Opinion: Living the Omani culture

by Mahak Mannan | Published 8 months ago

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Jessi Chai, assistant marketing and communications manager at Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar on unlocking the destination.

HCF_5389Let me take you to the mountains of North East Oman, where the cooler climate lets you escape the unbearable heat, tall buildings and the glitzy city life. Oman keeps it real, with a clear path for luxury travellers seeking the humble Omani hospitality. A great place for multigenerational travel catering to the most adventurous of families, couples, and solo travellers.

The new Muscat International Airport, which opened six months ago, has quickly become the new radius for government investment to international luxury tourism hoping to reach 20 million passengers annually. With the increase in passenger capacity, more flights every hour, and increased Oman Air flights connecting Muscat to new markets such as Moscow, Casablanca, Istanbul, Madrid, Brussels, Vienna, and Prague, now more than ever, resorts in Oman need to be ready for these emerging markets. As curious tourists leave the airport and drive 140km South West, their world becomes a mountainous terrain.

En-route away from the coastline towards Birkat Al Mouz, an ancient village with houses made from mud and ensconced in a plantation of date trees, we find ourselves only 45 minutes away from Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort. Located on the Saiq plateau, the area is shared by around 7,000 local villagers, Omani’s and expats working at the resort, and precious goats crossing the road in herds. Established internationally as the highest 5-star resort in the Middle East, the expertise of the hotel team strives to stay in visitors’ minds by delivering Anantara’s brand promise to connect with guests, ground them in authentic luxury, and deliver indigenous experiences.

The resort displays opulence from the very first moment, with exquisite lighting to magnificent Arabic art and ornaments, and then there is the view. A viewing platform in the name of the late Princess of Wales, Diana’s Point is one of the most photographed spots in Oman.

On the mountaintop we’re surrounded by cliff hanging terraces filled with harvesting pomegranates, walnuts, pears, grapes, garlic, olives, and other plants. The neighbouring three villages, Al Aqr, Al Ayn, and Ash Shirayjah are part of a culturally inspiring hike guided by our very own local Omani Mountain Guru. Walking past majlas, mosques, old abandoned homes with wooden and iron handmade doors still intact and observing children at play with the simplest of toys made from scraps. Oman is a beautiful country filled with the friendliest of faces. This is the authentic, indigenous experience travellers yearn for.

Living and working on a mountain 2,000m above sea level, I’m certain that I am not your typical PR and Marketing lady. My time spent outdoors away from my desk is where the creativity happens. It’s where I can show our media guests and influencers the history of Omani culture, the way of life in this remote destination, and bring it all into perspective when comparing it to the familiar.



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