Perched 2,000 metres above sea level on the curving rim of a great canyon, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort will welcome the world’s most discerning luxury travellers from July 2016. Guests will hover over an extreme landscape of rugged beauty while they discover a cultured treasury of authentic indulgences and immersions in the destination’s rich heritage. Upon its launch, the resort will be the highest luxury hotel in the Middle East and amongst the highest in the world.
Long inaccessible, Al Jabal Al Akhdar (Arabic for “The Green Mountain”) is a towering massif on the Sultanate of Oman’s vast Saiq Plateau. Dramatic peaks ring the setting. Prince Charles and the late Princess Diana once sought out its breathtaking heights by helicopter, alighting to revel in the scenic views. Today, the arrival journey takes guests on an adventurous drive – two hours from Muscat International Airport or four and a half hours from Dubai – past date plantations, valleys known locally as wadis, and historical forts. The Anantara echoes this fortified architecture, placing guests in modern ramparts inspired by the commanding indigenous citadels and re-imagined with sophisticated contemporary interiors.
A total of 115 guest rooms and villas overlook the drama of the canyon or tranquil gardens. Each features its own indigenous luxuries from custom-made Omani furniture to Amouage bath products evoking the region’s priceless fragrances. The resort’s 82 Premier and Deluxe Rooms boast a spacious bedroom, amongst the largest in the country, and a spa-like bathroom carved out of sustainable material from the local area, complete with a rain shower and separate bath alongside a terrace or balcony. Meanwhile, 33 villas grant guests an intimate escape each with personal butler services and its own private swimming pool, their infinity-edges stretching over the cliffs or hidden in an exotic garden. Villa guests have the choice of either one or two bedrooms, including the exclusive Royal Mountain Villa. Each villa will include state-of-the-art interactive LED TVs and spacious walk-in dressing areas, all adding to a sense of sublime luxury.
Culinary desires are catered to in a collection of six restaurants and lounges. Diners are invited to rise above the courtyard to savour fine dining at the Arabian grill restaurant placed in a central fort tower with sheesha water pipes and tapas, as well as a Roman inspired kitchen with canyon views. For the most extravagant experience, Anantara’s ‘Dining by Design’ invites guests to dine at the spectacular cliff’s edge platform, Diana’s Point, on the site of the royal visit. Another Anantara signature, the ‘Spice Spoons’ cooking class allows guests to accompany a chef to the local souq and to the resort’s own Chef’s Garden before being guided in the secrets of cooking Omani or Thai cuisine.
Surrounded by majestic mountains and enjoying cool temperatures year round, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar presents a range of inspiring moments in a perfectly chilled clime – a respite from the heat faced by the Gulf region for much of the year. The resort puts travellers in touch with the local culture, history and landscape in personalised arrangements including mountaintop sunrise yoga and stargazing beneath the blanket of remote night sky. Other diversions include archery, quad biking and excursions to nearby heritage attractions such as the UNESCO World Heritage site Birkat al Mouz, an otherworldly deserted village cascading up a mountainside, and the ancient city of Nizwa, known as the ‘Pearl of Islam’. Accompanied by a local guide, Anantara guests can embark on nature hikes into the area’s most picturesque features or rappel down sheer cliff drop-offs for a falcon’s-eye-view surging with adrenaline.
At the resort itself, a wealth of highlights awaits, from the cliff-edge infinity pool to a state-of-the-art fitness centre, tennis court and world-acclaimed Anantara Spa. Harnessing the essence of Arabia, the spa welcomes with ancient hammam rituals, five soothing treatment suites, private outdoor relaxation areas and an indoor swimming pool. Catering to the youngest travellers, a dedicated kids and teens club speaks to youthful imaginations, while a lavish ballroom and meeting facilities will host memorable events and weddings. Adding extra atmosphere to the already amazing setting, a blazing courtyard fire pit will light the Anantara’s own Friday night market, illuminating one-of-a-kind artworks by local village artisans and craftsmen.