The port city of Muscat, capital of Oman, has historical roots in trade that are manifested today in some of the world’s major trading companies that maintain offices in the city, not least in the dominant oil sector.
Plenty of international hotel brands are represented in Oman. Among them are the Grand Hyatt and InterContinental and, at the budget end of the scale, Ibis and Holiday Inn. Three of the best known luxury hotels in the region are The Chedi, Ritz-Carlton’s Al Bustan Palace and Shangri-La’s Barr Al Jissah Resort.
The popular Bait Al Luban restaurant offers traditional Omani cuisine and views over the corniche, while The Beach Restaurant at The Chedi serves seafood from its private beachside setting. The Kargeen Café is a great spot for Arabian fare and to enjoy a shisha. The Beach Pavilion at the Al Bustan Palace Hotel is located on the seafront and offers outdoor dining and fresh seafood.
Muscat has a large number of licensed pubs and bars, which are mainly found in hotels. Trader Vic’s in the InterContinental is a popular spot for cocktails and Duke’s Bar in the Crowne Plaza hotel is the most popular English-style pub in Muscat. For a more relaxed evening try the John Barry Bar which is the main bar of the five-star Grand Hyatt Hotel.
There are plenty of taxis available from the airport to downtown Muscat but be sure to agree a fare before starting the journey. Some hotels operate courtesy buses from the airport. There are also numerous car rental companies on the airport arrivals concourse should you prefer the freedom of your own wheels.
Muscat is the place to be for traditional architecture and natural eye-openers. Key highlights include Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, the Royal Opera House and Bait Al Zubair museum. Qurum beach is the perfect spot to catch some sun and unwind, or consider visiting Qurum Natural Park. City Centre Muscat has a large number of modern shopping malls.
Oman Air flies twice-daily from London Heathrow to Muscat and, additionally, operates a new daily flight from Manchester. British Airways flies to Muscat five times a week from Heathrow and one-stop options are available with various airlines.