|Photo by Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas|
Anantara Hotels, Resorts & Spas has opened the doors to the highest five-star resort in the Middle East, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort. Sitting 2,000 meters above sea level on a great canyon rim, the luxury resort was designed for the intrepid traveler looking for a rich, local cultural experience and adventures within the mountains of northern Oman.
Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Arabic for “The Green Mountain,” is a massif located on the Sultanate of Oman’s Saiq Plateau. Previously inaccessible to travelers, the hotel sits an adventurous mountain drive away from local airports – approximately two hours from Muscat International or four-and-a-half from Dubai. The drive to the property passes historic forts, date plantations and dry river beds.
A total of 115 guestrooms and villas overlook the canyon and gardens; 82 Premier and Deluxe Canyon View Rooms offer spacious bedrooms and spa-inspired bathrooms complete with a rain shower and separate bath alongside a balcony. The property holds 33 one- or two-bedroom villas for those looking for more intimate escapes, each with personal villa host services and a private infinity pool overlooking the cliffs or hidden among the gardens.
For foodies, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort offers a collection of six restaurants and lounges. Al Maisan, or “The Rising Star” features live cooking stations from breakfast throughout dinner, while Al Qalaa, meaning “The Fort” offers inventive and authentic Omani cuisine. Bella Vista, serving Roman-inspired cuisine, offers views across the canyon while those looking for a quick bite can head to Al Baha, the hotel’s courtyard café. The hotel also has a rooftop shisha lounge, Al Shourfa, and a Moroccan-inspired tapas bar at Al Burj.
For the ultimate culinary experience, Anantara’s “Dining by Design” program allows guests the chance to dine on a cliff-edge platform known as Diana’s Point. For a more interactive option, try Anantara’s signature concept, the Spice Spoons cooking school experience. Through this program, guests will accompany a chef to the local souq to find fresh ingredients before returning to the resort for a hands-on culinary class where they will create exotic Omani and Thai cuisine dishes.
A ferrata climbing route right on the resort’s doorstep allows guests to hang from the cliffs as they scale its side – not for the faint of heart. The terrain surrounding the resort is ideal for explorers who can navigate narrow roads via mountain bike, hike or climb. For a more tranquil experience, near the resort guests will find opportunities to explore valleys on foot, shop in the souqs, practice mountaintop yoga or star gazing, try their hand at ancient archery and explore cultural heritage sites, among other opportunities.
Travelers who don’t have an extensive knowledge of Anantara’s culture and history need not worry, as Anantara’s ‘gurus’ have become an imperative part of educating the guests at Anantara resorts. Local ‘mountain gurus’ share their expertise before guests head out to explore the nearby terrains, but for those looking to stay on site the resort has a cliff-edge infinity swimming pool, a floodlit tennis court, a fully-equipped gym with a rotating Freedom Climber wall and indoor-outdoor kids’ and teens’ clubs. The Anantara Spa features ancient hammam rituals as well as signature spa treatments focusing on indigenous ingredients and traditions from within the region.
For business travelers, the resort will be equipped with extensive meeting and banquet facilities, well-suited for conferences and team building activities as well as weddings or celebrations.