THE PORT CITY of Muscat, capital of Oman, has historical roots in trade that remain present today, as the city is home to offices of some of the world’s major trading companies. Travellers may want to avoid the city during Eid-al-adha (September), Ramadan (June–July) and National Day (November). At these times there can be road closures and some hotels and businesses wind down. During Ramadan there is no eating or drinking throughout the day, but most hotels will serve food and drink after sundown. The dates vary year-on-year.
There are plenty of hotel options from both global and regional groups in Muscat. Among the best know is the luxurious The Chedi (ghmhotels.com/en/muscat) in the northwest of the city. Travellers will also find properties from the likes of Grand Hyatt and Crowne Plaza. Alternatively, at the budget end of the scale is the Holiday Inn Muscat Al Seeb.
For Omani cooking , Bait Al Luban (baitalluban.com) is a great choice for a traditional experience. The Beach Restaurant at The Chedi Muscat serves seafood alongside a stretch of the hotel’s private beach. And Mumtaz Mahal (Mumtazmahal.net) is the place to go for Indian food, with a varied menu and private dining options.
Muscat’s InterContinental Hotel is home to the popular Trader Vic’s (tradervics.com), which is well known for its cocktails. At the same hotel is the Al Ghazal Pub. At the Grand Hyatt Muscat is the John Barry Bar with terrace seating and ocean views – the bar also has a tapas menu.
Muscat is served by Muscat International Airport, situated 32km from the City. Oman Air flies twice-daily from London Heathrow to Muscat and, from May 2017, once daily from Manchester. British Airways flies to Muscat fives times a week and connecting options are available with the likes of Etihad Airways, Emirates, Gulf Air, Qatar Airways and Turkish Airlines.
Taxis are available from the airport to downtown Muscat but ensure you agree a fare before starting the journey. Some hotels operate courtesy buses from the airport. Several car rental companies can are located on the arrivals concourse.
Muscat is the place to be for impressive traditional architecture and natural eye-openers. Key highlights in the capital city include Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Royal Opera House and Bait Al Zubair museum. Qurum Beach is popular to soak up the sun and enjoy some downtime, or consider visiting Qurum Natural Park. City Centre Muscat is a new modern shopping mall, with a large number of premium outlets.
A return flight from London Heathrow to Muscat covers 13,326km and produces 1.16 tonnes of CO2. Offset this with The Carbon Neutral Company from £11.60.