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.