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“Palatial scenic setting”

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Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Ranked #4 of 52 Hotels in Muscat
Certificate of Excellence
2 reviews
“Palatial scenic setting”
Reviewed 11 July 2014

We have loved our stay here!!!There have been extra unexpected touches such as chocolates, daily fruit and I even received a beautiful scarf to wear after mentioning a forthcoming trip to the Al Quaboos Mosque. The staff have gone beyond our expectations.
The food is expensive and it expect to spend £100 a day on lunch and dinner for two (alcohol not inc as it was Ramadan). This can be remedied by taking a cab from outside the hotel or cheaper if you walk to the roundabout to hail one and go into town to eat. It is very safe to dine anywhere and we've had great food in very unlikely places. Kubar in a shopping mall near the Grand Opera was one we would recommend.

  • Stayed July 2014
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Thank 2Travellingowls
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reading, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
21 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed 2 July 2014 via mobile

This was our first time back to the hotel since its refurbishment. Wow! We loved everything about it. The rooms, the pools, the staff, the food .... Our daughters wanted to move rooms to be next to us. This was sorted by the hotel without question or hesitation. Will definitely go back. Love the Shangri-La too but this hotel is so much closer to the city ...

Stayed August 2013
Helpful?
1 Thank Charlotte_W_12_12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
1,998 reviews
89 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1,647 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 June 2014

Even if you aren't staying as a guest you should get a taxi down the coast from Old Muscat through Sidab to Al Bustan. It is quite confusing once inside because it is so huge. You enter on Level 4 where there is a towering opulent atrium, here you find the piano lounge and a couple of other restuarants. If you get a lift down to level 1 you can explore the extensive gardens and pools, the Al Khiran Restaurant, and the Beach Pavilion restaurant - which is one of the last to stop serving food if you arrive late. When I visited there was also a wonderful tented eating area. Just before you arrive at the hotel, don't miss the "Sohar" a traditional boom ship in the center of a roundabout. Built in 1980 for a commemorative voyage to Canton, China.

  • Stayed August 2013, travelled solo
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1 Thank Jolyon67
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Faridabad, India
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 25 June 2014

This holiday we planned for Oman and the experience was amazing. We had a stay at Inter Continental Al Bustan Palace, Muscat and as the name suggests the stay was royal. The rooms were beautifully decorated in Omani style and spacious with gardens and beaches that were extraordinary. The food was excellent with great choice for breakfast as well as dinner.

Room Tip: Rooms with a bigger outer view especially during night time
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with family
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2 Thank Contento D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sharjah, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
118 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 June 2014

Bustan Palace is one of the oldest hotels in Oman and the most royal too. The property looks simple from the outside with its white-washed dome structure, but the interiors take you through a royal journey. Each element of the Hotel from its rooms to flooring to chandeliers spell royalty. The best part is that the grandeur is not gaudy in-your-face, but very subtle and elegant. My family stayed in two sea-facing rooms. I was a little disappointed initially with the room as the view was part sea and part mountains and I had to bend over to see the sea clearly. However this was fine as the black jagged mountains too have their own charm. The highlight of the Hotel complex is its grand atrium lobby and the numerous pools and lawns around the private beach.
The atrium is the best I have seen till date. A huge chandelier, live music, marble and gold like design adorn the lobby. There are some restaurants/ cafes around the lobby and each has its own dress code. This feature is taken special care of and guests are expected to adhere to the dress codes in certain areas. The service is good- of the house-keeping as well as the reception. The rooms were not large but comfortable and was flushed with an extra large bed, multiple pillows, heavy wooden furniture, heavy curtains, an elaborate coffee-bar etc. The bathroom was not large but I have no issues against it. The rooms also have a balcony offering breezy views of the sea-mountains.
The restaurant offering buffet breakfast Al-Khiran, is very good and offers a wide variety of dishes. The service of the staff is also good. We also had dinner at the Beach Pavilion restaurant and that was a worth-while experience too. The fitness center too is well equipped. There are three pool areas- two lagoon pools for the lagoon view rooms who have direct access to them; and the main infinity pool with sweeping views of the sea. The lawns are well maintained and the area is huge- during winters (or non-sunny days) exploring this place will be enjoyable. Relaxing around the main infinity pool is a must do activity I would recommend to all.
If you expect a contemporary ambiance then this isn't the right choice. But overall its a must visit place to enjoy the royal Omani hospitality; pricey but worth it.

Room Tip: Stay in a sea-facing room, and stress for rooms that directly face the sea, not the side rooms
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled with family
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Thank Kushal2687
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Level Contributor
102 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 June 2014

We drove here from Dubai, sneaking out of work early on a Thursday afternoon for a much needed weekend escape. It's quite a drive and we were pleased to see the imposing building with its gold dome as we rounded the corner for the last few hundred metres.

When staying with the Ritz Carlton, there is a minimum level of service and quality that you expect, and whilst there was no disappointment in this regard, it is still an odd property. I liked the architecture, overhanging balconies set against a backdrop of the stunning Muscat mountains. We were upgraded to a Lagoon Room which meant we had private access directly into the small Lagoon pool. It's open to the public, but most people gravitate to the beach or the main pool where there is bar service, which meant for us it was mostly empty save for a few fellow Lagoon Room occupants.

The oddness comes in terms of the layout, we had to walk through the hotel mall to get to our room, and the main foyer itself had odd spaces and a lot of dated wood paneling that felt like it could do with a make-over.

