Choosing a luxury hotel in Muscat was probably one of the fastest hotel selections I have ever made and unusually for me, didn’t involve a spreadsheet or a pros and cons list! After some brief research, there appeared to be only three options for a true luxury hotel in Muscat; Shangri-La Al Husn, Al Bustan Palace and The Chedi Muscat. Luckily, our itinerary allowed us to choose two out of the three, as we would begin and end our trip in the capital. The first choice was The Chedi, a smaller boutique design hotel that features on Mr & Mrs Smith, whose hotels have always been spot on in my experience.
Our journey through Muscat airport must have broken some kind of record for speed; we were sat in the back of an air conditioned car within seven minutes of exiting the plane. A man holding a sign with our names on it was waiting at the end of the jet bridge who informed us we were to be fast tracked through security and then promptly whisked us away at top speed on a golf buggy. We were taken through a separate customs entrance with no queue and someone else met us at the baggage carousel where our luggage was already spinning around. So far, this honeymoon was looking pretty good!
The Chedi: A Luxury Hotel in Muscat
The Chedi is part of the GHM Hotel group based in Singapore and first opened its doors in Muscat in 2003. The hotel is spread across 21 acres, has a huge 13 Suite Balinese spa, three pools, a private 370 metre beach, a health club and while we were there, five restaurants (I believe there are more than this, but some have seasonal openings). There are 120 rooms and 38 suites at the The Chedi across five different classes; Serai, Serai Sea View, Deluxe Room, Deluxe Club Terrace and Chedi Club Suite.
The Chedi looked very unassuming as we approached it via a long winding and perfectly manicured driveway; our driver explained that no building is to be higher than 14 storeys in Oman in order to preserve the skyline, they do not want to be the next Dubai.
Our door was opened for us as we pulled up to the hotel entrance and we were immediately enveloped by the smell of frankincense. We were quickly ushered inside, past the reception and seated at one of many large sofas in a huge lantern lined lobby with a Bedouin style tented ceiling. The check in process was hugely strenuous with cold towels and mango juice brought over while they used their psychic powers to (correctly) determine who we were and produce our room keys for our four night stay.
The Chedi Hotel: Rooms
We had chosen an entry level room, the Serai Sea View which we were shown to with our luggage following promptly behind. The room had superb views of (shockingly) both the sea and the Serai pool through the large windows that took up almost all of one wall. The room was a decent size at 33sqm with a queen size bed, long sofa along another wall, a daily fresh fruit basket, Nespresso machine (thank god) and a mini bar with complimentary soft drinks and up to four beers per day (which Danny, of course, was very impressed with). The bathroom was open plan with separate toilet and shower areas, the latter with a rain shower and Acqua di Parma toiletries. Decent speed WiFi is free for all hotel guests and also worked everywhere I went in the hotel grounds, including the beach.
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The higher class of rooms that include “Club” in the description come with access to “The Club”, which include the additional complimentary benefits of private airport transfers, a daily laundry and full minibar (including alcohol). If you are in a Deluxe room, you can pay a bolt on fee to add these privileges onto your stay if you wish. In addition, you also have access to the “The Club Lounge” which provides daily afternoon tea, canapés and cocktails. Our room unfortunately did not have access to this, but we did manage to get a quick look around and the buffet while small, looked fab!
The Chedi Style
After unpacking everything (I hate trying to live out of a suitcase) and a quick nap, we headed off to explore the hotel. Helpfully we had been issued with a map as the resort is rather spread out and I have a knack for getting lost…
Wandering around the hotel we got a better look at the decor; a minimalistic mix of Moorish and Balinese styles with white walls, dark woods and large pottery. Make sure you look where you’re going, there are lots of water features with stepping stones and mini ravines to navigate, don’t fall in!
The Chedi is the kind of hotel that you could quite happily not leave for a few days should you not want to, there is more than enough to keep you occupied.
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Locating the optimum lying down location is always pretty high on my list after checking in anywhere and The Chedi has three fantastic choices; the Serai Pool, the Chedi Pool and the Long Pool.
The Serai was located right by our room and has big awnings above the sun beds, the Chedi is by the beach and the Long Pool is named that for a reason, at 103 metres it is the the longest in the region and lined by fire pits. All of them were surrounded by comfy looking day beds and sun loungers and each had their own pool cabana serving drinks and lunch (and in the case of Serai and Long Pools, dinner as well).
We didn’t struggle for availability of sun beds anywhere for the entirety of our visit, but my favourite pool to lay by was the Chedi pool. With a sea view and the ability to stay in the shade almost all day long (Danny is virtually allergic to direct sunlight), we spent a couple of days lounging around interspersed with dips in the fabulous pool.
The pool service was also fantastic, we were kept topped up with plenty of iced water flavoured with mint and cucumber and a steady stream of beer, wine and complimentary fruit skewers made it a very chilled day!
