alila-jabal-akhdar
Total from £1,499
Based on: Departures from London Heathrow (LHR)
Travel Dates: 10 Jan – 30 Jun 2016

Overview
Visit Oman to truly catch a glimpse inside Arabia’s ancient soul. Unlike its glitzy neighbours Dubai and Abu Dhabi – which boast impressive skyscrapers  – Oman stands outs because it boasts a rich heritage. This getaway offers a rare chance to experience the Arab world without the distorting lens of excessive wealth. As you travel through Oman’s stunning landscape you will notice how it’s low-rise towns, historical castles and forts retain their traditional charms. You will discover how this country has an abundance of natural beauty – from spectacular mountains, wind-blown deserts and a pristine coastline. This package includes accommodation, 4 wheel drive excursions, daily breakfast, half board at some of your hotels, international flights and private transfers.

Accommodation
Settle into your getaway at the Hotel Muscat Holiday in Al Khuwair. It is conveniently located midway between Muscat International Airport and the central business district. Spend 3 nights at the hotel – 1 night at the start of your trip and 2 nights at the end of the holiday.

Reach new heights when you stay at Jebel Shams Resort, which sits on top of the highest mountain in Oman. Prepare for stunning views as it is close to the edge of Oman’s Grand Canyon and is located in the Wilayat of Al Hamra. The resort has 20 chalets and 15 Arabic tents, an international restaurant, and a coffee shop. Spend 1 night at the resort where all of the rooms have air conditioning for the summer and heating for the winter season. The resort is the perfect place to come for winter sun with an average temperature during the day of around 15 degrees celsius. It is also a great retreat from the summer heat of the region, with the resort being at least 15 degrees cooler than the capital Muscat.

Experience pure decadence with 2 nights at the Alila Jabal Akhdar Nizwa. The hotel sits  2,000 metres above sea level, and overlooks a dramatic gorge, surrounded by panoramic views of the Al Hajar Mountains – making it  the perfect base for exploring the region. It opened in 2014, and  brings a new level of luxury to the area, combining comfort with an eco-friendly outlook.

Holiday Highlights
Day 1 – Prepare for an adventure as soon as you buckle up on your Oman Air flight to Muscat. As soon as you land, you will be greeted at their airport for a transfer to the Muscat Holiday Hotel to stay in a standard room, and enjoy daily breakfast. Once you have checked-in, let the relaxation commence by taking a dip in the outdoor swimming pool, or taking a short stroll to the nearby beach.

Day 2 – Enjoy a hearty breakfast to set yourself up for a full day tour of the new and old city of Muscat. Get your camera ready as your tour starts with a visit to the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, which is a stunning example of modern Islamic architecture. Experience a moment of quiet reflection as you pray on the mosque’s Persian carpet, which is the second-largest hand-loomed Iranian carpet in the world and took 600 women four years to weave.

Then experience rural Oman at Wadi Al Khoud, where you can take a cooling dip in the pools and streams. Simply sit back under a tree and watch a spectacle of colourful birds flying over your head, before enjoying lunch at a local restaurant. Then visit the busy Port Sultan Qaboos, where you will see a juxtaposition of gleaming cruise liners sitting alongside rickety old dhows. Wander through the Souq for Omani silver, incense and other local treasures. Behind the Souq you will find a labyrinth of rambling lanes and dusty shops where you can test your bartering skills for scarves, jewellery, spices and nuts. Then get a hit of culture as you discover Omani artworks and treasures inside a  beautiful old townhouse, which has now been converted into the Bait al Zubair Museum. Your tour continues through the old town of Muscat, guarded by the ancient twin forts of Mirani and Jalali – where up until 1970, the city gates remained locked at night. Stroll along the promenade towards Al Alam Palace, the old harbour with its ancient old stone sentinels and several museums.

Day 3 – Fasten your seatbelt for an amazing time during your journey to Jebel Shams. You will make many pits stops along the route as you see Oman’s  stunning landscape unfold before your very eyes. The first of these stop will be at the Barka Fish Souq where you can watch fisherman sell their catch of the day on the beach. As soon as you arrive in sprawling town of Rustaq, you will discover its ancient fort, the healing waters of Al Kisfr Hot Springs and if you are lucky its delicious local honey. Your exciting drive will then continue through the highest peak in the Sultanate, creating Oman’s dramatic Grand Canyon.  You will also have a chance to visit the tiny village of Khateem, which precariously clings to the rock face. Here you can take time to look at the local trinkets including goat wool rugs, or take a short stroll immerse yourself in the desolate beauty of the real Arabia. The day will end as you arrive at Jabel Shams for 1 night in a Sunset Chalet on a half-board basis. Kick back in the room and watch satellite TV or light the fire pit and enjoy a camp fire at night. But best of all, the patio doors inside your guestroom give dramatic views of the majestic sunset – providing the perfect way to end a memorable day.

