Simple And Charming: A Review of the Sheraton Oman Hotel (Muscat)

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• Review: Sheraton Oman Hotel (Muscat)

After arriving nearly an hour late from Doha, and having a few frightening moments at immigration, my next stop was the rental car company. My time in Muscat was limited so I rented a car to make the most of my time.

However, before proceeding to my pre-arranged car reservation, I inquired about the different options to arrive at my hotel.

Even at midnight, the Muscat International Airport is fairly busy. My first option was taking a taxi or the local bus to the Sheraton. I was able to negotiate the taxi fare from from 10 OMR (~$25USD) down to 5 OMR (~$12USD). If you don’t like haggling for a price, the local bus only costs 1 OMR ($2.50USD) per person. The public buses were small but they would get you to your destination safely.

Additionally, the bus driver and bus station attendant were extremely friendly in answering my questions and giving me a great first impression of Oman.

Note: According to the bus driver, Bus #1 will deliver you from the airport to Ruwi bus station in about 45 minutes. And from there, it’s a 3-5 minute walk to the Sheraton Oman. I drove past the bus station en route to the hotel and he was correct.

By the time I made my way from the the bus depot (located on the ground level) to the car rental desk, picked up my car in the neighboring parking garage, and drove 45 minutes to the Sheraton Oman Hotel, it was 1:15AM.

With three nights planned in the capital, Muscat, I decided to stay at the Sheraton the first night and another Marriott hotel the other two nights (review coming soon). Unfortunately, I would only be staying a few hours as I had a scuba diving excursion planned for 8AM near the airport.

For my one-night stay at this Category 4 property, I paid 32 OMR ($83USD) total.

Once I arrived, I entered The Sheratons grandiose, airy, and impressive lobby area. It featured several lounge chairs and fresh flowers throughout.

The front desk was located to your right as you enter the lobby and the courtyard, which I will talk about soon, is just off the lobby.

It was well past 1AM by the time I arrived so I was able to check in very quickly as the lobby was empty.

I was acknowledged as a Platinum Elite member and the associate confirmed that I would only be staying for one night. I was also handed a sheet of paper explaining that breakfast and evening hors d’oeuvres for elite members took place in the Sheraton Club lounge.

I was promptly given my key and headed to Room 904.

Upon exiting the elevator and turning to the right, my room was directly in front of me. Normally, I would’ve returned to the front desk and requested another room because I do not like connected rooms.

However, once I entered the room, I noticed that there was no door connecting the rooms.

Directly to the left, was a standard closet and to the right was the bathroom.

The closest featured an iron, a safe, an ironing board and several hangars.

The room was fresh and comfortable as I would expect from any reasonable Middle East hotel.

On the far end of the room was a comfortable couch, and a small table.

A small dish of Middle Eastern desserts and bowl of fruit that included a banana, orange, pear, and 2 apples were left for me as a welcome amenity.

Given that it was ~1:30AM, housekeeping had already completed turndown service for the night thus you will notice that slippers and a bottle of water had already been placed next to the bed…

…and a piece of chocolate and breakfast menu had been placed on my bed.

The bedroom was also fitted with an additional chair, a work desk, a luggage rack, a television…

…a dedicated space for coffee and tea, including a Nespresso machine…

The king-sized bed was exceedingly comfortable (it’s one of their famous Sheraton Sweet Sleepers).

Above the headboard of the bed was a traditional Omani necklace, which I thought was a beautiful way to incorporate the culture and decorate the hotel room with a local touch.

Similar to the rest of the room, the bathroom was a good size. I was very impressed on the small and simple cultural touches they had added to the room. Another example, is the small frosted glass above the bathtub/shower combo.

The vanity was very clean and had built-in LED lighting in the mirror. The bathroom featured le grand bain products, gooseneck zoom vanity mirror, and another two bottles of water were displayed next to the sink.

Opposite the shower and bathtub was a toilet, bidet, and a very plush Sheraton bathrobe.

Although basic, the room was adequate for my needs. The room had a generous square footage and therefore accommodated many different types of seating and furniture.

If I had one complaint, it’d be that the art/decor in the suite was pretty stale, but that’s probably more a function of the Sheraton’s relatively weak brand identity than anything else.

With the amount of adequate rest slowly fading by with each minute, I decided to call it a night.

