Contributor/ Amy Guttman
Best Known For
The Chedi is all about chilling, with a capital C. Run by GHM, this small hotel group caters to an exclusive crowd who like their hotels quiet, luxurious and understated. GHM recently opened a Chedi property in Andermatt, which should tell you something about their demographic. Whisper the words, “Chedi Muscat” and you’ll likely hear exclamations of devotion. I took an informal poll of Brits, Americans and the French – it’s a universal reaction. The Chedi is considered one of the best hotels in Oman, and the 103-metre pool is legendary.
The Good Stuff
As a long-distance swimmer, nothing beats the long pool. Nothing. Individual sunbathing nooks with full-sized beds and pillows, along with regular rounds of fresh juices and water fused with citrus, make a good thing even better. Club suites are stocked with unlimited complementary whiskey and gin, and access to the lounge. The breakfast buffet is memorable for its variety and perfectly done mini rosti, owing to the hotel’s Swiss heritage. A tray of sweet sticky buns left such an impression, I still can’t get it out of my head.
This is NOT the place to wear your faded, 5-year old beach cover up from White Stuff, as I did. While the vibe is totally relaxed, it’s stylish. The Chedi isn’t a child-friendly resort, so there aren’t too many kids in tow, though there are families and couples. The atmosphere is very, very quiet, tranquil, in fact, but if you’re looking for a vibe, you’ll want to leave the compound. It’s very much an early to bed, late to rise kind of place. The emphasis is on doing little, gently.
Inside the hotel – 8/10
Interiors are cool, calming, Arabesque minimalist with natural tones of sand, and stone which fit perfectly in this milieu. There are three swimming pools, two are smaller and more social, while the third, I keep swooning over, is set further away from the main areas, next to the gym and spa. I love a good gym, but this one is set in a sort of library, which makes one fret about sweating on anything. Gyms, as high end as they come, ultimately need to feel like a gym. This one didn’t. Never one to linger in a hotel gift shop, the Chedi’s is worth serious browsing time. Prices are, unsurprisingly, high, but there are beautiful one-off objects and locally designed clothing. If I could have, I would have.
Outside the hotel – 7/10
Like all beach hotels in Muscat, the Chedi is about a 15-minute drive from town. Taxi’s are expensive, but it’s worth it for a visit to the Muttrah Souq, probably the only one in the Middle East which is actually being expanded, rather than torn down to make way for yet another shopping mall. There’s also world-class music programmes at the Royal Opera House. The majestic, palatial structure opened just three years ago and the likes of Placido Domingo, the Viennese Philharmonic, and various pan-Arab stars have taken the stage. The architecture alone is stunning and there are weekly tours of the building.
Image courtesy of GHH Hotels