I am a huge beach lover, so had a little wander across it to see if I was missing out. I wasn’t, it has dark stony sand and just looked a bit murky, although the hotel had tried to spruce it up by raking it! No worries, when the pools are this great, who cares about the beach…
Health Club & Spa
There is a health club and spa located by the Long Pool; we had a quick peak in the gym which was light and airy with lots of wood accents and the latest equipment, including a Pilates corner. It also had some very comfy looking chairs scattered around, I would definitely find an excuse to sit in one of those rather than exercise! There was also separate sauna and steam room for men and women. On the floor above is the spa, regarded as one of the largest and best in Muscat.
The Chedi also has a boutique just off the lobby where you can buy all manner of things, including local art, clothes and jewellery. I had my eye on a silver and onyx ring, however Danny said that I had already had a rather nice and important ring a few days earlier and I should stick with that for now…he might be right (I didn’t tell him that).
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The Chedi: Restaurants
And onto the most important thing for me, the restaurants! The hotel has several to choose from and were five open during our stay.
The Beach Restaurant
We ate at “The Beach” on our first night at The Chedi. Located in a separate building at the corner of the property this was my favourite restaurant of our trip and specialised in seafood. We hadn’t made a reservation so we were seated inside, however they had a verandah outside with fire-pits overlooking the sea, so I would recommend booking ahead to secure one of those tables.
We ordered the oysters to start and and a mixed seafood platter for main which included tuna, kingfish, snapper, lobster, some absolutely massive prawns and a choice of sauce and side. Included was also a small soup to start and a palette cleanser between courses.
The food was absolutely incredible, I love seafood at the best of times but this was particularly high quality. Danny is not usually a huge fan of oysters, but even he said they were fantastic. We sat outside and finished our drinks after our meal and with the breeze coming off the sea, it was just the perfect way to end our second day as a married couple!
The imaginatively named “Restaurant” is considered the hotel’s main eatery and serves everything from Western, Middle Eastern, Asian and Indian cuisine.
“The Restaurant” has both outdoor and indoor seating; I opted for inside on most of the days so I could sit and stare at what must be the most sparkly collection of chandeliers I have ever seen, it took me a while to look back down at my menu!
Included in our room rate was both the buffet and à la carte menu; the waiter kindly offered to show me round the buffet which was extensive to say the least, good job he did or I may have missed the pastry selection around the side of one of the open plan cooking areas. There was lots of choice including Arabic, English, fruits & cereals, continental meats, hams and cheeses as well as macaroons and that amazing array of pastries and baked goods…fresh off wedding dieting I ordered French toast with butter and maple syrup, it was gorgeous, fluffy and totally worth it.
Danny of course headed straight to the full English section of the buffet and came back slightly perturbed with his chicken sausages and beef bacon (Oman is a predominately Muslim country, so no pork). The selection and quality of a breakfast included in the room rate I find is often a good indicator of the quality of hotel, and the breakfast at The Chedi is superb.
We didn’t eat dinner here during our stay, but had several delicious breakfasts. They also do a very extravagant brunch on Fridays which we unfortunately missed as we were off out exploring Muscat, but we caught the end of it as we arrived back at the hotel and it looked amazing!
The Chedi Cabana
I get very excited about meal times on holiday, something about eating out three times a day doesn’t ever get old!
The Chedi Cabana is open for lunch only and serves an array of Mediterranean cuisine with a view over the ocean right next to the pool of the same name.
We spent one very pleasant lunchtime here; myself with a rosé (it might have been more than one) with pumpkin & ricotta ravioli and Danny went for his staple favourite, burger and a beer. Both were superb, although mine maybe a little heavy for lunch, but my pasta obsession has a way of taking over any rational thought when on a menu.
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The Long Pool
The Long Pool serves Japanese and Middle Eastern cuisine and my pasta obsession is beaten by only one other, sushi. I have been known to eat sushi for breakfast, lunch and dinner before and have managed to scout out the best Japanese restaurants in virtually every country I have ever visited. Unsurprisingly, Japan is high on the bucket list for sushi eating Mecca.
Anyway, the Long Pool, very glam setting with big chairs, day beds and low tables with club music humming in the background and the only light being from the fire pits surrounding the restaurant and along the pool. I had learnt from the previous night at “The Beach” restaurant and made a reservation so we had a table. Excellent move as those who hadn’t booked were shown to a day bed and their food was brought over on trays. Now I love a day bed for poolside lounging, not so much for eating my sushi!
We ordered the beetroot cured salmon with yuzu miso and konbu crisp, spicy yellowtail sashimi with guacamole, citrus soy and chilli with a selection of rolls. I was absolutely in my element, just like all the other food we had had so far at The Chedi, this was damn good.
A high octane (!!) day calls for an early night (I’m not known for staying out late…), so we headed off to our room via a stroll along the beach, a perfect end to the day!
Serai Pool Cabana
Overlooking the third beautiful pool with big awnings stretched across it was the fifth and final eating location at The Chedi, the Serai Pool Cabana. The most casual of all the dining locations, we had both lunch and dinner here on different days during out stay.
