Home Manama to Muscat 2012 Day 10: The call of the mountain
Day 10: The call of the mountain
Written by Sarah Clarke   
Wednesday, 11 April 2012 15:24


The team outside the Omran Headquarters in Muscat  

Summer arrived in Muscat today with temperatures reaching 38 degrees.  While the others sleep, I am seriously thinking of sneaking off into the mountains where it’ll be a good 15 degrees cooler.   Trouble is with the vivid Oman-themed branding we have on the cars I would be too easy to track to my mountain getaway.  

Another reason for my desire to head up Jebel Akhdar (meaning Green Mountain) is that we visited our sponsors Omran this morning.  Lyutha Al Habsy told us about Omran’s latest projects including one to build a hotel on top of Jebel Akhdar.   

The pictures of the hotel’s stunning location at the edge of the canyon reminded me what a beautiful, unspoiled place it is and that I would love to see it again and soon.  So I guess I will just have to plan another trip – perhaps from the highest point in Qatar where I currently live to one of the highest points in Oman!  

Lyutha also spoke about Omran’s hotel project in Khasab, Musandam which I will certainly check out when it opens in 2015 (any excuse to go back to my favourite part of Oman!).  Once again the hotel’s location is great with every villa positioned to have a water front view.   Lyutha told us how all Omran’s projects have a strong corporate responsibility element to ensure that local communities benefit from company’s developments.  It was also nice to see Sulaiman Al Maqbaki at our meeting as he met us from the ferry last night.   

Ali with Minister of Tourism Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi and Undersecretary Maitha Al Mahrouqi 

The team with Minister of Toursim (4th from right) outside the Ministry 

Our next stop was at the Ministry of Tourism where we were delighted to be greeted by Minister Ahmed Bin Nasser Bin Hamed Al Mahrizi and undersecretary Maitha Al Mahrouqi, who is featured in the foreword of the 101 Things to See and Do in Oman guide which we will launch on Saturday at the famous Al Bustan Hotel just outside Muscat.  

The Minister asked us about our trip from Manama to Muscat, timed to coincide with the yearlong celebrations of Muscat Arab Tourism Capital 2012 and what we enjoyed most.  Almost in unison we chimed “without question, the people of Oman!”  Where else in the world can complete strangers forge lasting friendships over a cup of coffee?

Dinner at La Brasserie with restaurant manager Mohmed Bakir 

This evening we went back to a restaurant that Haider found on an earlier trip to Muscat – La Brasserie – a delightful French restaurant opposite the fish market on the corniche in Muttrah.   We sat on the balcony enjoying the cooler evening temperature while admiring the view of the port.  Mohmed Bakir, Restaurant Manager, ensured that the food and service was excellent and we were delighted when owner Suliem Al Kayoumi stopped by to say hello. 

Tomorrow we will head to Al Sharqiyah Sands where we will be guest of Hamdan Al Hajry at the Oryx camp deep in the heart of the desert.  I for one will be counting the stars would you like to join me?