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Hotel Check: THE CHEDI MUSCAT
Chedi and Omani architecture go well together. Both are marked by clean lines, an uncluttered look and gleaming white facades. This is unmistakably a match made in heaven. And heaven it was during my recent stay at The Chedi, Muscat.
Not a hair was out of place at this resort. Its balance between modern and Arabic décor was perfect; there was symmetry and geometry everywhere you turned – palm trees are in a straight line and equidistant from one another; watergarden courtyards are equilateral squares. The result is one word – equilibrium – which makes The Chedi Muscat a living spa, without you having to step onto a massage bed (although there is a real spa at this immaculate resort).
I felt the sense of well-being from the moment I arrived at the lobby, an intimate square area softened with dome-shaped walls and a huge sofabed in the middle with throw cushions and red/yellow lights hanging thinly from the ceiling.
Open the door on the other end and this intimate space opens up to a world of zen surroundings. It is hot outside, yet the blue Indian Ocean, soft grass carpets, swaying palm trees, grassy shrubs that act as natural dividers from one villa to another, watergarden courtyards and landscaped gardens make one cool sight.
The Chedi Muscat, just 15 minutes’ drive from the international airport, has an impressive private beach, two swimming pools (one for adults-only), both accessible from The Serai Wing or The Chedi Wing, and each category of room has its own magnificent view of the water ponds, the Indian Ocean or the Hajar mountain ranges.
There are four categories of room. The 55 Serai rooms are 32sqm in size located in the three-storey Serai Wing. The 52 deluxe rooms are 39sqm in size and are scattered among the one- and two-storey Chedi wing pocketed by ponds. There are eight deluxe club rooms, which are identical to the deluxe rooms but come with club lounge privileges, and 36 Chedi club suites located closest to the private beach and are either two-storey or a single storey. The single-storey club suite breaks away from the flat roof building concept with a dome-shaped ceiling. I spent several idle moments admiring this silvery dome right above my bed.
I like all sections of my suite. The living room and bedroom have tall and narrow Omani windows that allow for lots of natural light to come in, making working or reading a pleasure, (and a CD player makes these activities even more pleasurable). The bathroom is spacious, with a sunken bathtub and a large separate bath area with rain shower. The resort is generous with amenities, be they a large tray in a corner of the sofa in the living room laden with bottles filled with dates, nuts, spirits, etc, or a set of Bvlgari toiletries in the bathroom. In the late afternoon, canapes are served to the room. In the evenings, I joined other Club guests in the watergarden courtyard near the Library, where champagne, wine and canapes are served freely to Club guests.
The highlight every evening for me is dinner at The Restaurant. If you were in Muscat, and not staying at The Chedi, The Restaurant is a MUST (booking in advance is advisable, as it is packed every night). I thought it very brave of a hotel to have only one restaurant, simply named The Restaurant at that, until I saw it, dined in it and fell in love with it.
The first sight that greets me is the open dessert kitchen to my right, where a tantalising spread of pastries and cakes make me squeal in delight. On the left, a piano man plays a happy tune in the open bar. The inside section of the restaurant glows resplendently from eight crystal chandeliers blown from Venetian glass. I always thought chandeliers were old-fashioned; these ones are not out of place even in a stylish contemporary setting! Adding to the atmosphere is the busyness of four open kitchens that serve Arabic, Mediterranean, Asian and Indian cuisines. The sight of chefs preparing the dishes live and the aroma of food being cooked all add up to make every dinner a celebration. Eating in the Arabian courtyard section outside, with stars shining above and light breezes from the sea, is also a treat.
The Restaurant’s service is impeccable and friendly, thanks to hungry and eager Filipinos, Indians and Sri Lankans making a living in Oman. They are a huge asset to the resort.
This being General Hotel Management (GHM)’s first hotel outside Asia-Pacific, the resort has boosted awareness of the management company and the Chedi brand to markets in the Middle East and Europe, which augurs well for GHM properties in this region.
It has also raised the bar for the Chedi brand. – Raini Hamdi
• 151 rooms
• From US$260++
• Tel: (+968) 24 524400
• Fax: (+968) 24 493485
• Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
• Website: www.chedimuscat.com
General manager: Mr York Brandes
Location (max 10) 10
Front desk (max 10) 7
Room (max 20) 20
F&B (max 20) 20
Facilities (max 20) 20
Service (max 20) 18
Total (max 100) 95
VERDICT: A heaven-sent addition to Oman’s hotels offering
Ms. Raini Hamdi
TTG Asia, TTGmice, BTN Asia-Pacific
9 Battery Road #17-02/12
Straits Trading Building
DID: 65 63957553
TTG Asia Media is a member company of China.com Inc.. China.com Inc. is a Mobile Value Added Services (MVAS), Internet portal services and online game services company operating principally in China. It is listed on the Growth Market Enterprise (GEM) of the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong. Its majority owner, CDC Corporation, is a provider of enterprise software, business services, mobile applications and Internal media. CDC Corporation is headquartered in Hong Kong with operations in 14 countries and listed on NASDAQ under the symbol CHINA.
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