Coastal chic pre­mium prop­erty of­fer­ing laid-back vibes

The National - News - - ARTS & LIFESTYLE - Kempin­ski Ho­tel Mus­cat Oman

The wel­come

For a prop­erty whose brand is syn­ony­mous with lux­ury, it’s not quite the seam­less check-in I’m ex­pect­ing upon ar­rival. The porter is ef­fi­cient enough, but when I get to the desk it’s slow go­ing, and vi­tal de­tails about things like Wi-Fi and what is where within the con­fines of the ho­tel is left to me to fig­ure out. The en­trance pro­vides the ex­pected wow-fac­tor, and when it’s time, I’m glad to be guided to my room on the fourth floor as the lay of the land is a bit con­fus­ing de­pend­ing on which lift you take.

The neigh­bour­hood

The ho­tel sits within Al Mouj – the city’s ex­clu­sive new res­i­den­tial precinct – a 10-minute drive from the in­ter­na­tional air­port. The beach re­sort boasts ac­cess to six kilo­me­tres of coast­line, and there’s two swim­ming pools and a kids’ splash pool, a tennis court along with plenty of restau­rants and bars. The nearby ma­rina, which is home to var­i­ous eater­ies and cof­fee shops, is a 10-minute stroll away.

The room

The grand deluxe sea view room I’m stay­ing in is spa­cious and nicely fur­nished. There’s a large walk-in wardrobe at the en­trance and a rea­son­ably sized bath­room with sep­a­rate shower, toi­let and state­ment tub. There’s a sit­ting area in the bed­room to­wards the end of the bed and a good-sized bal­cony that of­fers views of the grounds, pool and the sea. It’s com­fort­able enough, but get­ting locked out of the wardrobe area with­out ac­cess to cloth­ing on my first morn­ing at the prop­erty be­cause of a faulty lock is not ideal, and I’m forced to call main­te­nance and wait in­stead of head­ing to break­fast.

The ser­vice

In­ter­ac­tions with the ho­tel staff are mostly pleas­ant, but on more than one oc­ca­sion words are ex­changed when it comes to mar­ry­ing up what the menus say against what is in fact avail­able with re­gard to gluten free op­tions at a cou­ple of the restau­rants. At times, it is hard to get the at­ten­tion of staff when re­quired, but over­all their knowl­edge of ho­tel of­fer­ings and the sur­round­ing area is good.

The scene

Best de­scribed as coastal chic with laid-back appeal. It’s rel­a­tively busy oc­cu­pancy-wise when I stay, with the beach bar Zale the place to be late into the evening for in-house guests and Oma­nis. The beach and pool ar­eas are fam­ily-friendly, but im­pres­sively enough this doesn’t mean loud and ob­nox­ious, more in­clu­sive and happy.

The food

The F&B of­fer­ings here are di­verse enough to pro­vide a dif­fer­ent din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence over a cou­ple of days. Whether it’s In­dian, Thai, Le­van­tine or Euro­pean cui­sine you’re af­ter, or sim­ply want a pas­try and a spe­cial­ist tea, there are plenty of op­tions. Zale Beach Club and Lounge is the pick of the out­lets for a ca­sual drink, tapas-style lunch or late-night catch-up, with prices start­ing from 3 Omani ri­als (Dh28). I can vouch for the king crab tacos and the wok-fried beef ten­der­loin. There’s live mu­sic and plenty of ar­eas to sit and chat with friends. My din­ner in Soi Soi, the Thai restau­rant, is tasty and au­then­tic. The space is mod­ern and I like that this eatery’s staff, just like the ho­tel’s In­dian restau­rant Bukhara, are all rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the cui­sine they’re serv­ing. Ap­pe­tis­ers at Soi Soi start from 3.5 ri­als (Dh33), as do those at Bukhara. Break­fast (15 ri­als; Dh143 if not in­cluded in the room rate) is served at The Kitchen, which has in­door and out­door seat­ing ar­eas. It of­fers a de­cent spread with a good se­lec­tion of bak­ery items, fruits and sal­ads, along with ded­i­cated sta­tions for waf­fles and eggs, a healthy cor­ner and in­ter­na­tional op­tions in­clud­ing Mid­dle Eastern and In­dian dishes.

Loved

The in-house ten-pin bowl­ing al­ley. It’s not of­ten you find some­thing like this on the ho­tel fa­cil­i­ties run­down.

Hated

Hav­ing to call on main­te­nance in my py­ja­mas to get ac­cess to my clothes.

The ver­dict

On a par with the other lux­ury ho­tels in Mus­cat – the Shangri-La and the Chedi.

The bot­tom line

Rooms at Kempin­ski Mus­cat (www.kempinksi.com) start from 95 ri­als (Dh907) a night, in­clud­ing taxes and Wi-Fi.

Melinda Healy

The ho­tel has an im­pres­sive in­fin­ity pool Kempin­ski Ho­tel Mus­cat

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