8 Apr 2018

Victory House: an MGallery Hotel

Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel reviewEuriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review

Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review 
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review

Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review

Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review
Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review

Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review

Euriental | luxury travel & style | MGallery Victory House, London, hotel review

On a cold and drizzly afternoon, I checked into the MGallery Victory House hotel, a new London opening by Sofitel. 

Let me preface by stating that the location might not be my first choice when picking a place to stay in London. Leicester Square is a mass of befuddled and bored looking tourists, establishments along the likes of M&M's World, touters trying to entice unsuspecting pedestrians into bars/clubs with coupons for free drinks and obnoxious street performers (the better ones tend to hang around Oxford Circus).

However. Avoid the square itself where possible and make a right turn out of the hotel (Leicester Square is on the left) and you'll find yourself in Chinatown. You can't go wrong there!

I digress. After checking in, I was shown up to my room and left to my own devices. First impressions: it's all in the details. I loved the green velvet chairs; the little touch of nature with the potted plant and orchid; the coffee table books; brass lamps and hardware. However it was also immediately obvious that there wasn't a huge amount of natural light in the room, even less so with the dark clouds outside that day.

The next thing I realised while checking out the bedroom was that there was no wardrobe, just a single rail that hangs over the chest of drawers by the bathroom where the coffee machine sits. Bizarre! How would one hang long items such as coats and dresses? 🤔

Jarv arrived not long after me, and not long after him, a welcome bottle of champagne was brought up, opened and poured for us to enjoy before we headed out for the evening.


Breakfast the next morning was had downstairs in the bistro, which features more of the chic brass hardware and art deco style artwork on the walls (I'm crazy about those poster style print outs...anyone know where I can get some myself?). The buffet spread was fine but where the food particularly stands out is when ordering off the menu (namely the eggs Benedict and French toast). My fav spot was the little nook in the corner by the bar - it feels a little more private and very cosy.

Although Victory House doesn't have an on-site gym, as a guest you are entitled to use the Gymbox round the corner in Covent Garden. I love Gymbox! From DJs to a boxing ring to three full floors bursting with equipment, it's pretty difficult not to enjoy a workout here. So workout we did, then back to Chinatown we went for lunch, then to the room to relax for a few hours before dinner.

We'd reserved a specific table for dinner, however upon arriving downstairs discovered that this table had been given away to a large group. We decided to start the evening instead in our new favourite little nook with some gin martinis and wine before moving over to the table an hour later for dinner. No biggie.

My honest verdict? MGallery Victory House is perfectly suitable if you're looking for a short stay in a central London location. It's a little rough around the edges when it comes to certain aspects of service: there was the dinner reservation mix up, a slightly unhelpful phone conversation (when Jarv called asking to borrow a phone charger he was told that someone had one in the staff room but he couldn't bring it to our room...why even tell him there is one that he can't use?) and one evening when I requested a makeup removal wipe, it took over half an hour for someone to bring it to our room. Our room could also have been improved with more natural light, a proper wardrobe to store clothes away and a bin in the living room/bedroom.

However, these service issues may well be due to the fact that the hotel is still a reasonably new opening and perhaps some staff just need a little longer on the job. On a more positive note, the decor is very tasteful, for the most part the staff are professional, food is decent, access to the Gymbox is a bonus and as mentioned, the location is certainly convenient for getting around central London (even on foot, should weather permit).

Have you stayed at an MGallery hotel before? What was your experience?

Thank you to MGallery Victory House for putting us up for 2 nights. Monetary compensation was not provided for this article, and all words are my own.

16 Mar 2018

Spring Dresses That Aren't Floral

Okay, okay, I see you London, slooooowly easing us into spring. I'm beyond ready for it. I've been shopping spring/summer pieces for months already and already packed half of my jumpers away in Muji storage bags tucked under the sofa. Yes, that was highly impractical (and optimistic) of me - I'm still pulling them out on a weekly basis.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Spring dresses that aren't floral

Dress: c/o Jessica Choay // Shoes: c/o Emy Mack

At the moment, I'm feeling just a little bit uninspired by floral - of course, I still love a beautiful floral print but it feels a tad obvious for spring. Instead, I'm looking to linens, silks, ribbed knits and long-sleeved classics to see the next season in.