The food is a decent mix of everything, my stand out favourite was the Soft Shell Crab & Pomelo Salad I had for lunch, which bearing in mind was an appetiser portion, was absolutely huge and totally delicious. I have tried to recreate it several times at home as it looked so deceptively simple, I haven’t successfully managed it yet! Danny pushed the boat out and and stuck with different versions of the shawarma on both occasions (as the waiter serving us told him it was like a kebab which obviously sold it to him).
This is a great location for lunch but I would say it doesn’t have quite the same atmosphere for dinner, but that may be because the other evening meals we had were absolutely stand out.
My favourite things about this hotel included the staff, who were absolutely fantastic, very friendly and polite but walked that sometimes challenging line of attentive but unobtrusive, they were some of the best I have come across.
The hotel’s setting is gorgeous, very modern and minimalistic but while still retaining traditional Omani flair. Their chandelier game was also very strong, an important aspect in any hotel I go to!
The pools were simply stunning, particularly the Long Pool in the evening with the fire pits surrounding it, perfect for watching the sunset.
The hotel also had plenty of amenities and a high quality of complimentary ones e.g. Acqua di Parma toiletries, Nespresso coffee, free minbar.
Finally, the food and wine were absolutely amazing, of the highest quality and there is lots of variety, I thoroughly enjoyed every meal.
Not so Keen
The only elements I think let the hotel down slightly were around the rooms; I had booked an entry level room, however for the standard and price bracket of this hotel I would have expected more; there was a queen size bed rather than a king (this is, however, clearly detailed in the room descriptions on the website prior to booking), the pillows were bizarrely flat and I would have appreciated twin sinks and a bit more storage in the room.
It can always be difficult to to compare quality and price on a like for like basis across countries as money can go a lot further in some places than others, however for the price bracket and where this hotel markets itself, my expectation was higher.
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Need to Know
This hotel is pricy. A glass of wine was 4.5 – 6 OMR and a can of beer 4.5 OMR, which when we were there the rate of exchange put this at £8.90 – £11.85.
The cabanas were cheaper than the two formal eating options (The Beach and The Restaurant), but my appetiser portion of Soft Shell Crab and Pomelo Salad at the Serai Pool Cabana at lunchtime was still 12 OMR (£23.70).
This observation is also taking into account the cost of food and drink in relation to the room prices; when staying in hotels where the rooms have been of a similar price bracket (which I have in multiple countries and continents), eating and drinking has not been this expensive. It would have been appreciated if the hotel menus online had the prices on them so we could have been better prepared for this.
While this hotel was the most expensive of the four we stayed at during our time in Oman (in terms of eating and drinking), we did find that all of the hotels were expensive to eat in compared to Western pricing.
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Eating at local restaurants is considerably cheaper; the one night we went out in Muscat cost around £30 in total for a two course dinner and non alcoholic drink each.
We actually found that all costs were much more reasonable the minute we stepped out the hotel; taxis, shopping etc. so the difference between hotels and outside of the resorts is really stark. I am used to there being local and tourist pricing in a lot of destinations, but it is rare that that tourist pricing is higher than what you would pay for the same quality in the UK.
I did get the feedback from a couple of locals that Oman mainly targets high end luxury tourism, which could explain the large price differential.
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Final Thoughts: The Chedi, A Luxury Hotel in Muscat
It is also worth noting while this hotel allows children, it does not specifically cater for them and under 16s are only allowed by the Serai Pool and in the Chedi Club Suites. I didn’t see a single child in the four days I was there, however there were plenty of parents with older children in their mid teens.
Finally, there is some construction work going on next door to the Chedi, a large multi storey building that can look a bit scary as you are approaching the hotel. I can’t say I noticed construction noise going on while I was there and bizarrely didn’t see the building after we had entered the hotel. I think something about all the amazing architecture and sights means you are distracted by all the pretty things to look at! Don’t let this out you off, it’s a fab hotel and it really wasn’t a problem during my stay.
After an absolutely made couple of months preparing for our wedding, this luxury hotel in Muscat was the perfect way to kick off our honeymoon in style. Apart from a tour of Muscat, we didn’t do much at all apart from enjoy this beautiful hotel and it was time very well spent.
Address: 133 18th November St, Muscat, Oman
Phone: +968 24 524400
– You can book The Chedi in Muscat through Mr & Mrs Smith, a website of beautifully curated boutique hotels.
– Alternatively, you can view and book The Chedi Muscat with Booking.com, Agoda or Hotels.com.
– Check flight routes and prices with Skyscanner. Oman Air fly direct from Manchester and London Heathrow on a daily basis and British Airways fly from London Heathrow three times a week between October and April.
There are currently no direct flights from the USA, but there are lots of connection options; Muscat is only an hour’s flight from Dubai.
– Click here to buy your Lonely Planet Guide for Oman.
– Apply for your Oman Visa here. Read my full Oman Itinerary for more visa information.
– You can check out my full list of tried, tested and recommended Travel Resources here.