Day 4 – Wake up to a delicious breakfast and then embark on another day full of adventure. After you check out of the hotel,  your 4WD vehicle will collect you from the Jabel Shams Mountain Resort for your journey to Jabel Akhdar. Again, you will stop at various points, starting off at the mountain town of Al Hamra. Here you will step into a fascinating time warp, with traditional mud brick homes lining the labyrinth of winding streets and alleyways. You will have time to visit Bait al Safah, which is a beautifully preserved traditional home that is now a living museum. Watch locals use ancient methods to grind coffee, make bread and press oil, before lunch at a local restaurant. Then travel uphill to the village of Birkat al Mawz, named after its lush banana plantations hydrated by sparkling pools of mountain water. Here you will see some lovely old homes and an attractive 17th century Mosque. This ancient village is the gateway into Wadi Madaeen, carving its way through the mountainside. Your 4×4 will follow the road up onto Saiq Plateau which sits 2,000 metres above sea level. Your driver will then take you to the highest point for spectacular views of villages – Al Ayn and Al Aqr – which seem to cling to the mountainside. This provides a perfect spot to take a holiday selfie which you will cherish for years to come.

Then travel to Jebel Akhdar, which is locally known as ‘The Green Mountain’ thanks to  its terraced hillside, valleys and plateaus. The region enjoys a cooler climate due to its high rainfall. At around 4pm you will arrive at the Alila Mountain Resort and stay  in a Mountain View room on a half board basis.  Enjoy dramatic views over the gorge, framed by the awesome views of the rugged untouched beauty of the Al Hajar Mountains. Relish in waking up to this vision in the morning and falling asleep to it at night. You will have plenty of time to explore the  stunning resort. Pamper yourself with a luxurious treatment at the Spa Alila or relax by the infinity pool and enjoy some of the mountain views from your day bed.

Day 5 – Wake up to a delicious breakfast  at the Alila Mountain Resort, before your adventure continues to Nizwa where you can explore the 17th century Nizwa Fort.  If you are feeling energetic, then you can  climb the 40 metre central tower for spectacular views over Nizwa and the mountains beyond. Or you can take a stroll through the Souq and  barter for souvenirs. From here, your journey will continue onwards to Bahla, famous for its potters. Transport yourself back in time as you wander through Bahla Fort which is believed to have been in existence since pre-Islamic times. There will be time for a picnic lunch or dine in a local restaurant before your journey to Jabreen. As you drive into an open plain surrounded by the Jebel Akhdar Mountain Range in the background, a solitary but magnificent castle meets your eyes almost abandoned in this stark countryside. While away the hours here, as you explore the museum style castle, packed with artefacts and trinkets. Here your journey will continue to Muscat where you will check into the Muscat Holiday Hotel for 2 nights in a standard room with daily breakfast.  Spend the rest of the day as you wish.  You can explore Muscat independently or relax by the hotel swimming pool.

Day 6 -Make sure you wake up early and enjoy a full breakfast before your 8am pick up for an excursion to Wahiba Sands –  sometimes known as Sharqiya Sands. Here you will discover the real Arabian Desert as you see its windswept dunes giving off a rosy hue. Witness how the Bedu people still live a traditional nomadic lifestyle  in this harsh environment. You will instantly recognise the Bedu women who are often spotted hurtling up and down sand dunes in their brightly coloured clothing. You will have the opportunity of sharing coffee and dates with a Bedu family. After a picnic or lunch in a local restaurant, your journey will continue on to Wadi Bani Khalid which is a popular natural retreat. After a zigzag drive up the mountainside, you will arrive at the entrance of a long riverbed populated with plantations and small villages. There will be time to dip your toes or even swim in one of the many deep clear pools. If you have some sturdy walking shoes and a torch – you can even seek out the Muqal Cave. Finally you will return back to the Muscat Holiday Hotel at around 3pm  with plenty of time for a little retail therapy at one of the Muscat shopping Malls. But if you want to simply relax then head for the pool.

Day 7 – As you feast on the last breakfast of your trip – take time to reflect on your amazing holiday. Once you check out of your hotel, there is a private transfer back to the airport for your Oman Air flight back to London. If you would like to extend your stay, stay a little longer at the Alila Mountain Resort, or upgrade your flights to travel in a Premium Cabin, then please speak with our highly knowledgeable Travel Specialists for more information. They are also on hand if you want to use this itinerary as a stopover en route to another Oman Air destination or arrange travel insurance if needed.

Prices:

Travel dates Price per person
10 Jan – 26 Mar 2016, 08 Apr – 30 Apr 2016 from £1679
27 Mar – 07 Apr 2016 from £1799
01 May – 30 Jun 2016 from £1499


What’s Included

Return flights from London Heathrow to Muscat on Oman Air
All known airport taxes
Accommodation in selected hotels for 6 nights
Daily buffet breakfast.
Picnic lunch box / lunch at local restaurant is provided on Day 2 – 6
1 x dinner at Jabel Shams Resort
1 x dinner at Alila hotel
All Meals are on food-only basis unless stated otherwise.
Sightseeing as per itinerary with English speaking driver
Return private transfers as per itinerary with English speaking driver with suitable vehicles
All entrance fees to the sightseeing places as per itinerary
Sites as per itinerary*
All known taxes and service charges
All tour is based on private basis except the sea tour

*Kindly note some sites are subject to closure due to religious festivals, Government holidays and some due to weather conditions and seasonality.

Price Notes
This itinerary/tour is a suggestion and can be tailor-made to suit requirements.
Prices above are per person in pounds sterling (£), based on two people sharing a twin-room. Please contact us for prices for alternative dates or number of travellers.

Pricing is subject to change and availability. Terms and conditions apply. Call us to book or for details. Alternatively you can book or enquire online.