Spring, let's do this!
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Spring dresses that aren't floral

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Spring dresses that aren't floral

Photography by Luis Calow




2 Mar 2018

Oman Continued: Muscat and The Chedi

After a rejuvenating couple of days up in the mountains at Alila Jabal Akhdar, we made the journey back down to Muscat, the capital of Oman - and where our journey began. We would be staying at the renowned Chedi hotel for the next few days whilst we explored the city and its surrounding landscape.

I'll be honest, our expectations were quite high. People adore this hotel, some of the PMs at Jarv's office had even voiced their approval when he told them where we were headed, so we were very excited.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | The Chedi Muscat, Oman Euriental | luxury travel & style | The Chedi Muscat, Oman Euriental | luxury travel & style | The Chedi Muscat, Oman Euriental | luxury travel & style | The Chedi Muscat, Oman Euriental | luxury travel & style | The Chedi Muscat, Oman Euriental | luxury travel & style | The Chedi Muscat, Oman Euriental | luxury travel & style | The Chedi Muscat, Oman Euriental | luxury travel & style | The Chedi Muscat, Oman Euriental | luxury travel & style | The Chedi Muscat, Oman Euriental | luxury travel & style | The Chedi Muscat, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | The Chedi Muscat, Oman

Unfortunately, the reality of our time at the Chedi was that it was very hit and miss.

  • Absolutely stunning pool(s). They also have an adults only pool, something that I do appreciate.

  • The most beautiful gym I've ever seen. It's more of a gym-cum-library, with plush leather armchairs and desks dotted in between machines and equipment. An odd layout, but one that works brilliantly.

  • Birthday cakes in each room for the two birthday boys were a nice touch (both Jarv and Ollie were celebrating birthdays that month :)) ... and were extremely delicious!

  • A great in-room shower - very spacious and powerful. Also loved the dual sinks and mirrors in the bathroom area, plus two separate wardrobe spaces.
  • The in-room amenities are Acqua di Parma (which both smell and look great) and up to 15 free items of laundry a day was put to good use, too.

  • On the subject of freebies...the minibar was full stocked and entirely free, including all alcohol. It was restocked daily.

  • Having access to the executive lounge was a bonus - the food was decent but not a great selection of alcohol.

  • No umbrellas at the main pool means zero shade during the day. How people can stand to be out there, I don't know! Also, pool staff were unsmiling and appeared uninterested in their work.

  • Rooms aren't bad, but are a little tired and in need of refurbishment, and not as beautiful compared to the likes of most Park Hyatts, Alilas, etc.

  • Though we should have had upgrades upon check-in had there been availability, with the hotel being quite busy, we ended up with a Club Room that overlooked a car park. I can understand a certain room type not being available, but a supposed five star luxury resort such as the Chedi shouldn't have any rooms looking out at a car park. After requesting a room transfer because frankly it was a depressing view, we ended up with an identical room that overlooked some of the public areas instead. The view was much lovelier, however privacy was nil if we had the curtains open. I literally could see directly into other people's rooms.

  • The food wasn't bad by any means, but nothing spectacular and rather overpriced. I'd sooner suggest going into the city than staying at the resort for every meal (I suggest Turkish House - we ate there on our last evening and the food was great. It's very casual and popular with both locals and tourists alike). We tried 3 restaurants at the Chedi (including the fine dining Beach Restaurant) and all were fine, but slightly underwhelming (best was probably the Chedi Pool Cabana for a simple, fresh and casual lunch).

