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  • Shangri-La Muscat Unveils Immersive Omani Experiences

    Published on April 13, 2024

     Oman has embraced the tenets of modernisation while preserving its cultural tapestry. Nestled in a dual resort complex along the Gulf of Oman, Shangri-La Muscat invite guests to experiences tailored around Omani culture, art, and architecture. Its new coffee shop, Turath Café, is an ode to Omani heritage. Even its location pays homage to rich maritime history when sailors embarked on voyages across the Indian Ocean Rim. From the paintings adorning the walls and artworks to design elements and local taste along its varied dining venues, the complex resembles forts, villages, towns, and markets.

    An Architectural Odyssey

    While staying at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah, guests are invited to discover the history behind the architecture of the resort. While Al Bandar’s architecture draws inspiration from Muttrah Cornich’s townhouses, featuring latticed railings and rounded red-tile roofing, its lobby impresses with a golden dome adorned with muqarnas, echoing Spain’s Cordova Mosque. The grand double stairway, clad in Italian Rosso Levanto marble, leads to gardens bordering blue pools, offering scenic views of the surroundings.

    Separated by a sculptural mountain formation, Al Waha, the family wing, sits at the end of the shoreline. It connects to Al Bandar via a 5-minute walk and guests can float in between the wings through its 500-metre lazy river resembling a falaj flanked by palm trees. The lazy river draws inspiration from Falaj irrigation channels and is recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Al Waha’s lobby features a square dome with intersecting wooden beams and arabesque-patterned carpet. Noteworthy is its off-white column-and-arch colonnade reminiscent of traditional mosques.

    Perched on the clifftop, the adults-only, Shangri-La Al Husn embodies the essence of a private castle retreat. It is built to give the impression of a castle overlooking its village represented by the Al Waha. Bait Al Bahr restaurant represents the seafood market between the village and a port town represented by Al Bandar. An indigenous representation! Even its Royal Suite is inspired by the iconic 17th Century Jabreen castle, overlooking the picturesque mountain range and the Gulf coast.

    A Tapestry of Art

    The sculptural excellence matched by specially commissioned works by 29 local artists adorn its walls. Diverse in subject, style, and perspective, these are united by a shared expression of the ideals embodying the Sultanate of Oman, seamlessly blending tradition with modernity. Some featured photographers are Ahmed Abdullah Al Busaidi, Ibrahim Saeed Al Busaidi, Khamis Ali Al Moharbi, and Said Amur Al Harthy.

    The Heart of Heritage

    A one-of-a-kind experience. An insightful and unique tour with the Frankincense Sommelier further expands guests’ understanding on the Frankincense history and how the resort has incorporated Oman’s most treasured resin into guests’ journey. Shangri-La Muscat trained and appointed Khalid Al Amri as Oman’s first accredited frankincense sommelier, who also happens to be the world’s sole Frankincense sommelier. Khalid pays an instrumental role in enhancing the Essence of Oman programme and takes guests on an immersive art and architecture tour as well as the private frankincense garden, which consists of 21 trees growing since 2019. One can touch, smell, and see frankincense in its natural form. Khalid also oversees the traditional welcome with Frankincense incense, dates, and traditional coffee. The resort’s restaurants and bars, too, feature cocktails and dishes infused with frankincense as well as other local delicacies such as Halwa, Shuwa, dates, or organic honey.

    The tour also expands towards Turath Café, the new coffee shop located at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah. It is a cultural hub where Omani heritage comes to life, blending past and present in its flavours. It envelops guests in the fragrant whispers of frankincense to the aroma of robust coffee. The aromatic menu inspired by Oman’s grandeur, featuring pastries infused with dates and honey alongside refreshing smoothies. In the afternoon, a signature high tea with local aromatic coffee celebrating regional flavours is proposed. While at the café, guests can also explore the mobile museum and art gallery by Bait Al Zubair, immersing in local culture through artefacts, frankincense, and paintings by local artists.

    Luban Spa

    The Essence of Oman further expands to ensure it covers all the senses. Shangri-La Al Husn is the only resort in the Middle East that boasts the Luban Spa, with a full-fledged menu featuring Frankincense treatments. The spa uses the ancient resin of frankincense, which is harvested from Boswellia trees. It is known that the oil, resin, and scent of Frankincense bring a lot of healing, soothing, and relaxing virtues to the mind, body, and soul.

    Around the City

    Muscat, Oman’s captivating capital, offers a wealth of attractions reflecting its rich history and culture. Among them is Bait Al Zubair, a museum showcasing traditional crafts, featuring weaponry, jewellery, costumes, and recreated environments. The Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, a modern marvel, features intricate Islamic architecture and houses the world’s second-largest single-piece carpet. Explore the bustling Muttrah Souq, filled with treasures like frankincense, silver khanjars, and spices. Other must-visit landmarks include the National Museum, Royal Opera House Muscat, Mutrah Corniche, and Al Alam Palace.

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