The Shangri-La, Oman photo that started it all....I saw this and thought "yes!"

The Shangri-La, Oman photo that started it all….I saw this and thought “yes!”

I was tired – exhausted really, and needed to recharge. A 4-day, sun and beach get-away was in order. Dubai is a short flight away, but I just wasn’t excited about going there. Didn’t want the ‘scene’, wanted this to be serene. And then I remembered a friend suggesting Oman as a place to meet and visit. That trip didn’t happen, but after googling ‘Oman beach resorts’, I knew where I was headed – The Shangri-La Oman.


Full Moon over the Gulf of Oman and the Shangri-La beach.

The first thing that struck me upon arrival was how “quiet” it was – no honking horns and cars/drivers stick to their lanes (a stark contrast to where I currently work and reside). Aaahhhh, I could feel myself relax already. The short drive to the Shangri-La revealed a city (Muscat) that is clean, with white/off-white houses and beautifully simple architecture surrounded by desert mountains. Blue sky, 30-degree weather, beautiful surroundings…and I hadn’t even arrived at the hotel and beach yet. I knew I was in for a treat.


Entry from the front desk to the rooms.


Now this is the kind of welcome I like! Fresh fruit and Prosecco…


View from my balcony.

The Shangri-La didn’t disappoint. Everything about the arrival experience was great. Beautiful setting, beautiful architecture, and friendly people.



Sunrise. Beautiful.


I loved the beach, the pool, the sunshine, the quiet….but what really got me … was breakfast. Not the pancakes, crèpes, eggs, pain au chocolat, cereals, myriad of other hot food…no…it was the fresh fruit station – papaya, pineapple, strawberries, and other fruit I’d never seen before. The big bowl of blueberries very nearly sent me into tears and I had to exert extreme self-control not to grab it and run. You see, I normally have berries daily, but at the moment they are a luxury I don’t see often, particularly blueberries (yes, I know, this is a ‘first world problem’ as I have more food than I could possibly eat in a day available to me).


Yummy! And the fresh mango juice was pretty tasty too.


The view from breakfast – I could get used to this.


Nizwa. I love the architecture

I came here to relax in the sun, but I also wanted to get off the Shangri-La campus (hard as that was…it is seriously beautiful) and experience a little of what Oman has to offer. I’d heard only wonderful things – about the people, the countryside, and the variety of activities available. After some help from Guest Services, I was booked on a tour to Nizwa and the Omani “grande canyon”. I was joined on the tour by an English mother and daughter – who were lovely and hysterical. This resulted in a fabulous, beautiful and hysterical day. Luckily our tour guide Emad was up for it.


Selling cows in the parking lot.


The dates are soooooo good!


The old Souq. Beautiful.


Entry into the old souq.


Fish market all right…


Goat anyone? It was closed that day…so no pet goat for me.


Nizwa Fort


View from the top of the Fort.


I wanted to take these home.

Seriously loved these boys. I cannot begin to imagine what their lives are like – but by the looks of the “National Geographicly” gorgeous face of who I assume to be their father… Beautiful eyes and smiles on all of them.


From Nizwa we drove up into the mountains to the top of their grand canyon. Our guide made sure we knew that there was a 10-degree shift in temperature – from 30 degrees to 20. I had been advised to bring a sweater as it can get cold in the mountains, and it might only be 15 degrees! To this I responded “I’m Canadian, that will be refreshing”. My smart-ass response was met with “bring a sweater”. Okay. Done. Brought one. Didn’t need it.


Oman’s Grand Canyon. My photo does not do it justice…


That’s our guide Emad. The goats were uber friendly, particularly given we had cashews for them. I just wanted them to know that they should stay clear of the Goat Market…

I also managed a little time in Muscat, although not enough. A quick tour with a new friend solidified my resolve to return – as soon as I can.


Part of the Sultan’s Palace on the right, and if memory serves, a jail on top of the cliff.


Seriously love the simplicity of the architecture. So beautiful.


The Sultan’s Palace.


The very colourful part of the Sultan’s Palace.

Oh Oman….this was just a little teaser. It provided everything I wanted, as I returned to work a new, refreshed and energized woman. I got a very little taste of a country that has so much to offer, welcoming people, beautiful scenery, wonderful food, so much to do…I barely scratched the surface. A trip back to experience sunrise over the desert, the lushness of the south in summer (when monsoon season hits India, southern Oman gets green and lush) canyons, mountains, waterfalls…and whatever other surprises you hold, is definitely in order.

Little side note: shout out to FlyDubai – flights were on time, new airplanes, good service, and you have to love an airline that has an animated safety video featuring a woman who looks like this…


And one final note. Thanks so much to my friends at RASK Travel who arranged everything for me. You guys are the best!