Review: Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Muscat

As my 4-year stint in Dubai was coming to an end, I decided to head over to Muscat for one last weekend before I leave the Gulf. Oman is easily my favorite Gulf country and one of my favorite countries in the world. It has so much to offer but is lowkey at the same time which is how I like my destinations to be. The newly-renovated and reopened 250-room Ritz Carlton in Muscat was a natural choice to stay at with its secluded location between a dramatic mountain backdrop and the turquoise waters of the sea. In fact, I do not think any other hotel in the Gulf has such a unique location.

As soon as you walk in the hotel, you are greeted with a lavish lobby adorned with a huge 38-meter-high chandelier and a large seating area — an entrance that befits royalty. And that is not an exaggeration. Al Bustan Palace, as the hotel is known, was formerly built by the Sultan of Oman in 1985 on the occasion of the first Gulf Summit to take place in the Sultanate. After the palace was converted to a hotel, its last floor remains sealed off for guests and is one of the private residences of the Sultan.

Check in was quick and friendly – the cold towel and lemonade are appreciated after any flight even as short as the one we took from Dubai. The room was spacious, with extremely comfy beds, great Wi-Fi and water pressure, but the noteworthy surprise was when we headed out to the private balcony to be welcomed by a magnificent view of both a sea of palm trees and of water, and a swimming pool right at our front step. Check out the 180-degree view in my post below to see what I mean!

The hotel also features a long stretch of a private beach and four swimming pools, including one for kids, in addition to all sorts of activities to keep you busy from sailing, kayaking, snorkeling, four tennis courts, a fitness center and yoga studio. The hotel is also home to the internationally-known Six Senses spa with 17 spacious treatment rooms and a ladies-only member area including a private beach.

Like all Omanis, the staff are super friendly and eager to help so do ask them for recommendations on where to go and what to see in Muscat especially if this is your first time in the city.

In addition to the great location, tropical vibes, and superb service, the hotel has really outdone itself when it comes to food – Oh. My. God. The Food! On our first night at the hotel, we dropped off our bags and headed out to one of the 5 dining venues where they had an open seafood buffet, which featured literally everything that could come out of the sea. Do not miss those succulent, perfectly spiced Omani lobsters!

For breakfast, the hotel had the perfect set up with a fresh juice station which had one of my favorites – pure, fresh ginger juice, which I have never seen in any other hotel. Mix it up with some orange juice and you’re good to go for the rest of the day. The buffet is spread out across the restaurant so that guests do not pile up on one station. And pace yourself while eating because you do not want to miss the dessert station! Although I avoid hotel buffets like the plague, this was one buffet I was looking forward to during the day.

If you want to more about the hotel, you can email me at hello@georgerishan.com or you can visit the hotel’s website and Facebook page.

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