An exceptional, eco-friendly boutique property that mixes tradition, nature and contemporary living
Activity adventure | Natural world | Off the beaten track | Spa
This exceptional, eco-friendly boutique property is the first Alila property in the region. A mix of tradition, nature and contemporary living, it is a very welcome and unexpected base from which to explore this fascinating part of Oman.
Spectacularly located in the Al Hajar mountain range, Alila Jabal Akhdar, whose name means ‘Green Mountain’ is wonderfully remote, marooned in a desert landscape of rugged beauty and surrounded by breathtaking scenery. It stands 2,000 metres above sea level and is typically only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicle.
The hotel, constructed using traditional Omani techniques, sits on the edge of a dramatic canyon, surrounded by stark desert scenery into which its stone-clad suites seem to blend courtesy of the sympathetic design and use of local building materials. Luckily this dramatic location doesn’t mean that you have to compromise on style or comfort.
There are 86 suites and villas scattered around the hotel grounds. Low-rise rooms are well-spaced along the edge of the canyon so you never feel cramped or overlooked. Inside, they are decorated in soft hues of nutmeg and rich chocolate, with dark wood furniture, stone terraces and decoration that harks back to the areas traditions and customs; there are murals of juniper tree branches and leaves painted in every room by a local artist that bring the outdoors inside and connect the rooms to the land. Bathrooms are large and light-filled, with views out over the landscape. Each room comes with modern commodities, including satellite TV and WiFi.
Ridge View Suites are secluded second floor rooms with some of the finest views down into the gorge; the ground floor Horizon Suites have spacious outside seating areas and the Jabal Terrace Suite’s giant outdoor deck is great for taking in the sunset, night sky and stars. If you’re looking for a special space though, the two exclusive Jabal Villas come complete with their own steam room, private pool and Jacuzzi.
The hotel’s main restaurant, Juniper, takes its name from the gnarled evergreen found growing wild in the region. It is light and airy, with dark wood furniture and stone-clad walls, softened by a constellation of lanterns hanging overhead. Ask for a table by the large panoramic windows, the views through which perfectly compliment the high-quality, inventive food with a traditional Middle Eastern or Mediterranean origin; try the baba ganoush, pastillas and lamb tagine spiced with cinnamon, lemon and prunes.
The small, intimate Rose Lounge is good for a drink or light snack, with the same views on offer from the tables inside or from the spacious outdoor deck. The hotel has been granted an alcohol license, relatively rare in Oman, so you can take advantage of well-sourced wines and expertly-made cocktails.
The hotel has a lounge, library and gym. There is also a seductive infinity pool that looks out over the canyon and vertiginous cliffs on its far side as well as a small indoor heated plunge pool. The spa, Spa Alila, has seven treatment rooms, a Vichy shower and Jacuzzi. Oils sourced from villages in East Bali are available as part of the relaxing massages and signature treatments on offer.
If you can bring yourself to break away from the luxury on offer, boot on your hiking shoes and explore the nearby wadis and walking trails that lead to the neighbouring villages. The hotel can provide shoes, a picnic and guides. From March to May the terraces of the Saiq Plateau burst into bloom and are covered with Damask Rose blossom, grown to be turned into the region’s renowned rose water.
Concierge staff can also arrange bespoke cultural excursions to Nizwa, an hour away by car, to explore the famed seventeenth century fort, souq and lively Friday goat market, as well as trips to take in the customs of the people who maintain a traditional existence in the area; options include regional cooking and the chance to discover more about the area’s history.
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