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Planning Your Trip

Oman’s capital is a city of striking contrast: the shores of the Gulf of Oman and sweeping desert; modern skyscrapers and 16th-century cliff-top forts; humble street food and exquisite dining. Here’s how to pack so you can experience it all.

Perfect rectangular pool lined with palm trees and lawn fronts a pristine beach

Beach Vacation

Whether you’re taking a moment on the shore of a small creek  or on the kilometer-long, tranquil private beach at Al Bustan Palace, here is how to equip yourself.

 

  • Muscat enjoys year-round sunshine and soaring temperatures in summer. Stay protected with sunscreen that has a high SPF and be sure to reapply regularly.
  • Make the most of the five outdoor swimming pools (including a 50-meter infinity pool) and bring a couple of bathing suits.
  • If you are exploring the coastline, bring a cover-up for before and after you take a swim. While Omanis are very open-minded and understanding of global travelers, discretion and modest dress are strongly recommended.
Upward view of a grand mosque built in white stone with a minaret and blue skies in the background

Exploring the City

From the old souq in Muttrah to the Sultan’s Palace in the old quarter, Oman's capital has many treasures to showcase. Here is how to best enjoy the day out:

 

 

  • Bring a reusable water bottle and refill it with fresh infused water from the resort before setting out. Temperatures can soar and it’s best to stay hydrated.
  • You might find that you’ve walked many miles taking in the sights in this sprawling city without even realizing it. Wear a hat to avoid getting too much sun.
  • Locals favor modest dress, so it is suggested that visitors wear shirts that cover the shoulders and long pants rather than shorts.  
Reserve your stay at Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel.

Day Trips

Surrounded by the vast desert of Wahiba Sands and the majestic Al Hajar mountains, Muscat is a haven for outdoors and adventure seekers. Before heading on an excursion, ensure you carry the following:

 

  • Trekking through the desert and the mountains can be tiring — but rewarding — business. Be sure you’re prepared with a sensible pair of walking shoes.
  • Despite the soaring temperatures during the day, the peaks of the Al Hajar mountains have temperatures that are about 15 degrees cooler than in town, and desert nights can get quite cold. Bring an extra layer on daylong excursions.
  • A lightweight backpack is ideal for stashing a water bottle, extra layer and perhaps some snacks before setting out.
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Don’t Forget:

A pashmina (shawl) is a great multitasker. Use it as a head covering when visiting a mosque, a cover-up at the beach or a scarf for an evening visit to the desert.


While there is more than enough outside of the resort walls to keep a visitor occupied — touring the Royal Opera House, a night under the stars in the desert —there is so much to do on the property — a day of relaxation at the spa, hours watching the ocean — that it’s easy to never leave. Here’s what to reserve ahead of a visit to make the most of your time:

Spa Appointments

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The 33,000-square-foot waterfront spa is built to resemble an ancient Arabian fort and offers separate men’s and women’s areas, including a women’s-only club, pool and beach. Arrive early to relax with a steam, sauna and ice shower before beginning one of the signature treatments like the Absolute Rejuvenation — a decadent hammam experience and exfoliation, a holistic massage and a facial using organic products. Or immerse yourself in the Royal Splendor, which combines the signature hammam experience with a 24k gold age-defying facial.  

Cabanas


With a 1-kilometer private beach — the longest in the country — and five stunning pools, it’s easy to spend an entire stay making the most of the sun and sand. Upgrade your time by reserving one of the private beach cabanas ahead of time. A dedicated butler will tend to your every need as you enjoy the breezes from the Gulf of Oman. On the weekend, reserve a relaxing head-and-shoulder massage in the privacy of your cabana.

Outdoor Excursions

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Make the most of the crystalline waters just outside of the resort with a dive at one of the 22 nearby sites, such as Bandar Al Khayran Reserve — a stunning, remote location about 30 minutes away by boat. Arrange for an early morning boat ride from the nearby Marina Bandar Al Rowdha to watch dolphins in their natural habitat, or take a drive to Ras Al Jinz to witness one of the largest green sea turtle reserves in the world (50,000 of the creatures live within 5 kilometers). For a truly unique experience, spend the night under the stars by camping in a Bedouin tent nestled in the dunes at Wahiba Sands.  

Tours


Arrange for a shuttle into town to explore the many sites — a tour of the architectural beauty (and behind-the-scenes secrets) of the Royal Opera House; the National Museum, showcasing artifacts from the earliest human settlement in the Oman Peninsula about 2 million years ago through to present day; an educational tour of the Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque — one of the biggest in the Middle East; or a visit to one of the storied forts like Nizwa or Bahla, which date back to before the Islamic era.  

Tucked into the shores of the Gulf of Oman and surrounded by vast desert and jagged mountains, Muscat — Oman’s port capital — is rich with cultural history. Sixteenth-century fortresses, ornate mosques and museums full of ancient artifacts pair architecture with history for a fascinating experience. And, given its location on the gulf, the city also has a vibrant tradition of fishing and seafaring. In fact, Muscat translates to “safe anchorage,” and beaches stretch from town all the way to Oman’s border with the United Arab Emirates, some 200 kilometers away. It’s a place of incredible beauty and heritage, and Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, is the perfect place to begin your adventure in Muscat.


12 Hours in Muscat

Rich in culture, history and beauty, Muscat, Oman, is flanked by the Al Hajar Mountains and the blue-green waters of the Sea of Oman. This thriving capital city has so much to offer — from mosques to museums, shops, beaches and palaces — so even if you have only 24 hours to spend, you’ll find plenty to do before your return to the comfort of Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Short on time? Spend your day exploring the best the city has to offer or indulging in a day of relaxation.

 

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Cultural Treasures

Situated on the Gulf of Oman, Muscat dates to antiquity. Once a major trading port between the east and west, the city was ruled at times by indigenous tribes, Persians, the Ottoman Empire and the Portuguese Empire, all of which left significant cultural marks on the country. From cliff-top forts to mosques and ancient art, there’s so much to explore in this vibrant, multiethnic city. Spend a few days immersing yourself in the color, heritage and depth of Omani culture. 

 

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