Oman

We’ve done and seen so little here. We’ve not left the three interconnected hotels that form the resort; we’ve not been out in the kayaks, joined a yoga class on the beach or learned to wake board. It has been a wonderful, floppy, wasted time. My sole achievement has been to read three books in a week (unless you count 3 plates at the breakfast buffet as an achievement).

We’ve been here before so knew what we were coming here to do, or not do. Before meeting Helen I’d never done the flop on a sun lounger holiday but now we’ve become, if not connoisseurs, pretty clear in what we’re looking for.

The Shangri-La Al Husn just works. The flight to Muscat leaves after work on a Friday and it’s just 20 minutes drive to the resort. We were in the pool before London was having it’s Saturday breakfast. The Al Husn is adult only and the fanciest of the three hotels. We’re the youngest around the pool, along with a mix of well preserved European couples and middle aged gays. But you also have access to the other hotels and their pools, here there’s a bit more buzz, and a lazy river. It’s fun to slum it down there occasionally but always know we can escape back if anyone is too close, loud or beautiful.

Multiple hotels also opens up more food options. At the fancy hotel the poolside food is focused on fresh and healthy; there’s a lot of leaves and seeds. But at the other resort there are pizzas, wings and “chilli cheese waffle fries”. Helen is a complex and demanding soul: This is somewhere that can provide in one place, tranquility and Evian mist spray, and in another waffle fries and inflatables.

The complex is miles from anywhere, we’re trapped and would have to accept any overpriced shit food. And I’ve stayed places that had clearly factored this into their business plan.

Here though the food is consistently better than we expected. It probably helps that it’s not all inclusive and so there is business for the different restaurants to fight over.

The buffets are consistently decent, with a few overcooked, oversized prawns and bits of lobster to remind you it’s fancy. The tapas place is good enough that it wasn’t until our second visit that we noticed it’s pork free; good pigless tapas isn’t easy. The south East Asian restaurant feels pretty authentic, from the staffing to the Nasi Lemak (if a bit over refined).

Back to work on Monday

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