London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
We started our Omani wonderful roadtrip with Shangri La Barr Al Jissah, blessed with some of the best beaches in Muscat, a glorious setting with bare mountains in the background and a great starting point for dolphin watching Oman and snorkeling with sea turtles.
There are 3 Shangri La hotels catering graciously for various circumstances: Al Waha – at one end, casual and best for families (kids club is in there along with a glorious playground by the sea, many tobogganing pool slides and even a football pitch); Al Bandar – in the middle, combining families and business and many glorious restaurants; and Al Husn – the other end, upscale and adults only, perfect for grown up escapes and honeymoons.
The beach between the Shangri La hotels is large, beautiful and with soft sand – perfect for strolls along the coast, swimming and snorkelling with colourful fish.
The waters are blue and calm and one gets to appreciate the beauty of Omani coast properly from the sea – kayaking, paddle boarding or sailing.
I investigated with the 5 years old the nearby coves on our 2nd day. We also had glimpses of Al Hussn elegant beach beds and cabanas, as well as villas – wished we had an extra day to leave the kids at the Club and indulge into a peaceful half day pampering us with no kids shouting of excitement or various!
The 3rd day we were in for a proper treat with Al Quantab divers: dolphin watching Oman and snorkeling with sea turtles rarely gets better than this!
The yacht was sleek and comfortable: my boys love to snooze / go into a certain type of trance with the sea motions – which we as parents love and laugh about (afterall they are hyper active most of the time so this is a nice break!) , waking up in excitement to see the dolphins (especially the 5 years old!) and loving to swim with me (especially the 2 years old!).
We even attempted a first time snorkeling in 4, which was not too bad logistically considering our 2 years old shouty little dictator – even awarded by the biggest ever turtle I have seen swimming graciously next to me!
Some of our fellow snorkelers reported seeing up to 4 – wow, what a treat! The green turtles that I have seen on this trip including at Ras Al Jinz have been my highlight if years of diving worldwide – Oman has been that kind of experience when snorkeling is as good as diving!
The setting of Bandar Al Khiran bay is stunning: bare mountains and crystal turquoise waters, filled with dolphins, huge green turtles and colourful fish – pure magic!
We stayed at Al Bandar in a large beautiful room with views over green gardens and Arabian Sea, indulging into daily rides on the lazy river, the array of cool swimming pools and the beautiful beach.
Dining at Shangri La was a lovely affair – spoilt for choices between restaurants. We opted twice for tapas at the Sablah and once for the buffet at Al Tanoor.
The kids loved the caual outdoors dinners watching the moon ad the stars and theafter heading back for the beach for more fun by the campfire – cool bands and socialising!
3 days at Shangri La Al Bandar were glorious but barely enough to exhaust all parties wishlists. One needs longer when hotels come with such extensive range of facilities catering all ages, souls and circumstances!
Disclosure: Many thanks to Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah for the media rates. All overexcited kids and opinions in here entirely ours.