Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Holiday in Oman - Day 1

We set the alarm for 5.15am as we're checking-out today and flying to Oman. Neither of us slept very-well AGAIN, so consequently, when the alarm did go off, we felt less than 100%!! Obviously, my theory that it was the air-conditioning keepi8ng us awake proved to be false!
 
The check-out process was pretty smooth and we were soon in the taxi heading for the Airport. Strangely, it took about half the time and was just slightly more than half the cost when we arrived.

We should have taken-off at 8.25, but it was more like 9am when the Captain made the announcement. The plane was mostly full of business-types and our casual clothes made us stand out in the crowd! The flight was only 40 minutes, and there was just time to watch most of episode 1 of 'Ashes to Ashes' on the in-flight entertainment system.

We landed at Oman International Airport - it was quite small compared to T3 at Dubai. We hopped on a coach and a few minutes later we were queuing for a visa..with our Visa! For reasons unknown, they decided that we didn't need to pay anything - which was mighty strange. Even the person queuing behind us (who had to pay) asked us why we didn't!

We sailed through Immigration and paused for a cheesy Danish (interesting!) and a coffee in the airport. We then grabbed a Taxi. Interestingly you pay at a separate kiosk at the airport rather than pay the driver direct. It was a long trip but it only cost about 13 ROs..about 26 quid. As we journeyed across the country, it was easy to imagine that this is what Dubai might look like if it hadn't had so much money thrown at it. Dusty roads, no sky-scrapers, many business buildings in need of refurbishment -all  just a bit tired and under-invested in places.

Ironically we passed more petrol-stations on the way to our hotel than in the whole time we were in Dubai - how odd is that?

The Al Waha Resort Some 55 minutes, at just before noon, we arrived at the Al Waha hotel, part of the Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa complex owned by the Shangri-La group. Wow! What a place!

The view from Room 3362Initially, they put us in a  ground-floor room, and although it was nicely decorated and laid-out, we felt a bit exposed being on floor-level and so close to the pool. We chatted with Reception and we upgraded to a room with a sea-view - marvellous - see the photo above.

1.00pm. We decided to head for the pool and do a bit of sunbathing. It's much hotter than Dubai, so we only lasted an hour and two beers in the sun!

2.45pm. Time for a snooze!

5.00pm.We decided to look round the Complex. It's pretty big - 124 acres, 450 metres of private beach, 3 hotels, 680 rooms, 6 main restaurants, 7 casual eating areas, 3 lounges, 2 bars, 11 meeting rooms, 4 tennis courts, heritage village, spa, fitness centre and a night-club - phew! Oh, and a 500 metre 'lazy river' (jump in an inflatable ring and let the artificial waterway whizz you round the whole area).

6.00pm. We got back from our journey of discovery. Time to decide where we'll eat tonight. In the end, we decided to try the fish restaurant, 'Bait Al Bahr' and booked a table for 7.15pm.

The food was superb! Ann started with the white tomato soup followed by fish. I had roasted tomato soup followed by the beef. We were both too stuffed to even contemplate a dessert - or even tea/coffee! The service was truly excellent.

We then took a short stroll from the Restaurant and settled down in one of the many decorated gazebos. It was good to sit with the sound of the sea behind us and generally chill-out. The temperature was just-right - in fact, it was breeze-free and you wouldn't have felt you were outside at all - perfect!!! We finished the evening with a cocktail each - Boy were they strong!

We staggered back to the room about 9.15pm. It's been a good day, the people here are SO friendly and we're looking forward to finding out more about the area in the next few days.