When my birthday was coming up last month, my family & I were thinking of how would celebrate my day. I thought of trying something different as the the usual staycations at hotels in Muscat. I have heard of Jebel Sifah from an Omani colleague in my previous workplace. I overheard she said it is a nice place around 45 minutes away from Muscat. I heard it got a beach, swimming pool, hotel and bar in the place. I researched and found the information of the hotel, the Sifawy Boutique Hotel. I was set to call the hotel the next day when a friend of mine sent me a message if I would be interested to rent out a unit for staycation at Jebel Sifah! Talk about coincidence! I saw the rental fee was very affordable and almost half the price of one-day stay in the hotel. I saw also the photos and I loved it. However, I told her that I will call the hotel tomorrow and check out if there are any good hotel discounts & promotions before I decide if we will choose to stay in the hotel or the studio unit.
The day after, I called the hotel. If we booked a hotel room, the total people staying in the hotel room would be 2 adults and 3 kids with one kid above age of 5 so it means we have to pay extra. Since we are being more mindful with our budget, we know we can still enjoy without spending too much. We decided to opt to rent the studio unit instead. Plus it was a recommendation of a trusted friend so I know that I have nothing to worry about. I messaged the owner of the unit through WhatsApp. The transaction was smooth-sailing. The owner was very accommodating and professional. A well-detailed information were provided and I received an agreement form sent to me via email. I sent a downpayment through bank transfer and the rest was to be paid when we got there on the same day.
Before 12 midnight, my husband and our 3 kids surprised me with flowers and a handmade card. I was so touched. Nothing melts my heart more than flowers and written notes. I have to hold back my tears with the overflowing gratitude I have been blessed to have these special people in my life.
We, then, went to sleep to prepare for the drive the next day. By 8:30 AM, we left our place with our bags and headed to Muscat. I have previously thought that Jebel Sifah was 40 minutes before Muscat. Boy, I was wrong. My husband researched beforehand, studied the route going to the place and he saw that Jebel Sifah is 40-45 minutes after Muscat. Once we were in Muscat by 11 AM, we had a quick stop to find a cake shop and buy take-out lunch at Filipino fast-food chains, Jollibee & Chowking. We planned to buy cake at the Cake Gallery in Al Khuwair but it was closed. Good thing we found a cake shop nearby, Isfahan Sweets. J chose a cake called the Honey Cake!
We were all set to head over to Jebel Sifah after getting the cake and our lunch.
We didn’t realised how far Jebel Sifah is. If we thought Shangri-la Resort was already far, we are in for a really long drive. We already passed Shangri-la Resort and we were still half way there. There were parts of the way where the roads are very narrow and zigzagged. It felt like we passed by several mountains already. J asked me, “Is this place we are going to really nice?” I replied, “I don’t know actually. I just overheard it mentioned by a colleague. I really have no idea.” We are both silently hoping that Jebel Sifah is really worth the drive. Zeke even vomited a bit during the drive, we have to stop to clean him up. I guess he feel nauseous from the zigzag roads. We have reached a small town with lots of hairy goats on the road and thought we maybe really near. There was also a gas station in the town. Our GPS navigation app informed us that we are 15 minutes away from our destination. And finally we arrived in Jebel Sifah.
We entered the Jebel Sifah compound by informing the security of the unit we are going to. The area have blocks of low rise modern architectural apartment buildings with different facade but all with a similar beige and off white clean lines exteriors. There were several villas as well as we drive through. We saw playgrounds and the golf course while the blue green hue of beach can be seen from a far distance. We admired the manicured lawn of the area while seeing a few people walking about with some riding their bikes & scooters. The place was reminiscent of memories as a teenage Third Culture Kid enjoying the amenities in Saudi Aramco compound, a residential and recreational place reserved for employees of the company. It has the very same feel.
Finding the studio apartment was very easy to find with the specific instructions given by the owner. We were greeted by the caretaker of the unit who cleaned and prepared the place before we reached. We gave him the balance of the rent and he handed us the keys. We were instructed that check-out time tomorrow would be 10:30 AM.
