The great Indian vacation season is in full swing. Everyone has their bags packed and is raring to go places. A delay in the visa process, skyrocketing flight costs, and fully booked hotels might become roadblocks to a dream holiday though. This year, skip the rush and hop onto a short-haul flight to Oman to indulge in an unhurried, luxurious vacay at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, Muscat. Whether someone is looking to spend quality time with family, seeking adventure activities or curated experiences, guests are spoilt for choice.
Need a reason to holiday at this stunning Middle Eastern resort tucked between the majestic mountains and the Sea of Oman?
Here’s a perfect itinerary for a memorable family vacation in Muscat
Cool water-based activities
Picture this: Drifting slowly on a floaty across the hotel while sipping refreshing mocktails. Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah has the city’s only lazy river stretching up to 500 metres enabling guests to float between its two wings – Al Bandar and Al Waha. Do you know, it is inspired by Falaj, a traditional system that brought fresh water to remote Omani villages?
A summer holiday is incomplete without a big splash. Families fond of water sports can head to the aquatic play zone or the splash pad located in the Al Waha wing to enjoy light mists, touch-sensitive sprays, and projection jets. There are six swimming pools surrounded by rustling palm trees that have a lively atmosphere.
Action-packed holiday for kids
There is never a dull moment for children and teenagers at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, Muscat. Entertainment facilities with many activities keep them engaged. The Cool Zone Kids Club has indoor and outdoor play areas where a fun-filled schedule evokes creativity. Kids can also meet Habibi-the Turtle, Shangri-La Muscat’s mascot. Teenagers can attend Turtle Talks hosted daily at the Eco Centre. The informational session talks about turtles’ yearly visits, egg hatching, and how hatchlings scurry away to the sea. These sessions not just educate but also bring families closer to Mother Nature. Little guests can also join the resort’s Turtle Ranger to protect endangered turtle species and their home on the beach. Currently, it is the season of turtle hatching. Guests can join this complimentary activity during their stay and create memories of a lifetime.
Inspiring art and architecture of Oman
With a distinct blend of culture, natural beauty, and history, Muscat is waiting to be explored. Buildings dating back thousands of years are a testimony of the glorious ancient culture. The National Museum of Oman is the sultanate’s flagship cultural institution, showcasing longstanding heritage from the earliest human settlement in the Oman Peninsula to modern times. 14 permanent galleries, over 5,500 art objects, 43 digital immersive displays, a well-equipped learning centre, and state-of-the-art conservation facilities are impressive. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque is no less than an exhibit of extraordinary Islamic architecture built over 20 years ago at a site measuring over 400,000 square metres. The mosque is an architectural and artistic marvel, reflecting the beauty of Islamic, Oriental, and Omani architecture, a must-visit cultural landmark in Muscat.
Immersive cultural experiences
It’s good to learn about the lifestyle of locals when travelling to this Middle Eastern country. Muscat can be explored with Shangri-La Muscat’s complimentary shuttle coach service available on selected days in the week. The Mall of Oman, Oman Avenue Mall, Bait Al Zubair Museum, and the famous Muttrah Souk can be added to a day trip.
The vibrant Muttrah Souq is one of the oldest marketplaces in the world. Strolling through its narrow lanes with shops stacked high with tubs of frankincense, bukhoor, old silver khanjars, bedu jewellery, and exotic spices is interesting. The souq exudes a sense of calm at sunset hour, as the view transforms from rugged brown to golden, serving dramatic scenes. The natural beauty of Oman is one of the Sultanate’s greatest treasures, thanks to its captivating landscapes and wildlife. One can also drive to the Hajar Mountains which extend 300 km northwest to southeast and reach the tranquil gardens of Birkat Al Mauz to enjoy breathtaking views.
Adventures at sea
A thrill-seeking family should not miss sea sports. Shangri-La Al Barr Jissah has two water sports stations that offer a full range of exciting sea sports. Non-motorised activities such as water skiing, wakeboarding, wake surfing, and paddle boarding are available on the resort’s beach well as jet-skiing for more adrenaline.
The sea around is uncrowded but replete with rich marine life including turtles, rays, eels, fish, and colourful coral reefs. Daily excursions and guided diving tours are arranged by the fully equipped and professionally staffed Dive Centre. A night-time expedition or one of the three daily dives is available. Marine experts guarantee that everyone will make the most of their aquatic adventure, beginner, and pro divers alike.
Watching the playful pods of dolphins racing joyously with their pals during a cruise is unforgettable. The Gulf of Oman is home to hundreds of these majestic creatures, which are seen together in pods of 250 sometimes. Every morning, tours depart from the resort’s very own marina which offers a peek into the island’s beauty, even as marine experts talk about conservation efforts and ways to contribute to them.
It’s time to take a break from devices and deadlines to indulge in blissful days of summer at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, Muscat