The idyllic beach resort, Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara combines the brand’s renowned hospitality principles with the region’s characteristics. Anne Kurian checks out the beachfront resort
Salalah has been one of our favourite destinations within Oman to get away to, especially in the summer. While Khareef season is the perfect time to visit Salalah, the capital city of Dhofar has been our getaway haven even during December. One of the most attractive features of the well-designed city is its coastline. Long stretches of sandy white beaches, sometimes offset against towering mountains, can leave you in awe. And for this very reason, a beachside resort is often our preferred choice when in Salalah.
On a recent visit to the Dhofari capital, we stayed at the beautiful and luxurious beachside property, Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara. The exquisitely designed resort, just 20 minutes away from the airport, is the perfect antidote for hurried, tiresome living. As you drive past the entrance gate of the palm-fringed resort, a sense of tranquility envelops you. It might be the calm ambience of the resort, the soothing scent of frankincense in the air or the fact that we are by one of the finest private beaches in the city. Whatever the reason, we were ready for a soothing and much-deserved break from life’s daily pressures.
The resort, which opened a couple of years ago, is undoubtedly one of the most luxurious in the Dhofar region. While Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara is not over the top like some of the properties in this part of the world, the resort excels in understated luxury. Anantara as a brand is renowned for creating properties that are pure luxury yet unfused with warmth and comfort that makes you feel like you are at home when staying with them. Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara is no different. Add to the renowned Omani hospitality and you have a winner.
After being welcomed to the hotel by the team, we headed to our rooms. Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara is the only resort in Salalah that boasts of private pool villas. We stayed in a one-bedroom private pool villa. The spacious elegantly appointed villa is punctuated with Omani design elements and includes a large living room, bedroom, walk-in wardrobe, and bathroom with shower and bathtub. The living room includes a lounge space, work desk and all the amenities you would expect to find in a hotel of this stature. Among the amenities provided in the room were a frisbee, hat, sarong and beach ball. Now that’s being thoughtful!
The resort has a beautiful infinity pool with uninterrupted views of the sea but our favourite water body to relax in during our stay was the private pool within the villa. The temperature-controlled pool can be accessed directly from the bathroom and this was where we decided to spend much of our time. Even the occasional spell of shower could not deter us from staying in the water.
The resort is home to three restaurants. Sakalan, the international restaurant, has a fabulous spread of choices, especially at breakfast. Continental, Arabic, Asian, Indian…they have it all. Their donut wall is especially popular. Mekong, the Asian specialty restaurant, is hands-down one of the best in the country. Vietnamese, Thai and Chinese specialties are served at this restaurant that excels in good food and hospitality. Al Mina, the lounge-style beach restaurant is perfect to kick back with some sundowners, Arabic mezze and watch the rolling waves.
While in Salalah, whether it’s your first or tenth visit, it is hard to not go out and explore some of the scenic spots. Thankfully, with Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara organising a sight-seeing trip was a breeze. What makes the trip really enjoyable and knowledgeable is the Salalah Guru. The bespoke service by the resort is one of its kind. On the second day of our stay, we headed out to explore Salalah with our ‘guru’, Hussain. On learning we had been to Salalah a few times, he took us to areas that we had not been before and all through the drive kept us engaged with stories of Dhofar. The best part of the trip was that it never felt for once that we were out with a guide but rather with a friend who could trade jokes with and also rely on to find you hidden gems to visit.
The resort is home to the Conde Nast Johansens accredited Anantara Spa. Don’t miss out on a pampering session at the large hammam in the spa. The experience is truly out of this world.
The resort is an oasis of calm complemented by nature’s finest offerings and heartfelt hospitality. As we left the resort to catch our flight back to Muscat, we knew that we would be returning to Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara where the beauty of Thai and Omani hospitality combine and showcased in the most impressive manner.