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Hotel Shangri La Al Bandar Hotel 5 star
Easyexperts
Barr Al Jissah - Mascate - Oman Muscat, Oman -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

Best suited for couples, the Shangri La Al Bandar is one of the 3 hotels of the Shangri La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa that opened in 2006. Located some 10 mi southeast of the capital, Muscat, this upmarket resort offers a wide range of activities, a superb spa, many restaurants, and original oriental architecture in remarkable natural surroundings, between desert mountains and the Arabian Sea.

This hotel review is a translation from the French published on our French site Easyvoyage.com.

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    • Hotel Shangri La Al Bandar

      Shangri La Al Bandar   -   Carlos Rodrigues / EASYVOYAGE

    • Hotel Shangri La Al Bandar

      Shangri La Al Bandar   -   Carlos Rodrigues / EASYVOYAGE

       
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    Location 7.0 /10

    This hotel is located on the seafront in Barr Al Jissah bay, from which the complex gets its name, overlooking the Gulf of Oman against a backdrop of majestic desert mountains. The Al Bandar is located at the heart of the Shangri La Barr Al Jissah complex, between the Al Waha and the Al Husn. You will find the hotel 10.5 mi southeast of the centre of Muscat and around 32 mi from Seeb International Airport. Transfer time is about 40 minutes.

    Accommodation 8.70 /10

    The spacious guest rooms at the Al Bandar (32m) are carpeted and comfortably furnished in an oriental style with a desk, an armchair, a small round wooden table, and boast white walls featuring 2 large photos. They have satellite television broadcasting 50 channels, a large electronic safe deposit box (free of charge), individual air conditioning, a minibar, tea and coffee-making facilities (a bottle of water is provided free of charge), an iron and ironing board, a direct dial telephone, and an Internet connection. The bedrooms extend onto a large balcony with a round table, 2 armchairs, and a clothes drying rack, and offer a beautiful view of the swimming pool and the sea. A pocket torch is provided on the bedside table, which is handy for nighttime walks in search of sea turtles! More observant guests will note the prayer rug and the small arrow on the ceiling pointing towards Mecca. Room service is available 24 hours a day. The beautiful all-marble bathroom, accessed via a handsome sliding wood door, is large, shiny, and attractively decorated. It has a large bathtub with a handle and a flexible shower, a large separate shower, a toilet, a bidet, a telephone, a set of scales, a magnifying mirror, bathrobes and slippers, tissues, a toothbrush set, and sophisticated Aigner hospitality products. Basically, you won't be needing your toiletries bag! There are even speakers so you can listen to the television. If you are wondering about the hair dryer, you will find one worthy of a hairdresser in the desk drawer (for safety reasons).

    Overview 8.70 /10

    Nestled in a remarkable 300-acre estate between the sea and the desert mountains, the Shangri La Al Bandar is part of a grand, purely oriental-style complex with 680 rooms. Nicknamed 'the city', it consists of a sand-coloured ochre building which houses the hotel's 198 rooms. On entering the lobby, where the characteristic incense of the Sultanate of Oman lingers, you will immediately be immersed into an oriental atmosphere. This fragrance is reminiscent of that of our churches: it is quite enchanting. If the sea is too warm for you, why not cool down in one of the resort's four chilled swimming pools, two of which are dedicated to children (at the Al Waha). Indeed, hotels usually boast about their heated swimming pools, but in Oman, luxury comes in the form of a chilled swimming pool - otherwise you may feel like you are swimming in a giant bath! A small, 1,640-ft long artificial river runs between the Al Bandar and the Al Waha: let yourself be swayed by the current as you sit comfortably on a floating rubber ring.

    Food and drink 8.70 /10

    The Al Bandar houses the main restaurants of the Shangri La Barr Al Jissah resort, which has no fewer than 19 restaurants, including 6 main ones! The seafood restaurant offering a panoramic sea view from its large picture window is worth a special mention, as is the Moroccan restaurant, Shahrazad, which is lit by 'stars' in the ceiling, providing a setting straight out of A Thousand and One Nights! Gourmet diners will be in their element at the Capri Court, which serves delicious Italian cuisine. The hotel also has a tapas bar, but if you prefer, you can enjoy some pizza by the poolside. Why not spend an evening relaxing on the terrace, smoking a hookah pipe with a mint tea and oriental pastries, while listening to the band play relaxing music in the background. If western traditions are more up your alley, you can enjoy a cigar whilst sipping on a brandy in the Silver Lounge.

    Spa 8.7 /10

    The 1,000m Chi Spa offers Chinese and Himalayan-inspired treatments in 12 rooms spread out over little bungalows surrounding a central garden.

    Beach 8.70 /10

    Surrounded by ochre mountains that make for a spectacular panoramic view, the Shangri La is the only hotel in Muscat, apart from the Chedi and the Al Bustan Palace, to have a 600m private beach. Lined with palm trees, the beach is very well equipped with plastic deckchairs complete with cushions laid out under thatched parasols. The available space has been well planned out, which means you won't feel crowded by other guests. The ochre-coloured sand is fine and clean, and the sea is deep blue. Sea turtles come to lay their eggs here in the evening, which is why you should not swim in the sea after dark. The swimming area is marked out by buoys. As far as water sports are concerned, the Shangri La has its own diving centre. You can also go sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, and snorkelling, but all of these activities incur an added charge.

    To know

    A member of the Hong Kong-based group Shangri La Hotels and Resorts, the Al Bandar hotel is one of the three hotels of the Shangri La Barr Al JIssah Resort and Spa, inaugurated in 2006, along with the Al Waha and the Al Husn, which share common facilities. It has a fantastic spa, the Chi Spa, with Chinese and Himalayan-inspired treatments in 12 rooms spread out over little bungalows surrounding a central garden. There is also a diving centre and even a souq: this hotel is the reconstruction of a typically Omani village with traditional handicraft stalls. Two new restaurants are opening up in 2010: an Asian and a Lebanese restaurant.Around the swimming pool, staff serve cold water along with fresh fruit and even cool towels!

    Equipment

    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access
    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      massage, beauty salon, sauna, hammam, spa, wellness

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      tennis, gym, sailing, fitness

    • Hairdresser
    • Whirlpool bath
    • Safe
    • Solarium
    • Private beach
    • Meeting room

    advantage

    • Access to the facilities at the Al Bandar.
    • The fantastic natural setting.

    disadvantages

    • The location on the outskirts of Muscat.

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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