We were very impressed with how the place looks like. It is exactly how it looks like in the photos and even better. There is a big 4-poster that gives you a relaxing Bali ambiance kind-of feel. There were towels and toiletries provided, set beautifully on top of the bed. There is wide wooden sofa that can be used as an extra bed. Naj and Howell already claimed that spot for their bed for their night. The aesthetics of the place can easily compete with hotels we have visited. There is a wide screen TV on the wall with a Netflix account for us to enjoy. The wifi is provided for as well. There is bar counter for us to eat our meals indoors.
The unit is fully furnished and almost everything was provided for. The kitchen was equipped with a microwave, refrigerator, water heater, rice cooker, washing machine and dishwashing machine. Plates, glasses, cutleries and mugs are all available in the cupboard. 3-in-1 coffee sachets and bottles of water were also provided.
There is a cabinet with safety deposit box and iron. The bathroom was clean with a good working water heater and a nice wide rain-shower head system.
There is an outdoor patio with a grill if we wanted to do some grilling. It is nice to sit outdoors and just enjoy the beautiful scenery.
We ate our takeout lunch, an array of Filipino fast-foods of burger, fries, sweet & sour chicken, chicken barbecue and rice, in the studio which we enjoyed heartily before we headed out to explore the place.
The place can be explored by foot but it is still more convenient if you drive around the car. We found the Sifawy Boutique Hotel and the saw the entrance of the Jebel Sifah Golf Course.
We were told that we can use the pool in the hotel, in the Bank Beach Club and at the pools located near one of the apartment buildings. The kids were excited to have an afternoon swim. They were prepared with their swim clothes and googles. My hubby and I were just happily wading our toes in the pool as we watch our kids enjoying their swim.
After the kids finishing swimming and had a quick change, we explored Jebel Sifah a little bit more. There is a mini mart near the marina which has all of the basic things available like milk, softdrinks, chips, canned goods, frozen products for cooking & grilling, toiletries, toys and many more. We spent some time strolling along the marina. It was a nice atmosphere that felt just so relaxing. The kids saw a few playgrounds that they were eyeing on to explore.
We headed back to the studio apartment for me to blow my birthday cake before the sun will set and ate the cake for our afternoon snack. The cake was very yummy. J chose the perfect cake.
After resting for a bit and digesting that indulgent yummy Honey cake, we headed back near the beach area for our dinner at The Bank Beach Club. We have to park our car in the sandy part of the beach before we walked to the beach club with loud disco music (because it was Friday DJ night) and dim colourful light. There was pool there for people to swim and even it was extremely cold that night, there were 1-2 people swimming under the moonlight. People were in a merry mood with a frenzy vibe in the air.
We ordered a light dinner of a mix of Japanese, Thai and American cuisine. J was happy that he was able to drink some bottles of beer after 8 long months. We hang out there for a couple of hours, just enjoying the music and the cool breeze. We made the kids play at the big wooden playground nearby before calling it a night. It was wonderful way to celebrate my birthday: being with my family, enjoying the nice ambiance of Jebel Sifah and staying in a beautiful studio apartment. I was a great way to start being a year older to take on the world, wiser and stronger
We had a nice comfortable sleep and woke up feeling refreshed for the next day. We had a breakfast of leftover birthday cake with coffee for us adults and milk for the kids. We showered and packed up our stuff. We wrote a note for the owner of the unit. There was a thick blue green notebook left for guests in the table to write in their feedbacks of their stay. We messaged the owner that we are checking out and thank them for the lovely accomodation.
Before heading back to Muscat, we had a quick stop at the playground for the kids to play a while I got some photos of the The Bank Beach Club in daylight.
We said our goodbye to Jebel Sifah but the kids made us promise first that we will definitely return there again. So was it worth the drive? My hubby and I would definitely agree that it was and the place was beyond what we expected it to be.
For those interested in renting the lovely luxurious studio apartment at Jebel Sifah, head over to their Facebook Page or contact Mr. Thusitha Naminda Perara through WhatsApp +968 9359 2539 or email him firstname.lastname@example.org.
Disclaimer: Some photos in the article are not mine and were provided by the owner of the studio apartment.