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.


  1. These look like such beautiful, amazing places to visit. Especially if they give you a free minibar :D

  2. Oh my goodness, I just added this place into my bucket list. It is incredibly beautiful. Great photography skills as well.

  3. Some amazing photography! Is the Chedi part of any of the chains?
    Never been to Oman, but I loved Dubai. Hope to be able to go to that part of the world soon again


  4. Oh wow, this was such an incredible travel diary to read through! I've known very little beforehand and so this made for such an interesting read. Some of your pros and cons about the hotel are totally understandable; the car park view would have frustrated me too, although how sweet of them to arrange birthday cakes for the boys! Also, you have THE most gorgeous figure, wow... totally adore your swimwear too! As in, reaaaally adore them (especially the blue and white swimsuit!) x

  5. What fantastic images, and what a fabulous vacation! I love the pros and cons you've listed about your stay at the Chedi. What a scary situation with a poisonous snake being right by the pool. Yikes!