Hid­den Gem

Nes­tled in the small town of Khasab on oman’s sleepy mu­san­dam penin­su­lar, the atana mu­san­dam might just be the per­fect week­end hide­away

Virtuozity - - Destination -

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.

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