  • We came across a carpet viper (one of Oman's seven species of viper) whilst on an evening stroll with our friends around the pool area. Carpet vipers are one of the most aggressive breeds and their venom can be deadly. Now, nature will be nature and you can't keep wildlife out of open areas - however when we let the front desk know that someone should probably remove it (what if a child had been running around?), they didn't appear to take our warning seriously, smiling and nodding placatingly.

Perhaps it would have been a very different experience, having one of the sea view rooms or club terrace rooms. Perhaps after such a smooth and satisfying stay at Alila, the Chedi's few downfalls felt even worse in comparison. If we are comparing - and I don't think it's unfair to hold the Chedi to a higher standard, being that per night it costs a very similar amount to Alila - our overall experience was subpar in comparison to the likes of Alila in terms of food, service (except for housekeeping - they were fab!) and room experience.




Bimmah sinkhole is a stunning limestone sinkhole in the Earth's crust filled with gorgeous, clear turquoise fresh water. It's easily accessible down a few steps and during our visit, was relatively quiet (perhaps because it was a weekday). It is about 20m deep, so make sure you're a comfortable swimmer, though you can wade in and stay in the shallower areas too - the gara rufa fish will have a field day nibbling at your body! Harmless, of course, and more tickly than anything.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Bimmah Sinkhole, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Bimmah Sinkhole, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Bimmah Sinkhole, Oman

Fins beach is a mere 15 minute drive from the sinkhole, and is an idyllic white sand beach with dramatic mountain landscape on one side and the glittering blue ocean on the other. We were the only ones there, save for a small group of guys who were just dropping anchor on their little boat to hop ashore for lunch on the beach.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Fins White Beach, Oman


Aghhh, Wadi Shab. I feel exasperated trying to put our experience into words, so let me summarise as best I know how (list a good list).

This place was indeed gorgeous, but it was also challenging.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Wadi Shab, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Wadi Shab, Oman

1. We were given no warning by the tour company of the preparations required - i.e. don't take anything that isn't waterproof, you won't be able to take it to the final pools as the only way to access them is by swimming without holding on to any sides/having a foothold, and wear proper hiking shoes/trainers with as good a grip as you can find.

2. Wadi Shab is not for those who aren't very confident swimmers. One of our friends had a mild panic attack at the final pool - not only was it crowded, but in order to access it you must let go of the sides as they close in on each other and swim between the narrow walls, trusting that it will open up again.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Wadi Shab, Oman

3. The timing of our trip meant that we ended up visiting the Wadi at midday - and there was a lot of walking with zero shade. Something none of us would have agreed to had we known. Our friend wound up suffering heat exhaustion and two of us had to leave him behind in a tiny spot of shade we found, whilst we brought water from one of the pools a few minutes away to pour over his head and cool him down. Finally he felt well enough to make it to the next pool where we could then get his body temperature lowered. 

Had we known how the timings would work out in terms of driving, visiting the two locations we had on the agenda beforehand and then exploring Wadi Shab, we could have easily planned to visit Wadi Shab first and then check out the sinkhole and beach afterwards. Yet again - we weren't warned beforehand that there was no shade for most of the walk. Afterwards, I found a few people had actually mentioned that on Tripadvisor, but still ... I feel like that should be something the tour company mentions for the wellbeing of their customers.

4. Towards the latter pools, the 'path' gets extremely slippery at times and it's hard to get a good grip. There are no handrails or safety rails as it is a natural area. Be very careful with your steps.

5. Wadi Shab is mostly untouched - it's public land and there are no lifeguards. If you have an accident, feel unwell, slip and fall or have a problem in the water, you can only rely on other tourists and visitors around you to help. It takes about an hour to get to the final pool and in some parts, the water is so deep there is no way anybody could recover anything lost, so make sure anything you take with you is attached to your wrist/round your neck.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Wadi Shab, Oman

I don't want to be a fear-mongerer - it's not like I'm extremely risk adverse. I love adventure; I love to scuba dive with sharks, rappel down a mountainside, snowboard on the slopes, zip line through the jungle. I love to try new things... but this was the first time I truly felt like my life could have been at risk had I not been more careful, had I not been capable, or a confident swimmer.

