Imagine traveling to an Arab country with green covered mountains‭, ‬waterfalls‭, ‬lagoons and where the weather is perfect all year‭ ‬long‭. ‬It was my first experience in Oman and Salalah was a place I was anxious to see for a while and I must say I was pleasantly surprised‭. ‬

We arrived to Salalah airport from Muscat in the early morning‭. ‬Having arrived from the layover from the newly opened Muscat airport‭, ‬the Salalah airport was just as sparklingly new‭. ‬We met our driver who welcomed us with fresh towels and were off to our destination‭, ‬Al Baleed Resort by Anantara‭. ‬As we were on our way I couldn’t help but notice how quiet the city was‭, ‬also how clean and spacious the streets were‭.‬

Arriving to Al Baleed Resort‭, ‬we were escorted to our villa‭, ‬which consisted of a living room‭, ‬bedroom‭, ‬mini kitchen and pool‭. ‬Just by taking a quick look I could tell that the inspiration behind the interior is traditional Arab designs with the Sadu patterns all around the living room‭. ‬After having an energizing nap‭, ‬we went to have lunch in Al Mina‭, ‬a Mediterranean restaurant overlooking the infinity pool and the ocean‭. ‬Oman is known for their freshly caught seafood so it was only natural that we would give it a taste‭. ‬Whether it was calamari‭, ‬sayadieh rice or just the regular fish and chips‭; ‬It was cooked in the utmost freshness‭ ‬and was delicious‭. ‬

Walking around the resort was like strolling around a tropical island with palm trees and rock covered walkways‭. ‬Although it was‭ ‬in the middle of summer‭, ‬unlike other Arab countries‭, ‬Salalah has what is called Al Khareef season‭, ‬where the land is covered in green‭, ‬light fog appears with a high chance of rain‭. ‬In the summertime‭, ‬this would be the ultimate escape for neighboring Arab‭ ‬countries‭. 

The resort consists of 136‭ ‬rooms‭, ‬villas and pool villas‭, ‬each special in their own way‭. ‬The regular rooms overlook the resort‭, ‬and the private villas are surrounded by high walls for ultimate privacy‭. ‬Lounging by the pool villa and reading a good book‭, ‬I‭ ‬was transported to a place of peace and tranquility where all I could hear were the chirping of birds and my inner thoughts‭. ‬

Salalah is known for being the perfume capital of Arabia‭. ‬Coveted across the region‭, ‬frankincense is an aromatic gum obtained from trees grown in Oman and has many health benefits‭. ‬Its oil can be used for aromatherapy which is why I had to try their signature massage with frankincense fusion‭. ‬The spa experience itself was magical from beginning to end‭. ‬As I entered the therapy room‭ ‬the smell of frankincense was literally all I could smell‭.‬

It was dinner time and we walked over to Mekong‭, ‬an Asian restaurant that’s rated the top Asian restaurant in Salalah and was the place to go to have authentic‭, ‬quality Asian cuisine‭. ‬Judging by the location and how it was beautifully situated between the beach and the lagoon‭, ‬I could tell it was going to be great‭. ‬The lights were dimmed and each table had its own booth that separated guests‭, ‬the vibe was very chill yet fancy at the same time‭. ‬We had a platter of the traditional Asian dishes but they were not traditional in taste‭. ‬

Fresh from the amazing Asian food the night before‭, ‬we joined a cooking class at Mekong where the chef taught us their signature‭ ‬dishes‭. ‬The staff had all the ingredients in front of our stations‭, ‬all we had to do was chop the vegetables and learn the steps‭. ‬We created Tom Yum soup‭, ‬green curry‭, ‬and my ultimate favorite‮…‬‭ ‬sticky rice with mango‭! ‬I couldn't believe how simple it was‭ ‬to create these dishes‭. ‬We had a fun time and later rewarded ourselves by indulging in our own cooked meals‭. ‬

The following day we took a trip out of the resort to see the famous landscapes of Salalah‭. ‬After a quick drive by our Salalah guru‭, ‬we were taken to an exciting excursion where we saw the waterfalls in Wadi Ayn and hiked over the rocks to get the best view‭. ‬We then passed by Wadi AlDarbat which was filled with lakes where visitors could go on a boat ride‭, ‬paddle or kayak‭. ‬

Al Khareef season is a beautiful time to visit the breathtaking landscapes and enjoy a picnic‭. ‬The place was packed with locals‭ ‬and foreigners alike taking pictures and enjoying their time‭. ‬Local vendors along the streets kindly greeted us with the tastiest milk and tea locally grown on their farm‭. ‬The Omani spirit and hospitality is what makes Salalah beautiful and an ideal destination all year round‭.

Words‭ by Noor Al-Sabah

Images‭ ‬by Anantara

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