I've been off the grid the past couple of weeks traveling to Muscat in Oman for a dear friend's birthday celebration. There were six birthday destinations in all and I decided on Muscat because that's where the actual birthday was and having never been to that part of the world I was dying to check it out.
Although Muscat, Oman’s capital is a mere one-hour plane ride from Dubai, on the way there from JFK I had the joy of a 10-hour layover in Dubai. Luckily I traveled in business and found the Emirates lounge positively relaxing, though a tad too long.
We stayed at the exquisite Chedi Hotel in 5-star luxury. The hotel's architecture combines classic Moorish details such as dark wood paneling, intricate latticework and ornate hand-crafted decorative tiles in a contemporary setting of white-washed plaster walls and cathedral high ceilings, with added sparkle from custom Swarovski crystal chandeliers.
What I found most captivating however was the subtly intoxicating fragrance that wafted through the corridors and lobbies. Also discovered the best hot stone massage I've ever had in the spa.
So, what to pack for a desert vacation? With temps reaching 120 degrees during the day and dipping to a mere 85 at night, linen, cotton and loose fitting is definitely the way to go. It goes without saying that modest dressing is recommended, making chic kaftans perfect for day and evening.
With such a forgiving dress code, I managed to take one outfit from day to dinner. It actually wasn't intentional - I just didn't have time to change!
We spent an unforgettable evening in the desert at Desert Nights Camp in cozy adobe-like tented roof 1 bedroom apartments dotted around the property. Before dinner guides shuttled everyone into Landcruisers and took us on a somewhat perilous expedition through the sand dunes to view the sunset. It was quite an astonishing sight of steep hills and deep valleys of sand as far as the eye could see with not a bird or plant on the landscape. Then as the sun went down the wind sped up and suddenly we found ourselves in the swirl of a mini sandstorm and barely able to see ahead.
For a little shopping therapy we visited a souk in the old port where everything was grouped in separate areas: one section for spices, olives, nuts and dried fruit, one for pottery and fabric, one for livestock, etc.
Last, but not least we discovered Wadi Tiwi natural water-hole. An unexpected oasis located amongst the rocky crevices and the perfect spot for a swim and lunch.
Oman was well worth it, even with the lengthy layovers💚