We enjoyed the experience much in the way you do when you do something absolutely terrifying, feel like you brushed against death's door and then make it out the other end, elated and practically drunk on giddiness that you all survived the multiple ordeals of the day. We all toasted to making it out in one piece (mostly - Bena lost a toenail 😆) that night, I can tell you!

If you plan on going, do your research thoroughly. Bring lots of drinking water, wear shoes with excellent grip (though even these won't help you in certain areas where the rocks have been eroded to the point that they are smooth as marble, so tread carefully). Don't bring anything you aren't happy to get wet. DON'T go at the hottest time of day, but also don't leave it too late as you won't want to be manoeuvring your way back when it starts to get dark.

It is a gorgeous place unlike anywhere else I've seen before, and there were even children at the final pool so ... you know. It's not the most arduous trek or anything, just precarious depending on time of day, how high the water is, how slippery the rocks are, etc. Take precautions and you'll have a marvellous time!


Jarv and I took off early one morning whilst our friends slept in, looking forward to experiencing the warm waters of the Arabian sea and - with all fingers crossed - dive with a whale shark.

20 minutes into our dive, our Dive Master rapped urgently on his tank. Slowly, the large figure of a gentle giant swam into sight - a whale shark. We'd been searching for this elusive gentle giant for a while now: we were supposed to be able to witness them in the Maldives, Fiji, Thailand and the Philippines but had had no luck on any of those occasions.

The whale shark spend a few minutes with us before deciding we were of no interest and gliding away into the blue. Such an unforgettable experience.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | whale shark, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | snorkelling in Oman

Above: me holding a harmless non-stinging jellyfish the Captain handed to me during our snorkelling excursion. Ignore my "wtf" face. Don't worry, we put it back into the ocean (so that it could live out its life terrifying a few more tourists).

Euriental | luxury travel & style | snorkelling in Oman


We found ourselves in Muscat during the opening night of world-renowned ballet Swan Lake. Not ones to pass up an opportunity to experience such a celebrated performance at the Opera House of a different country, we booked a private box for the four of us - a fantastic way to enjoy the State Opera and Ballet Theatre Astana Opera. I highly recommend a visit if you can - the Opera House is gorgeous inside and was the first of its kind in the UAE, instructed to be built in 2011 by the music-loving sultan of Oman.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Royal Opera House Muscat, Oman

Did you make it through all that? I applaud you! I've procrastinated forever on writing this, because I knew it would be so long. To round things off, here are some interesting facts about Oman:


  • The current sultan went to school in London and was influenced by certain Western ways of life. Locals will tell you that he turned the country around for the better, after overthrowing the previous dictatorial sultan.
  • When the previous sultan still ruled, Omanis were banned from wearing sunglasses (shocking, considering how bright and sunny it often is there). Other things that were banned: books, tobacco, music, film, dancing, singing, photography and women from travelling abroad. All this as recently as the 60's.
  • When taking a driving test, women can choose between manual and automatic; men have no choice but to drive manual.
  • Even in the city of Muscat, the surrounding mountain landscape is an enduring feature, looming dramatically in the distance. 

Oman is a stunning combination of pristine beaches, desert scenery and sweeping mountains; a place I left thinking to myself, "that was one of the best trips I've had all year." I would recommend it in a heartbeat. Go - and go now, whilst the tourist scene remains fairly modest.

16 Jan 2018

All Hail The Chunky Knit

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Chunky knit jumpers, oversized sweaters
I know I'm not the only one who feels unmotivated to dress up on certain cold, grey mornings. Luckily, that's where the chunky knit comes to the rescue. Put on your favourite pair of slim-fit or skinny jeans, a tank top or thermal (like this Uniqlo thermal turtleneck) underneath and a chunky, oversized knit and you're snug as a bug in a rug. It's a combination that works every time.

