The World at your Feet


Lit­tle did the rocky, raw and un­charted val­leys of the Al Ha­jar Moun­tains imag­ine that maybe some few decades later, its in­her­ently lov­ing arms would be wel­com­ing trav­ellers from far and wide with ut­most mag­nif­i­cence. Ja­bal Akhdar saw a mys­ti­fy­ing meta­mor­pho­sis. It is now a des­ti­na­tion, as we call it; a des­ti­na­tion that has al­lur­ing (and to­tally sell­able) phrases like ‘lux­ury es­cape’, ‘re­ju­ve­na­tion’ and ’adren­a­line-seek­ing ad­ven­ture’ as­so­ci­ated to it.

De­duc­ing from the his­tory books, (it’s a shame we never got to say ‘scrolls’) it turns out Ja­bal Akhdar skipped re­ceiv­ing celebri­ties to be­gin with and went straight to host­ing roy­alty. Back in 1986, Prince Charles and Lady Diana were said to have camped at a spec­tac­u­lar spot over­look­ing a view that had a dis­tinct re­sem­blance to the Grand Canyon. And the rest as we say is his­tory. But this very spot, years later, formed one of the most iconic van­tage points in Ja­bal Akhdar. ‘Diana’s Point’, is now part of one of the most ex­otic re­sorts in the world – the Anan­tara Re­sort Ja­bal Akhdar. Hold­ing the record for be­ing the high­est five star re­sort in the Mid­dle East and rank­ing at an equally com­mend­able po­si­tion world­wide, the in­ti­mate lux­ury, breath­tak­ing views and an ar­ray of ac­tiv­i­ties to choose from in and around its premises, has al­lowed Anan­tara to carve its own ex­clu­sive niche on a cliff that over­looks some of the most pic­turesque set­tings.

On that note, I un­der­stand the logic of the strate­gi­cally placed draw­ing can­vas ad­ja­cent to the French win­dow in my Anan­tara Cliff View villa. A pri­vate in­fin­ity pool, the warm or­ange glow of the set­ting sun and the dis­tant shad­ows that danced off the ter­raced moun­tain­ous slopes - the view could stir the cre­ative juices in the minds of even the most unin­spired artist (and in my case am­a­teur). I was pretty cer­tain that if I was as much as an artist as a writer, I would have sketched an award-win­ning replica of my view right there. And sud­denly, all those fancy de­scrip­tions started fall­ing into place.

In the heart of this spec­tac­u­lar prop­erty (though I could have eas­ily got­ten my cen­tre wrong, thanks to the re­sort spread­ing its reach pretty gen­er­ously), re­sides the haven of re­ju­ve­na­tion – the Anan­tara Spa. Though I had al­most missed the most blos­som­ing part of the rose sea­son, there was prob­a­bly enough ex­tracts to en­dow me with an­other one of their famed Rose Res­cue Rit­ual spa ther­apy. This 90 minute ses­sion in­volved a full body and head mas­sage along with a fa­cial. What else could a girl ask for.

Draw­ing in­spi­ra­tion from the age old prac­tices of Ja­bal Akhdar, the re­cep­tion ar­tis­ti­cally showed off a de­sign that so­phis­ti­cat­edly repli­cated the nat­u­ral ir­ri­ga­tion sys­tem found in the moun­tains. The place had a very calm­ing, al­most dreamy vibe to it and I in­stantly took a lik­ing to the smil­ing staff who greeted me in that fa­mil­iar soft, al­most ‘hush’ voice. The Anan­tara spa has an ex­clu­sive Ham­mam suite, Jacuzzis, steam and sauna rooms. The steam rooms are how­ever, not just your or­di­nary steam rooms. In­fused with pink Hi­malayan salt, it is be­lieved that in­hal­ing this would help to detox­ify the lungs and even boost im­mu­nity – some­thing that was worth a try. The re­lax­ation rooms and gar­den ar­eas on both sides promised to of­fer noth­ing but seren­ity. The ladies had a bonus of a pri­vate pool at their dis­posal too. The most in­ter­est­ing thing was prob­a­bly the Ex­pe­ri­ence Shower that is quite unique and found in only a few re­sorts world­wide. The com­po­nents of wa­ter, light and sound come into play to show you how a sim­ple shower could be­come an ex­pe­ri­ence to re­mem­ber.

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