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Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel

The Arab nation of Oman – a country known throughout the Middle East for its fascinating culture and natural beauty – is hotting up!

For a luxury trip on the wild side, go to Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel which lies 2000 metres above sea-level in Oman’s Al Hajar mountain range. Here, an untouched & unusual landscape as well as Insta-perfect views await. In fact, the Al Hajar mountains form one of the most photogenic regions of Oman. Splendidly perched on the edge of a ravine, Alila Jabal Akhdar’s hotel location really cannot be beaten.

Arriving here after a scenic 2.5 hours’ drive from Muscat felt like entering a dramatic back-to-nature wonderland at the end of the world. Need to know: access to the Hajar mountain range is by 4WD vehicle only. The moment we entered this clifftop hideaway with its divine fragrance from Arabic frankincense, we immediately realized that this otherworldly hotel is truly magical.

Today’s travellers are looking for a true and authentic experience. Opened in May 2014, Alila Jabal Akhdar is a hotel local in culture and global in standard. It’s just the ultimate example of a groundbreaking hotel with a deep sense of place. From the mix of local stones & woods used in its buildings and the fresh locally-sourced ingredients used in its super tasty dishes to the warm Omani hospitality of its staff, Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel is perfecting the balance between five-star luxury and local authenticity. Add its mountain silence, endless list of adventures, once-in-a-lifetime scenery, killer views, gorgeous design and you have the ultimate bucket-list trip to remember. The exact reasons (yes, a lot!) why we love Oman’s Alila Jabal Akhdar so much.

Needless to say, this luxury hotel without the beach or bling means paradise for nature lovers, eco-enthusiastic design-lovers, hardcore hikers and thrill seekers (there’s a via ferrata, the highest protected climbing path in the Middle East). Family-friendly? Not really. The duplex loft suites are a good option for families, but there a no special kids facilities and Alila’s rugged landscape might not be the best playground for the younger ones.

Another highlight: this extraordinary place with extraordinary heart is also big on sustainability. Like all the other Alila hotels & resorts around the world, it’s wholly committed to conserving, protecting and enjoying the environment. We nearly forgot the climate: temperatures at this mountaintop retreat in Jabal Akhdar are a breezy 15-20°C cooler than in lower-lying parts of Oman. Ideal for those wanting to escape the desert heat of Dubai or Muscat.

Inspired by the Omani traditions and the surrounding natural beauty, Alila Jabal Akhdar’s visually enticing design deserves a special mention. The look-to-local-approach can be seen throughout the hotel. Think faded Oriental rugs and cushions, hand-carved fort-like doors created locally, hanging Arabian lantern-like lighting, pottery made from clay sourced from wadi floors, metal grilles featuring damask roses and loads of reminders of the local Juniper trees. The eye-catching huge fireplace in the lobby warms guests in the chillier months after an invigorating day out in the mountains. This outrageously smart hotel with a green kick in Oman’s Hajar Mountains really gets our vote for style wow-factor. The atmosphere? The general vibe delivers a dollop of Middle Eastern candlelit charm.

But what about the rooms? Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel offers a harmonious balance between the cosseting comfort of luxurious accommodation and the essential impression of being at one with nature. There are only 84 suites and 2 pool villas, but they have plans to add more in the near future. Either located in the main building or arranged in individual clusters of four to six suites, generously spaced out around the clifftop, all Alila Oman’s hotel suites are overlooking the jaw-dropping mountains as well as rocky gorges and boast balconies or terraces. Omani patterns, local crafts and hand painted murals of Juniper trees add an authentic flavour of the destination to the rooms, while earthy tones of wood provide a natural touch.

Suite number 50, a Ridge View Suite with a spa-like bathroom, was our beautifully calm home for a couple of days. We really enjoyed the breathtaking views across the ancient, rugged mountains from our deluxe room. This out-of-this-world setting is not only spectacular, but also deeply therapeutic. Our suite was supplied with thoughtful extras including lots of pillows from the pillow menu, a binocular, local treats & presents and the heavenly bath salts made from different Al Jabal al Akhdar mountain ingredients. It’s the little things that count here and another reason why we’re big fans of Alila hotels. The complimentary room-service for HB guests is a welcome bonus.

Our days at Alila Jabal Akhdar started with early-morning downward-dogs on the most beautiful yoga platform you can imagine followed by breakfast – served either inside or outside – and morning walks – some on challenging routes. Unfortunately, the mountain biking, tai chi and yoga (we practiced it ourselves) were all not available, because there were no cycling guides or teachers when we stayed here in March 2017. A real disappointment. On the other hand, Alila Jabal Akhdar’s experiences list – including cultural excursions as well as lots of amazing adventures – is as long as your leg so there’s absolutely no reason to get bored here.

For breakfast, try the fresh fruit juices & homemade smoothies from the buffet and order the Oatmeal porridge with nuts, golden raison and honey plus the Fresh avocado, cherry tomatoes and feta cheese on grilled multigrain bread with soft herbs, olive oil and lemon, like we did every day, to start your day with a healthy zing. We were surprised by Alila Jabal Akhdar’s reliably delicious food. And, of course, locally sourced ingredients are key for the chef. The menu of Juniper Restaurant includes Omani classics with a clever twist and inventive & light dishes such as our favourite starter of saffron poached pears, buffalo mozzarella, mint, rocket and Jabal Akhdar honey dressing. Even Swiss mountain specialties can be found on Alila’s menu. Don’t forget: save space for the best mint or strawberry sorbet ice. For small bites and Jabal Akhdar pomegranate or Damask rose-infused cocktails, the softly lit & stunning Rose Lounge is the place to be.

Alila Spa is the go-to temple of wellbeing to find inner peace or soothe stiff muscles after mountain adventures or gym workouts. We tried the sensuous singing bowl ritual and mind-melting & insanely relaxing shirodhara session – the continual pouring of warm oil onto the middle of the forehead. Nice to know: Alila’s spa products from Bali are all-natural and for sale (yes, our bathroom at home is packed with Alila Spa products right now). The small indoor pool area is the hotel’s zen zone during cooler months, while the outdoor pool area framed in rocks is a good spot to admire the widescreen canyon view and to top up your vitamin D when it’s warm enough.

There is little here not to love. Oman’s Alila Jabal Akhdar is a pioneering hotel in a magnificent unspoiled location – an experience well worth paying for. It’s pure magic and nature-tastic! Come and experience it soon.

NAME
Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel, Oman
PRICERANGE
LOCATION
WEBSITE
RATING
9.1
LOCATION
9.5
SERVICE
8.8
VIBE
9
STYLE
9.4
ROOMS
9
FOOD & DRINK
9.2
FACILITIES
9.1