Just when you thought it was safe to go back to work, another mini-break is on the horizon with Eid Al Adha looming large in the calendar, writes Scott Armstrong.
Question is how long will you get off? And after summer travels do you really want to climb back on board a plane for a few days – especially with reports of airlines (obviously) hiking prices around the expected time of departure?
So if you are in need of a change of scenery why not head across the border into beautiful Oman, with its gorgeous cove beaches, its stunning mountain ranges and its oh so hospitable people.
An easy five-hour drive, or a flight of around an hour, will put an number of destinations inside the Sultanate at your reach.
Here Benchmark Middle East counts down some of our favourite five-star hotels in Oman:
Seemingly hidden from the world by the Al Hajar mountains and yet just 15 minutes from the bustling capital city of Muscat, this resort is three hotels in one, all centred around one of Oman’s stunning cove beaches.
Each hotel is inspired by Oman’s rich heritage. Al Husn – ‘the castle’ is an adults paraside, Al Bandar – ‘the town’ – forms the vibrant heart of the picturesque bay and Al Waha – ‘the Oasis’ – is where families come together to laugh, smile and play.
Linked by landscaped gardens and temperature-controlled turquoise pools shaded by date palm trees, it is home host of restaurants from casual to fine dining, all gazing out at the ocean.
This stunning property is run by Ritz-Carlton so you know what level of service to expect, though with its new general manager Katrin Herz coming up through the ranks from the DIFC property in Dubai Benchmark assumes it’s just getting better and better.
This grand hotel features a jaw-dropping lobby (complete with harp player) a stunning pool complex and a gorgeous sandy beach again with views of the majestic Al Hajar mountains.
Visit www.ritzcarlton.com/en/Properties/AlBustan/Default.htm for more details.
The 103-metre Long Pool is possibly the jewel in this boutique-feel five-star property’s crown nestled amid sand dunes on Muscat’s coastline.
A serene setting with some culinary treasures hidden away, such as the aptly-named The Restaurant, home to one of Oman’s finest brunches and famed for its delicious macaroons (honestly they are something special).
It also features the largest spa in Muscat, Balinese therapies, Indian Ayurveda and indigenous ritual delivered in 13 meditative suites that combine dramatic Omani architecture with calming Asian interiors.
The first five-star hotel that is 2,000 metres up on the Green Mountain, the view is utterly stunning from its infinity pool that looks out across the Al Hajar mountains.
The scene could be something out of Lord of the Rings and alone is worth the climb via 4×4 (the only way to get to the hotel).
Built to resemble an Omani fort it is sturdy and imposing on the outside but warm and luxurious on the inside, with a grand fireplace welcoming guests into the lobby.
Rooms all come with breathtaking views and awe-inspiring silence – the ideal getaway from the stresses of city life.
Visit www.alilahotels.com/jabalakhdar for more details.
Perhaps the closest to the UAE for anyone setting off by car the Six Senses Zighy Bay is located on the northern Musandam Peninsula in the Sultanate of Oman.
The setting of these beautiful indigenous village-style accommodations and private marina is spectacular, with the dramatic mountains on one side and the sandy beach of Zighy Bay on the other.
This is more like arriving at your own private Omani villa than checking into a hotel and feels a million miles away from anywhere, which is a big part of its charm.
Visit www.sixsenses.com/resorts/zighy-bay for more details.