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Despite being a busy capital city, Muscat hasn’t lost its traditional feel and historic elegance. Visitors are treated to low rise blocks and plenty of domes and arabesque windows opening out onto the port, which is still the city’s focus. This is also where you’ll still find some of the best places to stay in Muscat.
As well as beautiful, traditional buildings, our Guru’s list includes modern resorts, favoured by those who are here for a beach break with a unique cultural twist.
With its clean, traditional appearance, Muscat is a very forward-thinking, modern city. On the list of highlights you’ll find the spectacular Grand Mosque which visitors can enter and the magical Sultan’s Palace and ancient forts which visitors can’t. The souqs and the corniche and the new Royal Opera House, which has attracted the very best international companies and performers.
The Mutrah Corniche is a good place to start your explorations, and this row of traditional white latticed buildings and mosques, gardens and fountains is especially picturesque at sunset when the buildings are bleached many colours. Part of the corniche experience is its souq, a traditional, chaotic market offering some fabulous artefacts, antiques, textiles and jewellery etc.. Just a little further on and you’ll find the fish markets and busy port.
Once you’ve seen, and felt, a bit of modern Muscat, you might like to delve into old Muscat, and Oman, at the Bait al-Baranda Museum, and then explore the walled part of Muscat, which was the original city limits.
And then of course there are those miles and miles of beaches, some lined with resort hotels, and some lined with fishermen collecting in their nets. Muscat is also a relatively short drive from the Wadi Shab, one of Oman’s most spectacular wadis, with a collection of beautiful green pools, eery caves and sheer sides.
What not to miss:
- Visit the opulent Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque, built only in 2001.
- Make a stop at the aristocratic mansion, now the Bait al Zubair museum, and get a chance to admire some of the original remaining architecture and view the display of Omani crafts and traditional costumes.
- Scour the bustling souks for local artefacts, textiles and spices.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Muscat provide luxury or simplicity within easy reach of all the sights.
The best places to stay in Muscat
- The Chedi is a luxurious, 21 acres beach resort with sophisticated furnishings and a contemporary feel. There are around 150 rooms and eight restaurants along with a fantastic pool and top of the range spa. There’s also a private beach.
- The Al Husn has been inspired by royal Arabian palaces, so you can imagine that the hotel is equipped with every luxury you can think of! As well as superb accommodation, there's a private beach, nightclub, restaurants and bars plus activities galore.
- The excellent Al Waha was built with families in mind. It's a gorgeous beach resort just outside Muscat with fabulous facilities - enormous oasis pool with slides, mini golf, diving school, tennis courts and extensive spa. There's also a wide range of restaurants and bars.
For a beach resort
- The Al Bandar is a luxury beach resort just down the coast from Muscat. Its rooms and suites are contemporary classic in style and many boast private patios and sea views. There are a plethora of restaurants to choose from, plus beach bar and sea-based activities for all ages.
- The Al Bustan Palace has long been a favourite Muscat beach resort, and has recently undergone extensive refurbishment. Set amid 200 acres right on the coast, it boasts classically elegant accommodation, a range of dining options, an enormous Six Senses spa, and extensive programme of activities for both young and old.
For an apartment or villa
- If you've decided that a self catering property would be more suitable for your holiday, then we recommend you visit our online booking partner Booking.com where they have a wide selection for all tastes and budgets.
- Numerous air services arrive to Muscat International Airport, located only 15 - 20 minutes from the city (depending which part of Muscat you are staying). Taxis are abundant and generally use meters.
- Best time to visit - Oman has a reliably warm climate and, as long as you avoid the scorching summer months between June and August, can be visited any time. The weather is at its most pleasant from October through to April,when temperatures are warm but cooler than the sweltering summer months.
- If you plan to hire a car, we recommend you visit our online partner Rentalcars for the best prices.
Still not sure?
Best Hotels in Muscat
Al Bandar Hotel 198 rooms from £150Muscat
A Five Star luxury resort in Muscat on the coast. Contemporary classic rooms and suites with private patios, sea-facing views and all the mod cons. Seven restaurants to choose from, pool, private beach and banquet halls. A great choice for a family holiday.Beach LifeViews - Great views from hotel5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Sailing - Can be booked nearby.
Al Bustan Palace 252 rooms from £215Muscat
Barefoot luxury with a private beach, a central lagoon, and premier restaurants. Elegant contemporary rooms and suites with all the mod cons, private balconies, sea-facing/lagoon views. Excellent spa facilities, diving spots, and pool areas. A superbly opulent beach holiday.Foodies - One of the area's premier dining spots.Views - Great views from hotelWellbeingRomantic Break
The Chedi, Muscat 158 rooms from £255Muscat (Way No. 3215 .O. Box 964 Al Khuwair,)
Barefoot luxury in a 21 acre beach resort in Muscat. Classic contemporary rooms and suites with all the mod cons and sophisticated furnishings. Private beach, fantastic pool, eight restaurants to choose from, and a top of the range spa. Total pampering.Foodies - Eight restaurants including Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, Asian and Indian.Total relaxationLuxurySpa breaksRecommended by - CN Traveller
Al Husn Hotel 179 rooms from £372Muscat (Qantab)
A royal Arabian palace inspired hotel on a peninsula with its own private beach, nightclub, restaurants, cafes and bars. Luxury rooms and suites, contemporary in style, have their own private balconies and all the mod cons. A sophisticated beach holiday.Beach LifeViews - Great views from hotel5* Luxury - Very high service standards.Diving - 10 sites at the nearby island of Fahal and the wreck of the 84-metre vessel Al Munassir.
Al Waha Hotel 262 rooms from £830Muscat
A beach resort just outside Muscat with fantastic kids facilities. An enormous oasis pool with slides, diving school, tennis courts, and mini golf. Simple contemporary rooms with private balconies. Extensive spa, restaurant, cafes, and beach bars. Ideal for a family beach holiday.Child friendly - The hotel has been created with families in mind.FamilyBeach LifeFamilies