ankle-length, collarless robe called a dishdasha. Women’s robes, by contrast, are a cascade of brilliant colors.
The Chedi offers some of the best cuisine in the region. The menu, although large, is excellent. We finish our meal and absorb the surrounding quiet of Chedi’s gardens with another glass of wine.
Mark also brings to fore the excellent adventure opportunities available in Oman like heading to the mountains and camping there and taking to wadi-bashing.
“Then it’s time to explore. The Muscat Diving and Adventure Centre delivers our car to the hotel equipped with all the camping gear we will need. We set off immediately for Jebel Shams, Oman’s highest peak at nearly 3000 m. It is about a three-hour drive (240 km) from Muscat and we decide to stop in Nizwa, on route to pick up food supplies. Nizwa is the center of Oman’s date growing region and its Friday market is an event not to be missed. But today we quickly make our purchases and push on. As we begin our ascent, we immediately notice the drop in temperature. Magnificent enough to earn the title the Grand Canyon, Jebel Shams offers some of the best camping and views on the Arabian Peninsula.”
The next morning, the sun breaks around 7am and the warmth on our faces is immediate. It is such a beautiful way to wake! We pack up and head for the coastal town of Sur, stopping along the way at another “not to be missed” destination, the Wahiba Sands. Here you can look out on (or venture into) a huge sand sea where only experienced Bedouin know the secret to survival. Guided tours are available or you can book a night camp. It is also possible to drive a little way in with a 4x4 vehicle -- but not too far! We head south through the port of Sur to the famous White Beach known primarily to residents and expats. This may not be true much longer as talk of development is in the air. We collect a few shells and potter while the sun sets. From our campsite, we watch dolphins playing just off the beach. Our camping time comes to an end the following morning and we head back via Quariyat a coastal fishing and farming region worth a stop for coffee then to back to the Chedi.
Our last night takes in a visit to another “meeting place”. We eat at a small restaurant in Ruwi. Gold shops, electronics stores and numerous eating-places make this place lively and colorful. Such contrast to the serene nature of the Chedi but one that adds to the experience of Oman!
Summing it all up, Mark writes: “Our experience of Oman is one of serenity. Travel here involves minimal stress and the people are friendly and welcoming. Still, the country is rugged and truly raw. No one controls this desert. We are merely its guests and with true mid-eastern hospitality, it delivers nothing but the best. Best time to goo: Anytime! But if you like it cooler try from November to March. The Dhofar region turns into green fertile hills for the summer months. Places to see: Grand Mosque, Muttrah Souk, and fish market, Nizwa, various forts. Above all, explore and find Oman, not just the listed sites. It is full of hidden treasures.”
About the website that carried this report, Usama Bin Karim Al Haremi, of Oman Air’s Corporate Communications and Media stated that The American Luxury Travel Magazine website is where sophisticated, world travelers find inspiring articles, up to the moment travel news, the world’s best luxury hotels and resorts, and simply the best, most trusted travel recommendations.
“With latest and greatest information maintained on luxurytravelmagazine.com, the site has stayed ahead of its many competitors to keep users coming back. Mark Gillet’s work is published in various media including: Sunday Times, CNN Traveller, Geographical, Digital Photographer, Practical Photographer, Dazed & Confused, Runners World, Running Fitness, Outer Edge, Observer, London Papers, and numerous other press,” Al Haremi informed.