Nestled in the small town of Khasab on oman’s sleepy musandam peninsular, the atana musandam might just be the perfect weekend hideaway
Musandam is an oddity. it’s completely cut off from the rest of oman by the uae, creating a semi-enclave on the very end of the arabian peninsular, facing iran across the straits of Hormuz. it’s a geographically and strategically important spot, but luckily for the people living there, it’s also one of outstanding natural beauty.
anywhere else in the world, such a spot would be littered with a range of hotels, but oddly, Musandam has very few to choose from. until very recently, there was only one decent hotel, but that’s now changed with the addition of the atana Musandam.
the hotel could easily be described as a tranquil reflection of the spirit of oman. inspired by a typical omani village, the resort offers eight clusters of low-rise buildings, housing 110 rooms and suites, each with a private balcony and/or terrace. you also get a great view of the waterway, where you can watch the daily routine of the fishermen. Beyond that is either a view of the sea or of oman’s grand mountains.
there’s a choice of superior King Room, superior twin, Horizon Rooms or a duplex. Each is warmly designed around the traditional style, but neatly including the level of modern luxury you’d expect from a good hotel.
There are also four suites and a Musandam Suite. Each room boasts excellent high-speed wireless Internet and a range of satellite TV channels.
For food, the Atana specialises in seafood, for obvious nearby reasons. Guests can even catch a fish from the sea and then have it cooked to their preference. The signature restaurant, Al Mawra, offers an all-day dining experience, where in addition to the international cuisine, traditional Omani and fusion Omani treats are also served. There’s no alcohol at the Atana, but for that, guests can easily visit the nearby Atana Khasab, which has a fully stocked bar.
During the day there’s a temperaturecontrolled outdoor swimming pool for adults and children, as well as a children’s playground. For those looking to keep in shape the hotel has a fitness centre.
Away from the hotel there’s a fair bit to do whilst visiting Musandam. Dhow cruises are very popular, as you are likely to catch some dolphins playing in the boat’s wake. There’s also a dive centre and the option of a mountain safari. The hotel can arrange all of these if needed.
Although most people travel into the Musandam via a 160-kilometre drive from Dubai, you can fly in, as the hotel is only 10 minutes from Khasab Airport. From Oman’s capital, Muscat, it’s a 55-minute flight or a leisurely five-hour ferry ride.
However you choose to arrive at the Atana, you receive a very warm welcome. That hospitality continues throughout your stay, and that’s the charm of the property.
In a world of big name hotels, all claiming ultimate luxury, a hotel with a more personal feel is often exactly what you need.
roads as the perfect training ground for the famous tours of the cycling world. Look carefully and you’ll often spot the famous cycling faces from TV screens across the world stopping for a breather at the side of a particularly scenic coastal road.
Despite looking distinctly colonial the hotel itself was actually only constructed in 2002, as the spa and wellness resort, part of the Luxury Collection from starwood. in 2008 it underwent a rebranding process and changed to the st. Regis brand. During the rebranding the whole hotel (both inside and outside) went through a 3 million euro refurbishment, designed by the famed Claudio Carbone whose use of colour to create different atmospheres can clearly be seen throughout the property.
The hotel has seven room options, starting with the 48-metre square grand Deluxe Room, which overlooks the hotel’s beautifully landscaped gardens from a lavishly equipped private terrace.
The rooms all feature 40-inch, highresolution flat screen TVS, stunning bathrooms and soft furnishings. it’s all very
the hotel’s Michelin Star restaurant. Guests can sample the delights of Chef Rafael Sánchez and his delightfully innovative creations. Diners can choose an inside seat or one on the terrace, with stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
For less formal dining there’s Aqua, the elegant, Majorcan/mediterraneanstyle restaurant with extensive views of the hotel’s beautiful gardens. The menu focuses on Spanish and Italian dishes, and serves through breakfast and lunch to dinner. Further small bites are available by the pool at Sa Bidia. The bar sits directly by the large outdoor swimming pool in an easy, relaxed atmosphere.
Away from the food, there’s the Es Vent lobby bar, which is anything but a lobby bar. In many hotels the lobby bar is often a bit of an afterthought, but not so at the St. Regis. Es Vent has a strong colonial feel to it and is the perfect place to relax. In fact, the only thing that makes it a ‘lobby bar’ is the fact it’s in the lobby.
For cigar connoisseurs Churchill’s Lounge offers an exclusive selection of the world’s best cigars, as well as a wide range of digestivs and more than100 different whiskeys. The private, almost intimate lounge, has a pool table and soft leather furnishings to set the correct tone. The only downside is that, due to European regulations, smoking is only permitted outdoors.
The St. Regis neatly blends old-school colonial style in a modern build. Often newly built hotels are simply a parody of the era they are trying to emulate. But the St. Regis has been built carefully and with thought. The rooms are simply stunning, even at entry level, with beautiful furnishings and all the amenities you’d expect from a modern, luxury hotel.
But it’s also quaint, elegant and importantly Spanish. Majorca may not be on your list as a luxury traveller, but it should be. Just like all of Spain, it has its package deal areas, but it also has plenty of luxury offers.
If that’s what you’re after, then the St. Regis Mardavall is one of the best.