In an ideal case scenario, what would be the best thing a hotel can do for you? Make you feel at home? Relax you? Introduce you to amazing people? Provide you with a new and extraordinary experience? Lead you into a whole new world? Whatever your answer to that question there is always a place out there that exactly meets what it is you are looking for.
I’ve been lucky to test out a number of amazing hotels around the world in the past couple of years and so one thing I now look for more than ever is this: the wow-factor. I don’t just mean – wow, that’s a nice bathroom, or wow, that’s a tasty pina colada the pool bar is serving. It’s more of an overall experience of outstanding service, design, comfort, atmosphere and originality. The best hotels are those who don’t just copy but which develop an individual standard on what they consider service. This could be something as simple as free wifi throughout or as delicate as a chilled bottle of champagne waiting on your balcony as you return from the beach in the early evening. Something you did not order but that someone thought you might enjoy.
Back in September we took an Oman Air flight to the Maldives (read about it here) and decided to extend our layover in Muscat into a 3-day trip in order to get to know this small country that is very up and coming in the tourism industry. Just 40 years ago the country’s population were mostly Bedouin, there were hardly any schools and only 2 hospitals. Now, under the reign of the sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said there are 120 hospitals and Oman is currently considered one of the most developed countries in the Arab world. There has never been a better time to visit this desert state – a perfect opportunity to test-drive what it feels like to live in a fairytale from 1001 nights.
Rumored to be the best hotel in Oman, the Chedi Muscat is everything your traveling heart desires when it comes to outstanding luxury and oriental flair. Featuring six distinct restaurants, a thirteen-suite Balinese spa (the city’s largest), a 400-square metre health club and three swimming pools, including a dramatic 103-metre long saltwater pool, which actually is the longest one in all of the Middle East, this 5-star boutique hotel is not running short on superlatives. Even at full occupancy the resort is so vast that it always feels private, an ideal getaway for honeymooners, moguls, celebrities and anyone looking for that special experience.
Yes, our room was more of an apartment with a living room, bedroom and a bathroom the size of a small studio in Paris, yes we spent hours lavishing by the pool sipping cocktails and trying hard to convince oursleves that this was real and yes, we turned every breakfast into a 2-hour brunch and ordered everything on the menu, from eggs benedict to waffles with fresh fruits and vanilla sauce. But what really left a deep impression on me was how every single member of hotel staff we came across went out of their way to make us feel more comfortable. I wanted to pick up 2 glasses of wine to bring back to our room? Someone would insist to come by with the bottle and pour it in person. We’d come home from a tour around town and craving a chilled drink? No problem, because someone has already filled up the container with ice cubes. Fancy some original French patissery at 2am? All it takes is a quick phone call to room service.
Every gardener, cleaning staff or manager we would meet walking around in the resort stopped for a second, saying hello and wishing us a great day whenever we passed them. When I decided to go for a sunset swim in the pool after everyone else had already left, a guard would wait patiently and in respectful distance to ensure I wasn’t drowning.
The Chedi felt like a very safe and relaxing place, ideal for anyone needing to clear their mind off some business and just wanting a great time lounging by record sized pools, eating amazing food and stargazing at the beach during nighttime, cool drink in hand.
For more info please visit the Chedi Muscat’s website.