Oman Staycation: Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa

Whether you’re seeking a getaway for the whole family or want to combine gourmet dining with thrilling watersports and pampering spa treatments on a long weekend away with friends, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa has you covered

Perfect for families

Nestled against the dramatic backdrop of rugged mountains and beside the pristine waters of the Gulf of Oman, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is a destination resort comprising two hotel wings: Al Waha and Al Bandar.

The 262-room Al Waha (meaning The Oasis) is Oman’s first dedicated leisure hotel, so is the ideal spot for those in need of a rejuvenating break. With the family in tow, a spacious room is essential, and on this count Al Waha delivers in true Shangri-La style. Guestrooms stretch at least 32 square metres each, but we rate the sizeable Family Room, which is actually two en suite rooms in one (the first with a king-sized bed, and the other with twin beds). A door connects the two, so grown-ups can enjoy quiet time on their sea-facing balcony while, in the adjacent room, the kids can battle it out on the PlayStation.

A veritable playground for toddlers through to tweens and with a team of resort hosts on hand to entertain, Al Waha packs in plenty of perks. The resort’s fun-filled Cool Zone Kids’ Club is located here, offering young ones aged between four and eight an exciting line-up of scheduled activities, from movie time to creative crafts. Al Waha is also home to a swimming pool dedicated to toddlers and children and the brilliant splash pad where the whole family can get a good soaking through touch sensitive sprays and projection jets.

Once you’ve dried off, it’s time to enjoy a family meal. If you’re craving somewhere casual, make a beeline for Surf Café, where deep filled sandwiches, tasty burgers, fresh salads, homemade milkshakes and sundaes will satisfy any appetite. For heartier fare, the open show kitchen, extensive buffet, and à la carte menu available at Samba cooks up a feast of grilled meats and fish, alongside family favourites for sharing, like nachos topped with succulent beef. Plus, be sure to stop by poolside restaurant Assira, which has been designed to appear like an oasis amid the hotel’s swimming pools and palm trees.

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Perfect for friends

Over in the vibrant Al Bandar wing (meaning The Town), which is inspired by Muscat of old, a variety of top-rated restaurants and lively post dinner destinations make it the perfect place for a weekend away with friends. The deluxe property has 198 guestrooms, each offering a minimum of 38 square metres’ space, complete with a balcony or terrace offering views of the lush garden, shimmering sea or sparkling swimming pools.

Speaking of which, the huge main swimming pool has sunbeds half-immersed in the water so you can unwind in the great outdoors without breaking a sweat. The pool at Al Bandar also features a Jacuzzi and children’s pool, and has access to the Lazy River – the only one of its kind in Oman.

With close to half of the resort’s 19 food and beverage outlets based here, delectable dining is mere steps away. For a night that will linger on your mind as well as your tastebuds, head to the ocean-side terrace of inventive Italian outlet Capri Court and savour its homemade pasta dishes. Post dinner, there’s no more welcoming spot than the ever-elegant Piano Lounge, which offers a fine line in organic grape.

Whether staying at Al Waha or Al Bandar, you’re free to roam the entire resort and its myriad facilities. So whatever type of holiday experience you want to curate, the resort offers it all and more.

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Common knowledge

Whether you’re staying at Al Waha or Al Bandar, you’ll have access to a host of common facilities across the resort…

Foodie delights. In total, the resort has seven main restaurants, two all-day-dining outlets, two pool bars, two lobby lounges, three cafés and three bars. Highlights include Bait Al Bahr, which serves fresh seafood, and BAB Lounge, Muscat’s only rooftop venue. Plus, you’ll enjoy access to two additional restaurants – Shahrazad and Sultanah – located in the adjacent Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa.

Pools aplenty. There are six lifeguard-supervised swimming pools to take a dip in.

Ride the rapids. Scramble into an inflatable donut and ride the 550-metre-long Lazy River for a fun and relaxing way to travel through the resort, from Al Bandar to Al Waha.

Thrilling watersports. The 500-metre-long beach is home to the Watercooled centre, where a team of professionals can organise awesome activities such as hydro-sport jet packing, wakeboarding, waterskiing, windsurfing, clear-bottom kayaking, stand-up paddleboarding, snorkelling and so much more.

Perfect pampering. Unwind at CHI, THE Spa, which provides a full range of body treatments and facial therapies. It’s home to some of the largest and most luxurious private spa suites and villas in Oman, in a secluded, village-like setting amid the lush gardens.