The room itself was not what I expected and took me a little by surprise on entry, there was a lot going on, pin stripe wall paper, elaborate chairs, regal curtains. Extremely comfortable however and the amenities were all of good quality. We were very happy with our room. Even better was full OSN HD TV, a plus for me as whilst my wife was visiting an old friend for breakfast I was able to watch my national team play an important sporting event. Often hotels have a large range of nothing interesting, or plenty interesting but nothing in English. This was a welcome change.

The hotel bar was nice, if you get there in time and secure a seat by the window (or outside if it's not too hot) then you will be rewarded with a spectacular view of the sun setting over the mountains, enjoying a fine cocktail. If you don't know what they want, they will give you ideas based on your tastes. All ingredients are top shelf, and it makes the difference. Enjoy and wash down a few of the spicy marinated olives before dinner. Our second night in the bar we had a well meaning trainee making our drinks, it wasn't the same unfortunately, so the bar manager took the feedback and made the subsequent rounds himself.

We only ate in the hotel restaurants for breakfast (which was fine, I'm not a fan of buffet anything, but as breakfasts go it was quite OK), and one dinner (at the Beach Bar). Whilst the service at dinner was great, and it was lovely sitting by the sea, sand, and illuminated cliffs, the food itself was disappointing. It wasn't bad, we had the tasters menu, and in fact some of the dishes were very good however a couple were salty to the point of unpleasantness and that put a damper on the overall impression. For other meals we ate out at local restaurants, there is a good Italian place around the corner at the Shangri La, and concierge is helpful recommending places for fantastic local cuisine close by.

If you ever are staying in Muscat, business or pleasure, definitely a hotel to have on the top of your list. Not sure on what local activities you can take advantage of as we were there to unplug and relax, I am sure there are likely to be many aquatic and desert based programs you can take advantage of if you ask the hotel staff for help.

Room Tip: For walk in private access to the Lagoon pool, reserve a Lagoon room
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank WearyBusinessNomad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
389 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 148 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 June 2014

Our visit to Muscat started a bit rockily as the car that we'd booked through the hotel wasn't at the airport. Fortunately, we had no problem getting a comfortable taxi. The hotel had a lot of security when we arrived. Metal detectors, X-Ray machines, snipers on the roof etc. We felt quite honored until we found out that some international delegation and maybe the Sultan himself were present. Apparently, several floors of the central hotel tower are permanently booked to the Sultan and other organizations.

At reception, they apologized and immediately deducted the hotel car charge of course. We were led through the stunning atrium with it's extremely high ceiling - it looked a bit like the inside of the Grand Mosque - beautifully decorated. Every day there was some live music, violinist and pianist.

The elevators are actually hard to find as they're hidden at the back. I was shocked to find we were going DOWN rather than up. Got worried that they'd put us in a basement. My concerns weren't allayed when we had to walk through the high end mini-mall in the lower level to get to the room corridor - a bit like a Vegas hotel.

When we entered the room we realized that actually we'd been upgraded. Not only was the room and bathroom sumptuous, but it had its own private sundeck/lounge area located outside the rear door. And immediately beyond the deck was another gate leading to a large swimming area that ran the length of the hotel wing - complete with underwater concrete "beds" that gushed Jacuzzi-like stream of jetted water while you lay half-submerged on them. Beyond the pool were acres of beautifully-manicured lawns and palm trees, more pools and finally a stunningly beautiful sandy beach - arguably the best we've ever seen - including French Polynesia (nearly all Tahiti's gorgeous-looking beaches are actually razor sharp coral).

The only slightly negative aspect of the suite was that as Al Bustan was built a few decades ago, the bathroom was not as large or as luxurious as in the most modern high end hotels. If I recall correctly, it had a combo tub/shower rather than the more current separate glass enclosed shower that one comes to expect these days.

The hotel is isolated amidst a sort of canyon of jagged cliffs and is very private and secluded. There are no nearby hotels or habitations, so the large beach area is uncrowded, the water lovely and warm (apparently all year round). Everything is kept spotlessly clean, it looked like not a blade of grass was out of place. We didn't see many kids, so the place was very serene and quiet.

The staff were exceptionally helpful and friendly - we felt very valued and welcome. The ground floor Al Khiran Terrace restaurant had mainly western or Indian food. The starters and desserts were great. The main courses more average/disappointing. Like everywhere we went in the ME it was hard to find local/Levant type food in the hotels. We preferred to eat at the Beach Pavilion restaurant which is literally on the beach, was very romantic, and had wonderful salads and other main courses.

The concierge was most helpful with re-arranging and confirming our meetings, and also arranging a 5 hour private boat charter that took us along the majestic coastline to some lovely swimming locations.

We had most days full of business trips, but the times we just kicked back and relaxed on the hotel grounds were about the best resort hotel experience we can remember. Would definitely come back to Al Bustan with high expectations.

Room Tip: Ground floor with direct access to the swimming area.
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  • Stayed May 2014, travelled on business
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Helpful?
2 Thank T S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel

Property: Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel
Address: PO Box 1998, Muscat 114, Oman (Formerly Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel)
Phone Number:
Region: Oman > Muscat Governorate > Muscat
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beach Beverage Selection Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
#1 Romantic Hotel in Muscat
#1 Business Hotel in Muscat
#2 On the Beach Hotel in Muscat
#4 Luxury Hotel in Muscat
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Al Bustan Palace, A Ritz-Carlton Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 250
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Set against a dramatic backdrop of rugged mountains, Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, lies solitary amid an emerald green oasis with 200 acres of lush beachfront landscaping. We are a top choice among hotels in Muscat, Oman, offering accommodations and public spaces that overlook the glittering azure waters of the Gulf of Oman. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Intercontinental Hotel Muttrah

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