And speaking of calmed senses, there is perhaps nowhere better to find them at The Chedi Muscat than the resort’s otherworldly pool and spa facilities. Home to one of the longest pools in the Middle East at 103 meters, The Chedi Muscat’s infinity pools, of which two run right up to the edge of its private beach, offer visitors a tranquil escape from the desert heat that can easily reach scorching. But what to wear in the Middle East while sunbathing? That’s entirely up to you. Because, as a country itself, Oman is quite relaxed in that regard, and has no laws requiring women to wear headscarves or anything of the like so long as both men and women are reasonably dressed in public spaces. As such, fashionable women and svelte sunglass-toting men often call poolside home at The Chedi Muscat’s Chedi Pool, both a pool and restaurant that lines the beach, and can regularly be seen sipping drinks while bronzing under the desert sun.
Though when a day in the sun is too much to handle, make your way to Muscat’s largest wellness facility at The Spa at The Chedi Muscat (1,500 square meters total of spa and health club). The creation of which was overseen by GHM spa maven Brenda Ramen, the spa here too elicits the Middle East in both form and function with an Omani interior and an individualized line of Omani-influenced essential oils. With 13 individual treatment rooms that feature top of the line ‘Living Earth Crafts’ massage beds, a bathroom, and a massive central shower, and a spa lounge that overlooks the Gulf of Oman (a great place to catch the sunset indoors), this aromatic escape from the heat serves up a lengthy list of treatments that are sure to leave you simmering.
In my time at The Chedi Muscat, however, it was the staff who stole the show. Headed by general manager Morton Johnston, the diverse staff—ranging from predominantly Oman to India, Southeast Asia, Africa and the Middle East—at The Chedi Muscat never failed to make me feel at home. Whether it was taking me to the Muttrah Souk without notice, driving me down the coastline to show off the severely underrated coast of Oman’s capital, going out for shisha with me at Muscat’s famed Kargeen, or even just delivering handmade chocolates in the evening with a smile in the scorching heat, the staff here knows how to deliver world-class quality, and I find that it is always this that truly makes a stay. And while The Chedi Muscat has got more than enough in the way of facilities to catapult itself atop the Middle Eastern hospitality world, it is the staff which truly does so in this Middle Eastern gem.
The Chedi Muscat has done much for me to change my perception not only of what the Middle East is, but of what Muscat more specifically is. A city undergoing a subdued revolution, Muscat is soon to leave the territory of un-trampled retreat, and for me, I’m just happy I got in before it did. A city toeing the line between opulence and tradition, The Chedi Muscat is a perfectly decorated microcosm. And while a trip to Kargeen will fill you up with sites of young Omanis liberally dressed sitting across from dishdasha-clad members of wealthy Omani clans puffing away on the intricately designed shishas, the smoke isn’t hiding the fact that Muscat is developing in the right way. They aren’t spending billions developing a mirage as many of their Middle Eastern neighbors have done and are continuing to do, they are spending to cultivate an oasis, and The Chedi Muscat is just that.