London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies

Retreat Al Hajar mountains, Alila Oman and Via Ferrata

We knew about superb Omani coastline before we went, but the dramatic Al Hajar mountains by Alila Oman and stunning ridges were a jaw dropping surprise. And the views lured us so much that I found myself Via Ferrata climbing, an adrenalin fuelled mad 2 hours, parallel to the steep slopes and with the steel cable as an only semblance of some safety.

Alila Jabal Akhdar - benefits of sustainable tourism

Alila Jabal Akhdar : EarthCheck operating standards, integrating the natural, physical and cultural elements of their environments.

And what better place to capture a joyous surprise ? Meaning surprise in Sanskrit, Alila lives fully to its name and brand at Jabar Akhdal – an epitome of sustainable luxury and perfect integration into a stunning rocky mountains scenery.

Retreat Al Hajar mountains Oman and Via Ferrata climbing

Alila Jabal Akhdar – retreat Al Hajar mountains Oman

The climbing is also a truly unique Alila experience and none of the climbing as I ever knew it; no trekking pathway but sheer drops and the route of a metal wire, securing and clipping the harness every other minute around the fixings.

I have been spoilt by cool Salim, my dedicated guide for the occasion. And ‘trust the cord’ above that deep gorge and ‘just lean back’ against those edges was anything but what my mind or body wanted.The initial joyous banter became a collection of ‘sh#t’, ‘cr#p’ , ‘are you f###ing serious’ – none appropriate for the lovely audience of this blog!

But if there was one man who could get me over the line, Salim was the one. Strategies about gripping and stepping, hugging and becoming one with the mountain, clipping and unclipping were occasionally debated on Via Ferrata Oman – but this has been ultimately mind over canyon. Omani bagpipes in the valley and mad shaking of the rope were the icing on the slopes / Salim’s funniest touches !

My other half gracefully declined Via Ferrata climbing; supervising a toddler napping was the perfectly sensible option from the beautiful wooden deck of our suite terrace! I envied him badly early trek but thereafter gave in the shaking, vertigo and feeling alive. This has been a life time exhilarating madness!

Retreat Al Hajar mountains Oman and Via Ferrata climbing

Al Hajar mountains are Oman’s geological backbone, stunning and extending all the way along the east coast of the country, from Sur to the Musandam Peninsula. Jebel al Akhdar is known for fruit orchards laid out in terraces: wallnuts, pomegranates, juniper trees, Damascus roses.

Nearby there is the heart of the old Omani Imamate, including the unesco patrimony Nizwa and fortresses, but they had to wait for the next Omani trip!

My amazing Omani climbing guru took us also on an exploratory little trip, going around the butterfly path looking for fossils, looking for out of this world scented Damascus roses and Juniper trees. The latter are no longer in abundance (how they used to be) but still around and a theme gracefully integrated at Alila, from the superb Juniper restaurant, to the juniper tree motifs hand painted and adorning the suites.

Alila Oman spa

Alila Oman spa

Alila’s villas and suites are so well fused into the vegetation and the rocky landscapes: low rise, carved in local stone and graciously spread on the edges of the canyons. There’s a superb infinity pool: rough hewn, dark and curved, with cabanas and beds spread around. Behind a wall of floor-to-ceiling glass, there’s also a small indoor heated plunge pool, framed by stone columns and inviting loungers.

Alila treated us with a wonderful suite with dark carved-wood furniture and in rich chocolate colours.

Retreat Al Hajar mountains Oman: Alila Jabal Akhdar suite

A stunning stone terrace with wooden deck was perfect for the most scenic sunsets and stargazing in privacy. The bathrooms are huge and light filled; such a blessing to observe from the ovoid marble bath the wilderness and the sun going down. Even a 2 years old got the magic of it!


And whilst the adults loved the set up, our kids loved the Play KidsClub. Archery classes, cooking and lots of socialising kept them perfectly entertained, with our 5 years old reluctant to leave even for swimming or dinner time, Alila Oman with kids is blissful!

We loved Alila’s tea served each day 4pm for the guests, some exciting culinary marriages, served by the Rose lounge.

Alila Jabal Akhdar 4pm tea

Alila Jabal Akhdar 4pm tea

In the evening one can hang out around the fireplace inside, stargazing on the heated deck or in the privacy of its own suite and indulge into gastronomic delights at the Juniper restaurant.