BREAKFAST

At 5:45AM, my alarm went off and I headed down to breakfast in the courtyard which is located next to the lobby. I completely forgot that the elite breakfast was served in the lounge (more on this later).

However, breakfast was served from 6:30am to 11am every morning in the courtyard.

Upon entering, I was welcomed by the staff, asked for my room number, and escorted to my table. As we made our way to my table, I snapped a few photos.

I placed my book bag on my seat and proceeded to visit the closest “station” to my table – the juice bar.

The gentleman behind the juice bar welcomed me to breakfast and insisted that I “hydrate for the day.” I had already planned to get something to drink so I simply took his advice and that is where this whole experience took a spin…

“Are you from Oman?”
“I wish. No, I’m here on vacation from the states.”
“Wow. Your facial features say Omani” (a statement I received throughout my stay).
“I noticed you took a few photos of the courtyard. Are you a photographer?”
“No, no…I just think this place is beautiful.”
“Well, let me show you around so you can get more photos.”

This exchange caught me off-guard. Typically, I have to be strategic when taking so many photos because people become suspicious and start asking questions.

This staff member, literally, left his “station” to escort me around the property insisting that I took a photo of everything. Suffice to say that this was a welcomed gesture and typical Omani hospitality.

There was a large bread and pastry selection…

…fresh fruit…

…real honey (like from a honey comb and personally my favorite station)…YUUMMM!!…

An EXTREMELY WIDE selection of Western, Middle Eastern, and Indian staples were available. As you will see below, there was a lot of food to choose from. For example, bacon benedict and salmon benedict…

…pancakes, waffles, sautéed mushrooms…

…potato hash browns, and baked beans.

…steamed vegetables, boiled egg, chicken sausage, grilled tomato grill, and beef bacon… (sincere apologies for the over-exposed photo)…

…stirfry…

…an omlette station…

…grilled vegetables, turkey, ham, smoked salmon…

…a variety of vegetables…

…spicy cheese, hummus, baba ganoush…

…cheese plates (including edam, cheddar cheese, emmental, and gouda)…

While this may seem obsessive, I loved that EVERYTHING was labeled. One of my pet peeves is having to guess what food is.

The Indian breakfast foods seemed to be the signature dishes, and I was a huge fan of the dosa falt bread, idli chutney, paniyaram, coriander upma, and sambar chowder.

There was also a selection of dry cereal…

…and coffee bar for those that prefer a “light” breakfast.

I was then led to Asado, the hotel’s South American grill restaurant. I was baffled by the choice to install a “South American grill” in Oman but nonetheless, I was awarded access to this closed restaurant. My escort asked the man cleaning the restaurant to turn on the lights so I could take a photo…

I was then led to the tea library which appeared to be a relaxing room for guests…

I was then led outside to the pool area. Although this is the ideal time to visit the middle east, the pool was covered with a cloth awning, which did a decent job at keeping the sunlight away.

The hotel does not have a beach but the hotel provides a shuttle to and from the beach in the morning and afternoon.

The pool was more suitable to taking a dip rather than swimming laps as there were four submerged lounge beds in the shallow part of the pool.

Next to the pool were lounge chairs and space to enjoy the beautiful weather…

…and their extensive hookah collection if you so desired.

My time was running short, so I thanked him for his generosity and tour expertise. I quickly grabbed a bite to eat and made my way back to my room.

On the way to the room, I stopped by the fitness centre which was located on the basement level, and had a wide assortment of exercise equipment.

The gym was fairly busy so I did not take any photos inside.

Unfortunately, I was not able to visit the Sheraton Club lounge for the morning (or evening) spread. However, the club was located on the 13th floor if you should happen to visit this property.

FINAL STAMP

Overall, I thought the hotel was great for my time there. The breakfast was more than adequate and although it was rushed (no fault of the hotels), I enjoyed eating here.

The Sheraton Oman was a serviceable hotel and a great introduction to Oman. My “tour guide” went out of his way to assist me in exploring the property.

As I checked out, the front desk agent noticed I had been charged for breakfast, was an elite member and asked if I had eaten in the restaurant. I replied that I had and simultaneously remembered that I could’ve eaten in the Sheraton Club.

Before I said anything additional, she said “let me take that off your bill.”

Within minutes, I was given my portfolio and on my way to dive.

If I happen to visit Muscat again, I would definitely stay here and would totally recommend this hotel for anyone coming to Muscat.

Have you ever stayed at The Sheraton Oman? What was your experience?

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