As the highest five-star resort in the Middle East, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar, in Oman’s Hajar Mountains, feels like an escape into the clouds.
Health here comes in the form of all things outdoors. You can hike through wadis (the resort offers two guided tours, each around four hours, at varying levels of difficulty) or grab a bike and cycle through the local village. If adrenaline is your thing, there’s Via Ferrata, which basically involves scaling the side of a cliff by using a metal line, plus Oman’s highest zipline. There’s an intimate gym for stretching, tennis courts for hitting a ball, ping pong and more.
The property’s infinity pool overlooking the canyons is hard to beat in terms of a gorgeous swim. Sun loungers, exclusive to hotel guests, also make for the perfect spot to catch some of the strong mountain rays. Temperatures were noticeably cooler in the mountains. In the evening or during the occasional afternoon rain, jackets were required. As for daytime, in the depths of August temps sat around a comfortable 28 degrees celsius.
The spa here is a thing of beauty. Water features and dim lighting create a soothing ambiance in the reception, with separate men’s and women’s sections splitting off to either side. Each has its own hammam, steam room, indoor swimming pools, outdoor gardens, and curtained lounge areas. During treatments, guests get to choose everything from the oil that’s used to the music that’s played.
There are 115 high-end rooms and villas, each with Arabic touches and large windows. Book into a canyon view room to enjoy mountain sunsets from the comfort of your bed. A luxury bathtub and rain shower, Nespresso machine and fully kitted-out TV stocked with complimentary movies, all make for cozy indoor moments. At night, the blackout curtains and complete mountain silence make it easy to sleep.
With six dining venues, there are plenty of chances to eat healthy here — and loads of temptation not to. Bella Vista serves up light Italian salads and soups with epic cliff-facing sunset views, with some of the best lightly fried calamari around. The resort’s fine dining Arabian grill, Al Qalaa, has platters heaving with grilled lobster, prawn, chicken and fish, while lighter diners can go for sharing plates of hummus and tabbouleh. At breakfast, you’re offered rows of fruit, plus a healthy station with chia seeds and natural yogurts.
The resort has a kids and teens’ club, and plenty of families were spotted unwinding with their little ones at the pool. There are bicycles available to take out into the surrounding neighborhood or for cycling around the rather large resort.
The spa’s robes are the softest we’ve come across. For outdoor moments, a viewing platform on top of the resort’s “faux fort” allows complete enjoyment of the mountain’s starry skies. Plus the general landscaping of the property, with plenty of local mountain roses, olive trees, and delicate flowering plants, makes for enjoyable post-meal strolls.
The gym is small, with only two treadmills, a few machines and a stretching space. There are plans to renovate and modernize this in early 2020.
From Dubai, the property is around a five-hour drive or a one-hour flight plus two-hour drive. Either way, you will need a 4×4. The easiest way to get there is to catch a direct flight into Muscat, then have the hotel transport you up the mountain, and past the police checkpoint, safely.
Featured image/Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar
Danae Mercer is a freelance health and travel journalist. In addition to working as editor-in-chief of Women's Health Middle East and Men's Health Middle East, Danae has written for The Sunday Times, CNN Travel, Dubai Tourism, The Guardian, Afar, Bloomberg and many more. She's based in Dubai and is a trainer at Crank. instagram.com/danaemercer