A few of you were asking on Instagram Stories about where to get this jumper, oddly it can't be found anywhere on the H&M website but they do have the same jumper in black & white (as pictured above) here.

Winter isn't over yet! Here are some chunky knits I love that I'm sure you will too:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Chunky knit jumpers, oversized sweaters

Remember, you can always browse and shop my favourites in fashion, beauty & homeware here, my  latest Instagram outfits here... and see where I get my inspiration from over on Pinterest.

8 Jan 2018

Mountain luxury at Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

To be honest, it took a little convincing to get our friends to come on this trip with us. "Oman?" seemed to be most people's first reaction when I told them where our travels were taking us to next. "That's not really a relaxing holiday destination, is it?"

Well, yes and no.

I was surprised to find that quite a few people I spoke to approached the idea of going to Oman with some trepidation. Is it safe there? Are their laws extreme? Is it really holiday appropriate?

Having spent a full 9 days exploring both the demanding mountainous terrain and the sea-level capital, Muscat, I can only speak of my own experiences... and I loved Oman. This holiday impacted me in a way I hadn't felt in a while - it was both an adrenaline rush and an ocean of serenity, at moments terrifying and at others jubilant. We experienced both the most wonderful luxuries and the thrills of rugged, wild mother nature.

I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me begin by sharing with you the first half of our trip, which revolved around our stay up in the mountains, 2,000 meters above sea level. We were staying at a remote and beautiful luxury mountain resort: Alila Jabal Akhdar.

If the name Alila sounds familiar, you may have read about them on my blog before. They're one of my all-time favourite hotel groups and I've been fortunate enough to stay at Alila Uluwatu and Alila Soori in the past. This was my first time at an Alila outside of Bali and I was really looking forward to seeing how the service, food, decor and atmosphere lived up to the high standard I'd come to expect from Alila.


and the aflaj of Oman

The four of us arrived in Muscat airport early in the morning, around 6am. We met our driver after collecting our luggage and began the drive up towards Jabal Akhdar, 2 hours away. Seeing as check-in wouldn't be for a good many hours yet, the plan was to stop off at some sights on the way to make the most of our day instead of just waiting around for a room. We began at Nizwa Fort.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Nizwa Fort, Oman

Right away, I fell in love with the architecture. Scallop edged towers and walls, dusky shades of pink and beige with rounded windows and doorways - it's easy on the eye, helped also by the countless palm trees surrounding it. It's difficult to imagine the horrors this fort has seen; our driver doubled as our guide and he truly knew it all, explaining what each room's purpose used to be, as well as enlightening us on the terrifying traps and pitfalls the Omanis used to ward off intruders. One such example: the traps that were rigged all around the fort, pouring scalding hot honey on unsuspecting invaders' heads. 🍯

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Nizwa Fort, OmanEuriental | luxury travel & style | Nizwa Fort, Oman

After a tour of the fort (which, by the way, I would recommend doing early in the morning or late in the afternoon, as the sun is intensely strong), we sat for a while and enjoyed some fresh dates, strolled through the nearby markets (though nobody was trading that day) and took the car to our next stop, the abandoned ruins of a former village: 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Nizwa old village, Oman

That 'stream' you see running through it is called a falaj. A falaj is an ancient Omani irrigation system, dating back as far as 5,000 years. To this day, they are still considered the main source of irrigation water (beside wells) in the country, and are not only utilised in agriculture today but also for bathing, washing clothes, etc. Indeed, we passed numerous people, young and old, washing as we wandered through the dilapidated village.

One final stop on our way up to Alila - Diana's lookout, named after the 1986 visit of Princess Diana, which saw her gazing out at the vast expanse from that very spot.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Diana's lookout, Oman


our suite and public spaces

The time had finally come - we had arrived.

First impressions of service were not particularly great, but we soon came to realise this was because we had arrived at an especially busy time of year when the hotel was at peak capacity - Islamic New Year.

