The Chedi, Muscat, Oman

the most cultured traveller is sometimes in need of a dose
of pure, unabashed winter
– but it can be hard to come by without hitting up the

or Thailand.
Step forward, Oman. Just a seven-hour flight from the UK, it’s got
to be one of winter’s best-kept sun secrets. Dubai’s lesser-known
neighbour, Oman has a reliable climate (temperatures are in the
high 20s and there’s guaranteed sunshine everyday) but less of the
skyscraper flashiness and crowds, making it feel a bit more like a
holiday. And despite being a sizeable city,
clings to Oman’s glistening coastline – the perfect
backdrop to bring tropical vibes to The Chedi hotel.

From plane
in just fifteen minutes, The Chedi is a place you won’t
want to leave. Meandering pathways guide you through the acres of
green lawns, azure pools and white-washed villas. If it weren’t for
the Omani architectural touches you could make-believe that you
were in any far-flung exotic
location, while feeling smug at avoiding the long-haul
flight, time difference and not-so-reliable weather. As it should
be with any hedonistic beach retreat, days can be spent sunning in
various ways. The shining light is the Long Pool, a 100-metre oasis
fringed by oversized sun beds and soft lounge music evoking an
Ibiza vibe.

Fancy a change of scenery? Head to one of the other two pools,
or to the private beach. Laid-back cool permeates the whole resort
which, despite its size, channels an intimate, boutique feeling.
Smug couples dominate, no doubt smiling wryly at their superiority
over all the pale people they’ve left languishing in the winter
grey of home. Join them, with your partner or pals…


Dark wood, palatial beds and decadent toiletries set the tone
for rooms as places to pamper and unwind. The serai and deluxe
rooms offer up ample space within the main body of the building,
but for the ultimate escape book into one of the Chedi club suites,
where standalone villas with sprawling lounges, private terraces
and gigantic bathrooms beckon after a long day doing nothing. But
don’t get too comfortable. Complimentary afternoon tea and evening
cocktails – a perk of the club suites – are sure to tempt you back

What’s for breakfast?

is included there is no excuse for not getting out of
bed. The main restaurant serves up a veritable feast of options via
a buffet, which can be leisurely consumed out in the courtyard
gazing down to the sea beyond. For the ultimate holiday indulgence,
order your breakfast hamper directly to your room so you linger
over your coffee on your private terrace and do so in your dressing

How about lunch and dinner?

There’s no shortage of dining options. Lunch is best enjoyed
poolside and washed down with a glass of
. As for dinner, sample something different every night.
You can practically dip your toes in the water at the romantic
beach restaurant which offers an endless array of seafood, while
the more formal main restaurant offers Asian, Middle Eastern and
Indian delights. For a laid-back affair, either head to the Arabic
courtyard and shisha lounge, or recline on daybeds at the Long Pool
cabana while sampling the Japanese tapas selection by

Is there a bar?

Many. In fact, you’re never far from a drink at The Chedi. But
for early evening tipples head to the shisha or lobby lounge for
candlelit aperitifs. Post-prandial digestifs are best quaffed
curled up poolside at the Long Pool cabana.


Those craving some action can hit up the hi-tech gym or tennis
courts, then make a beeline for the spa
for a restorative massage.

Things you should know

The point of heading to this kind of beach resort is to switch
off, unwind and largely stay on site. Current exchange rates,
however, may have you wincing at the price of three-course dinners
every night of your stay.

Within a short walk you can find…

Fear not, for those prone to cabin fever Muscat is an
adventurer’s paradise and friendly staff are more than happy to
help you planning your excursions. Sample the souk, visit the Grand
Mosque or don your best linen and head to the desert for dune
bashing and other sandy exploits.

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