Some of my best vacations were overzealous escapades. Times where I went to the club with my suitcase in a FOMO-induced haze just hours before I was scheduled to catch the red eye return flight back home. As I grew older, that same type of vacation started to feel like work: planning, and logistics pre-trip and then an overbloated schedule during the trip. It was draining. With age, I wanted to start experiencing things on vacation organically or actually just sleep. Somewhere along the line between age 20 and 30, I began to understand the appeal of the lux-retreat. Just being in an environment where nothing was going on. Now I describe my vacation goals with the phrase ‘laid-back global indulgence’. My recent stay at the Chedi Muscat in Oman provided the most idyllic environment for just that.
In mid-January, I planned a surprise getaway for bae’s birthday. My boyfriend and I being horrible gift shoppers tend to gift each other experiences rather than things. Oman may come across as a somewhat random choice but it was perfect for us as he lives in Dubai which is an 2 hour direct flight away and we could both a visa on arrival so there was no chance to ruin the surprise beforehand. Oman was the perfect getaway for a quick long weekend.
I chose Chedi Muscat like any normal person – based on booking.com ratings and recommendations. Whereever I go in the world, I tend to choose the boutique hotels over name brands so when scanning the travel website to make my reservations I was immediately drawn to Chedi Muscat’s subtle yet modern, Arabian décor and architecture. It’s 8.3 rating sealed the deal.
Everything went seamlessly. Visas were swift and reasonably priced at about $30. We did get delayed at customs (we assume because we were not married but traveling together but this is only our assumption – no one ever explained why we were detained), but otherwise everything was pretty easy. I had booked an airport pick up and was surprised to be received by an Mercedes S5 and a rather chipper driver given that we landed at 5am. We glided our way through the expansive grounds along the windy driveway to the hotel. As the concierge facilitated our check in, we sta drowsily on the 360 degree reception banquette sipping our welcome drink. Needless to say, when we got to our room – no. 3117 – we went straight to sleep.
With our faculties restored after several hours of shut-eye, we crept out of bed at noon ready to discover our home for the weekend. As I glanced about the room, I was disappointed. I found the Chedi Muscat hotel room decor somewhat stark. Firstly, I love color so I am usually not attracted to minimalist design and muted color schemes. Secondly, the bed was a queen and too small to be considered true luxury. Moreover, the main lounging area in the room was below the wall where the TV was mounted, which meant it was not very functional for actually watching television. To make matters worse, they strategically put nuts and dried apricots (my favorite snacks) out in the open although they were not complimentary – torture! They did offer an iPOD speaker and provided complimentary iPODs if you forgot yours and wanted to try on their playlist. The room also provided an extension cord behind the desk to accommodate multiple technology but a hotel of that price point should have such amenities integrated into the furniture or walls. Ultimately, our room left me wanting more design wise, particularly given the price tag at Chedi Muscat of nearly $500 per night.
Now, the common areas were a bit more interesting, namely the main restaurant and lobby. The breakfast brunch on Friday was amazing and customer service was stellar! (Tip: remember Friday is Saturday in many Middle Eastern countries as their work day begins Sunday and Friday is a weekend). However, the post-spa lounge area (we got a couple’s massage) was my absolute favorite space.
But it was the exterior architecture and particularly the gardens that gave me life. Filled with intricate fountains, wading pools and an orchestra of archways taking a walk around Chedi Muscat was arguably the best part of staying there. I did not enjoy being restricted access to certain parts of the hotel that were reserved for higher priced rooms. When attempting to sit under a stately black pergola, I was sadly informed that certain suites had their own private common lounges and outdoor spaces and had to stay “in my area” by the hi-rise building of suites. The independent villas were located to the far West of the hotel grounds closer to spa and the infinity pool famously rumored to be the longest in the world.
My general impression was that it is overpriced and did not quite meet the luxury marker but the landscaper needs a congratulatory lap dance because he did a damn good job. All in all, my oga and I both needed some good old fashioned R&R and Chedi Muscat delivered that in less thna 48 hours flat.
Interior Decor: 3 stars
Architecture: 3 stars
Bedroom: 2 stars
Exteriors: 5 stars
Bathroom: 2 stars
Total: 15/25 or 60% Blueprint Africa approved!
Life is tough. Not because I am wanting of anything (I am highly blessed) but because I want so many things for myself and so much has gone pear shaped this year. I can barely rummage enough stamina to put up a blog post even though I LOVE writing. And then I wonder what's the point in writing about something as "frivolous" as decorating when the world might be hellbound (Trump =😖😭😲). And although I wish I could rewind the clock back to January when I was vacationing happily in Muscat, Oman looking forward to what joys the new year would bring, I am here in Abidjan procrastinating on adulting, whispering to myself… JUST. KEEP. MOVING. FORWARD. #travel #palmtree #walking #garden #keeponmoving #moveon #moveforward #wednesdaywisdom #thoughts #memos #inspiration #motivation #chedimuscat #oman #passionpassport #dametraveler #welltravelled #explore #nanaaroundtheworld #architecture #landscaping #muslim