The Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara is the perfect place to escape the desert heat
WHEN THE temperature in the Sultanate of Oman heads up past the 40-degrees Celsius mark, wise residents and tourists make a beeline for the Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, a new five-star hotel that offers a stunning panorama of the Arabian Sea, premium services and fun beach activities.
Opened last November, this is the first luxury resort in the seaside town of Salalah and is a joint venture between Musstir and Omran, two leading developers in hospitality, property, tourism attractions and urban communities.
The new resort stands between a scenic beach and freshwater lagoon, bordering the historic Al Baleed Unesco archaeological site, just 15 kilometres away from Salalah International Airport.
The simple-yet-elegant design takes its inspiration from the traditional villages of Dhofar and the region’s iconic coastal fortresses. The stunning entrance arches boast beautiful Islamic architectural components that complement the natural landscape and the palm trees, imitating the curve of their graceful branches.
The whitewashed facades and clean lines stand out against the cerulean sky and shimmering Arabic lanterns while the long walkways are framed by 750 coconut palms and the ancient al fajal irrigation system running towards important focal points, the ocean and the lagoon.
The main building is home to the lobby adorned with clear floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the infinity pool and the private beach, both well furnished with white-and-indigo sun loungers. In the morning, guests are often greeted by a pod of dolphins swimming near the beach.
Young guests can spend their time at the Children’s and Teen’s clubs, both kitted out with educational toys and fun games including a ping pong table, foosball, pool table and elastic balls. For the grown-ups, there’s a well-equipped fitness centre, tennis and volleyball courts, a library and business lounge as well as Anantara Spa offering Ayurvedic treatments, a hammam and a hair and nail salon.
The resort accommodates 30 premier rooms, 10 deluxe rooms, eight villas and 88 one-, two-and tree-bedroom pool villas overlooking the ocean, lagoon or lush gardens. The floor area ranges from 53 to 630 square metres and the villas are well spaced to allow privacy and comfort.
Family groups will feel right at home in the spacious 630 sqm three-bedroom Royal Beach villa with its walk-in closet and bathroom with rain shower and bathtub. Children can enjoy a private 40-square-metre pool and outdoor rain shower while mum and dad can relax with all their needs taken care of by a personal butler.
I spend two nights in a 175 sqm one-bedroom Garden View Pool Villa. Cosy and relaxing, it boasts an airy living room furnished with an interactive LED TV and media hub, an Arabian-style long sofa and stools. There’s also a working corner with Internet connectivity, complimentary Wi-Fi and a pantry area with a coffee machine and a selection of teas, as well as a full glassware collection.
The spacious bedroom has a comfy king-size bed, a 49 inch LED TV, a smart Bluetooth speaker, a compact living space and a walk-in dressing room packed with laundry set, safety box and slippers.
The en-suite bathroom has a separate toilet, a washbasin counter, a bathtub and a shower. There’s direct access to the 20 sqm swimming pool with a private temperature control and the balcony adorned with sun loungers as well as a dining table for two, which is where I spent most of my time.
The resort presents three main dining choices ranging from Arab, to European and Asian. The popular Mekong restaurant presents a scrumptious combination of Thai, Vietnam and China cuisine, serving a wide range of favourite delicacies like traditional Vietnamese Noodle Soup, spicy Som Tum and crispy Spring Rolls.
Sakalan, which translates as ‘The Land of Frankincense’ is an all-day dining restaurant, with open kitchens and deli counters serving an array of cuisines from near and far. Breakfast has freshly baked bread, croissants and home-made jams alongside pita, creamy hummus and shakshuka. For lunch and dinner, guests can enjoy fresh sushi and authentic Arabic to fiery Indian and contemporary Western cuisine, all set by the infinity pool.
The beachside dining restaurant Al Mina captures the Mediterranean’s zesty flavours. Its chefs serve Lebanese, Italian, Greek, Turkish and Spanish classics using the finest seasonal ingredients and fresh seafood caught daily.
The resort also offers several workshops and outdoor activities, including cooking and mixology cocktail classes, biking, scuba diving course, sunset dhow cruise, dolphin watching, tuna fishing trip, kayaking, Salalah city tour and Jebel safari tour.
AT A GLANCE
High point: The guestrooms are comfortable and homey. There are many types and views from which to choose.
Low point: None
Pay for it: See website for the best rates
Find it: PO Box 306, Al Mansurah Street, Al Baleed Salalah, Sultanate of Oman
Call it: (+968 2) 322 8222
Browse it: http://Salalah.Anantara.com/.