(Note: the first day, due to it being a local holiday, the hotel was overrun with people and the pool was far from serene...we were admittedly rather worried that our quiet slice of paradise wasn't going to be relaxing at all, however the following days proved very different after most of the large groups of families with children had checked out.)

I digress! Once we'd settled into our two suites (conveniently located next door to each other), we began to really appreciate the stunning surroundings of this mountain resort.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

Inspired by ancient forts, Alila Jabal Akhdar was built using a combination of local stones and contemporary construction to form a minimalist yet warm resort, combining modern architecture with elements of traditional Omani design, such as the handmade pottery and copper ornaments dotted throughout. Sustainability is a major consideration in the design of this resort - it was built so as to fit into the natural landscape around it with minimal disruption, making use of the traditional aflaj water system for irrigation, solar panels and energy saving light and heating systems.

There is clearly a strong connection to nature throughout the entire resort, both in and outside of the rooms.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
The bathroom was enviable - dual sinks, use of natural materials throughout, giant rainfall shower and beautiful stone bathtub and exposed stone walls. Dreamy!
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

Originally we'd booked a mountain view room but were then upgraded to a horizon view...and what an idyllic view it was:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

It's important to remember that you are fairly high up in the mountains, so expect the temperature to drop at night and in the mornings. Even if you're coming here during the hot season, bring a shawl/light jacket for dinner in the evenings, as you'll most likely want to sit outside (it's the most atmospheric part of the restaurant to dine in with heat lamps dotted around, blankets provided should you require them and the stars twinkling brightly above).

The pool was too cold for use first thing in the morning (by my standards at least), but by late morning/early afternoon the water warmed to a very comfortable temperature...though I would of course not recommend being out in the midday sun for long.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

Funnily enough, we didn't even discover the incredibly sunset deck until our second or third evening. I believe it's here that morning yoga takes place (there's also a glass room hanging over the cliff's edge with 2 massage tables - what an incredible setting for a massage! Though I suppose you'd spend most of the massage with your head in a hole looking down at the ground, so it's perhaps more enjoyable for the masseur 😄). 

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman

Wearing: 8th Sign dress c/o

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman, Alexandra Miro swimsuit

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman


Village Walk - Splendour of Saiq


On day two, our friend Ollie fell ill. Understandably, our other friend Bena stayed in their room to take care of him, leaving Jarv and I to venture out of Alila for the morning on our village walk with local guide, Salem. We were driven to the beginning of the hike, where he then accompanied us for part of the way. Once we'd reached a certain point, he informed us he would now take a detour to go and collect the fresh fruits for us to enjoy in the village and that all we had to do was follow the signs to the village and stick with the falaj that ran through the mountain.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar Village Walk

We walked another 20 minutes or so, following the falaj until we reached the village (at times, having to carefully manoeuvre around overgrown brush, giant black hornets and numerous other obstacles that had me wondering how this could quite be classified as suitable for all levels...I'm sure children and the elderly shouldn't be attempting this walk without experienced supervision!). We walked through the bright walls of the quiet village, quite relieved to be done with the 'hiking' aspect of our journey, and found Salem waiting for us where he said he would be. We washed our hands and sat down to eat fresh figs, pomegranates and guavas, drinking Arabic coffee and chatting with Salem about his country.

Fun fact: a host will never fill your coffee cup to the brim - if he did, it would signify that he didn't want you asking him for a refill and that you were not welcome there. Once a guest has had enough coffee to drink, they need simply shake their cup so the host knows to stop pouring.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar village walk, Oman

We pulled over briefly on our way back to the resort to check out another village, leaving Salem at the top of the steps built into the mountain...but quickly turned on our heels about halfway down after nearly stepping in goat dung about five separate times and coming across what appeared to be a hornet's nest. 😧 

Also came across this (not so) little guy, though:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | stick insect, Oman

And caught a stunning glimpse of this crumbling, long abandoned village:

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar village walk, Oman


Via Ferrata


Not satisfied to spend our entire time lounging by the pool (as tempting as that was), we booked in to spend a morning rappelling down the side of the mountain that Alila is perched atop. A little adrenaline-fuelled action in the morning does one good!

