For travelers, Oman pairs perfectly with Dubai. Though geographically close, the traditions and cultures of the two countries are in stark contrast – while Dubai is in hyper-futuristic overdrive, Oman has been more moderate in its embrace of change. From the glistening glass towers of Dubai to the jagged mountain scenery and whitewashed villages in the palm groves of Oman, visitors will find a treasure trove of rich experiences.
My recent journey began in a hidden encampment on Oman’s Musandam Peninsula at the Six Senses at Zighy Bay. The first night, I fell asleep in a beachfront one-bedroom pool villa to the sound of waves lapping against the shore; in the morning, I felt refreshed enough to jump off a mountain – literally! Attached to Svetlo and his trusty paraglide, I ran off a cliff and then floated on thermal waves to the sea and resort below. The experience gave me spectacular views of Zighy Bay but this amazing resort offers plenty of diversions that guests can enjoy with their feet firmly planted on the ground or by exploring the emerald green waters off the coast.
From Zighy Bay, I headed to Oman’s capital, Muscat. Oman is truly a mix of old and new: for example, the men wear traditional white dishdashas but often accessorize them with reflective wrap-around sunglasses! Sandwiched between the Hajar Mountains and turquoise sea, the whitewashed buildings of Muscat are stunning. The Chedi and Al Bustan Palace are the perfect spots from which to explore this ancient port city. Beyond the city limits, easy day trips from Muscat bring visitors to villages set amid wadis (dry river beds) and shady palm groves that offer fascinating insight into desert living.
I concluded my journey in Dubai. Once I embraced the spectacle, I found that Dubai was a lot of fun. The Park Hyatt is set on “the Creek” and offers the perfect contrast to the vertical modernity of most of Dubai’s new construction. For those who really want to be in the thick of things, The Address Downtown Burj is a modern hotel with 68 floors offering 360-degree views of Dubai. This sleek hotel felt comfortable yet incredibly chic and was the ultimate celebration of Dubai’s fearless ambition.
I would be happy to talk more about Oman and Dubai to anyone that is interested in visiting. Feel free to contact me or check out our suggested itineraries to Oman or Dubai online!
Where to eat:
The restaurant at the Chedi Muscat offers a candlelit courtyard and a chic Arab flavor. In Dubai, Pierchic quite literally brings the sea to you from its stilted perch over the ocean.
What to do:
Paraglide – it will take your breath away but you won’t regret taking the leap! For those who prefer not to be airborne, head out on a sunset dolphin cruise in Muscat or Zighy Bay.
Visit a bedouin family living in Oman’s Wahiba Sands, a shifting sea of dune mountains.