When the Dubai heat became unbearable during the past summer, I decided to go on a road trip to Oman and venture up Jebal Akhdar mountains so as I could stay at the stunning Alila Resort.
The road trip took 5 hours from Dubai which was pretty straightforward - with the volume up and singing in the car, the time went by so quickly. We made our way to the airport so as one of the Alila staff could meet us in order to jump in their 4x4 so we could climb the narrow roads 2000 feet up the side of the Jabel Akhdar mountain to the resort. It took an hour to get to the top but once inside the gates it opened up to the most beautiful and stunning property nestled in the mountain environment keeping with the natural beauty of its surrounding. The Alila is a haven for nature lovers and adventurers and has the only Via Feretta in the region right on its doorstep or should I say mountainside.
If you’re wondering what is Via Feretta, well in simple terms it’s climbing up and down a mountain edge while being strapped to a harness. Adrenalin junkies will love this – its 1.5 hours of sheer excitement. My favorite part was literally climbing the metal pins in the rock face on the cliff edge and then you had to climb up to meet a wire line bridge in order to cross to the other side. This was the most frightening part of the entire experience for me. I just kept telling myself - "don’t look down – keep looking straight, ignore the wind and put one foot in front of the other because if your feet slip you will be hanging on via your harness ONLY." Watch my video below, I’m walking so slow and concentrating. I have to admit this was the first time that I had ever done this and I was super nervous but I would do it all over again.
For the brave and physically fit you could opt for the 4 hour experience which includes passing some of the most spectacular mountain scenery to the village of AlKhutaymi, hidden in a cave in the wadi floor. Continue another 15 minutes to discover the best swimming pool in the Green Mountain, where you can enjoy a refreshing dip before hiking back.
Due to the resort being 2000 feet above sea level and hidden in the mountains the weather is so much cooler which makes it even more enjoyable to relax and unwind by the pool. If you’re looking for more activities the resort prides itself on utilizing its stunning habitat - there are activities such as butterfly trail, bike riding, canyon walking, hiking and stargazing. The stargazing experience is hosted by the resident astronomer who explains the night sky in detail and shows you the stars and constellations through the most amazing telescope which is so clear its unreal.
All the rooms offer mountain views but the 2 bedroom Jabal villa is exquisite and pure indulgence. You literally don’t have to even see another person during your stay as the villa comes with a pool, jacuzzi and its own butler, it is so secluded its literally only you and nature. If you want you can take a bike and ride to the main hotel for dinner or stay home and simply order room service and enjoy al fresco dining by the pool.
I really enjoyed the food served at Juniper Restaurant; every night they had different options available from Middle Eastern cuisine to dishes from the Mediterranean region. Everything was so fresh and tasty.
With regards to children staying at the resort, there is a lot to do for the slightly older children from bike riding to walking and even cooking classes but for the younger there is a small indoor play area but I would personally recommend taking a private villa with your own pool so the kids are entertained all day and the noise volume isn’t too much for the other hotel guests.
A visa is required to enter Oman, which you can get on arrival either at the airport or at border control. The cost is 20 Omani Riyals, which is AED 190, and you can pay either cash or card.
Alila Resorts are actually one of my favourite hotel groups. I have had the pleasure to stay at Alila Seminyak in Bali and would love to try Alila Manggis located in East Bali. However one of my bucket list experiences which gets me super excited is the Alila Purnama – Komodo Expedition. This is a 7 days adventure on a boat in and around the waters of the Komodo National Park in Indonesia between the islands of Sumbawa and Flores.
So if you are looking for an exquisite and exhilarating Alila experience, pack your bags for Oman and head up the mountains.