It was one of my favourite experiences of the entire trip. Via Ferrata is Italian for "iron road", referring to protected mountain climbing routes where climbers can secure themselves to cable as they climb, limiting any potential fall. 

Down, around and back up the mountain we went, using our upper body strength to cling on to the sides of the mountain and traverse a cave mouth, the crisp freshness of the mountain air alleviating our sweaty hands and foreheads. The adventure ended with a tightrope-like walk across a 20m high rope and a climb back up to Alila, where we pulled ourselves up over the edge of the resort and wandered over to breakfast as the other hotel guests gawped with surprise at the four dishevelled figures that had just appeared from the edge of the mountain.

Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar Via Ferrata, Oman
Euriental | luxury travel & style | Alila Jabal Akhdar via ferrata, Oman

After an incredible stay, we were very much looking forward to part II of our trip, where we would head back down to the capital, Muscat, for a few days at the Chedi. Little did we know what unforgettable escapades awaited us there... (stay tuned)

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  • Like many Middle Eastern countries, Omanis eat with their right hands and will pass you food with this hand (and expect you to accept it with the same hand). This was something that took me a few goes to get used to, being left-handed, but it is considered rude to use your left to eat, so it's important to take note of.

  • It is expected that you will cover your knees and shoulders as a woman when in public. Though the locals are very open-minded and friendly towards tourists, it's only right as a visitor to respect their culture. In the privacy of your resort or hotel, of course, it's fine to show some skin.

  • "Thank you" in Arabic is "shukran".

  • Alila Jabal Akhdar is set 2,000 meters above sea level, which is no small height - you might not feel any different at all, but bear in mind that if you feel unwell, this may be due to mild altitude sickness (which we were told by one of our drivers during our stay was not that uncommon amongst guests).

    Seek medical attention immediately if you feel quite unwell, as altitude sickness can be quite dangerous if not treated properly. One of our friends fell ill on the second day and Alila had a doctor visit the room to perform a check and give him some medicine to help.

    The staff were kind enough to also send him a fruit basket and some snacks for when he was feeling better - very attentive indeed! Even more proof of their excellent service, in the days following, various members of staff seemed to have been informed about him being unwell, all asking how he was doing or whether he was feeling better.

  • On the subject of altitude sickness, I would probably avoid doing what we (unthinkingly) did, which was to arrive, drop our things off and squeeze in a hardcore workout before dinner. Haha. For some reason, it didn't cross any of our minds that we might encounter any form of altitude sickness (and to be fair, it wasn't mentioned by any member of staff or on the website either and the likelihood at 2,000 metres is fairly slim). Just take it easy the first day and enjoy your surroundings before participating in any strenuous activities.

  • The spa at Alila is well worth a visit - you'll begin with a delicious cup of ginger, honey and lemongrass tea, test out of some of the products laid out on the table in the waiting area and enjoy a gorgeous treatment in one of the quiet, relaxing rooms. Bena and I had facials (skin felt amazing afterwards) while Jarv and Ollie were both very satisfied with their Thai style massages.

  • The food at Alila was fantastic, especially at dinner. A group favourite in particular was the bread. Every dinner, after placing our orders, an entire loaf of local bread was brought to the table. It's soft and fluffy, baked in a cast iron pan and served alongside a gorgeous bowl of cream cheese with a generous dollop of local honey in the centre. Heaven. Bena and I loved it so much that we tried to recreate a poor man's version of it at breakfast using ingredients from the buffet selection - not quite the same but tasty enough to gobble down nonetheless.

Book your stay at Alila Jabal Akhdar. Prices start at £470 per night.

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