As one feasts with the eyes and soul with Al Hajar mountains, your taste buds will be spoilt at Juniper with rich flavours, seasonal local produce crafted to gastronomic perfection.

The Arabic influences are there but the menu stretches from the trade routes of the Middle East to Mediterranean and wider internationally. 2 days of surprises but Juniper restaurant being voted as the best in Oman did not come as a surprise at all!

The wine collection is superb, we indulged into Lebanese awarded ones to Argentineans. The deserts out of this world as well, and presentation exquisite. Last but not least in the slightest, the other irresistable factor of Alila Jabal Akhdar was the lack of plastic – we have not seen a single one, from amazing toiletries in the room, to glass water bottles, to paper staws in cocktails and so on! And commitment to sustainable and eco friendly means the world to us and a better world for our kids!

Al Hajar mountains Oman: Jabal Akhdar

Al Hajar mountains Oman: Jabal Akhdar

Oh Al Hajar mountains and Alila Oman, how I’d love to be back ! For more Omani inspiration and our 10 days adventure and luxury, head to my itinerary article in here;  for Muscat and Shangri La head here ; for Ras Al Jinz turtle reserve here and Muscat Kempinski and favourite daytrips head here.

Alila Jabal Akhdar Via Ferrata with the best Oman local guide

Alila Jabal Akhdar Via Ferrata

Disclosure: Thanks so much to Alila’s wonderful hospitality and media rates. Overexcited impressions, longing to be back and cheeky kids, as usual all mine.



19 comments on “Retreat Al Hajar mountains, Alila Oman and Via Ferrata

  1. Pingback: Luxury and adventure holidays Oman with kids: 10 days itinerary - zenbabytravel

  2. This trip sounds heavenly! The perfect balance of adrenaline fuelled adventure in the mountains (I was scared even looking at your pictures!!) and relaxation at the amazing looking Alila’s villas and suites.
    Thanks for linking up to #MondayEscapes

  3. Sarah (CosmopoliClan)
    November 15, 2018

    We’re planning a family trip to Oman next year so I was thrilled to find your #FarawayFiles contribution. The Al Hajar mountains look dazzling! If only I’d be brave enough to go on a climbing adventure of this calibre. Wow! The Alila hotel seems like a wonderful base to explore the region. I love how the style reflects the surroundings, especially around the indoor pool area.

  4. Hilary
    November 16, 2018

    You had some really amazing experiences, but that climb… WOW! I was looking at the photo and it seems like your foot is just an inch from the edge… You’re incredibly brave! #farawayfiles

  5. Margie DQ
    November 16, 2018

    Such beautiful pictures. That looks like a beautiful retreat and the Al Hajar mountains are quite impressive (so was that climb). #culturedkids

  6. Diary of a Londoness
    November 16, 2018

    What a country of contracts and what a trip! And gosh, that climb gave some some serious vertigo. #CULTUREDKIDS

  7. Nancy | MapandFamily
    November 16, 2018

    Ok so just seeing the photos of the Via Ferrata is quite enough adrenalin for me. But Alila looks like a fab place to recover afterwards – or perhaps just relax instead! #culturedkids

    • Zen Babytravel
      November 16, 2018

      Haha Nancy! I promise all that madness and climb was well worth it!

  8. museummum
    November 18, 2018

    I’m seriously in awe of that climb! And the hotel looks like it was the perfect place to rest afterwards. I hadn’t considered visiting Oman before but your posts are definitely helping to change to my mind #CulturedKids

  9. Pingback: Shangri la Barr Al Jissah: best beaches in Muscat and dolphin watching Oman - zenbabytravel

  10. Just stunning, so much to see, do and eat! Thank you for sharing on #culturedkids

  11. Pingback: Best of hotels near Muscat airport : the luxurious Kempinski - zenbabytravel

  12. Pingback: Abu Dhabi family holidays -little luxuries of life - Zenbabytravel

  13. Pingback: Green turtles Oman and Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve - Zenbabytravel

  14. Pingback: Winter sun Dubai with baby: 16 weeks old enjoying UAE - Zenbabytravel

  15. Pingback: Benefits of Sustainable Tourism on environment & beyond - Zenbabytravel

  16. Pingback: Green turtles Oman: camping at Ras al Jinz Turtle Reserve - Zenbabytravel

  17. Pingback: Desert camp Oman Wahiba Sands : Arabian Oryx Camp - Zenbabytravel

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


This entry was posted on November 10, 2018 by in Countryside, Oman, travel.

Follow me on Youtube