Disclaimer: This is a late post
Last March when Covid 19 was still like foggy distant phenomenon (cases were still few in Oman & social distancing was still an alien vocabulary), we drove to Muscat to Shangri-la Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa to celebrate Howell’s 4th birthday.
Howell has always been a water-baby. He has celebrated most of his birthdays with a fun day swimming in pools: Wild Wild Wet for his 2nd birthday & Adventure Cove on this 3rd birthday (both in Singapore). To keep up with the tradition, we decided to avail the Day Pass: A Day in Paradise at Shangri-la Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa where Howell & his siblings can enjoy a day at the pool & beach.
The drive to the Shangri-la Resort can be a bit of challenge. It is located near the beach along the gulf of Oman, 16 km from Al Alam Palace, the Omani French Museum and the 16th-century Fort Al Jalali. The steep drive up to the resort would allow you to see the breathtaking view of the 500 metres seaside oasis nestled in the majestic Al Hajar mountains.
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is spread across 2 distinct wings that are connected in their Arabian spirit of hospitality: Al Waha, “The Oasis” and Al Bandar, “The Town.” While Al Waha is ideal for families, Al Bandar is the heart of the resort, catering to business and leisure travelers. There are wonderful amenities available in the resort from watersports to a lazy river and kids club, a classy spa and diverse dining options. They have 460 rooms and suites in 2 distinct wings, 15 restaurants & bars, 6 swimming pools, a variety of watersports and a lazy river attraction.
Weeks prior to our trip, we were hoping to get reservations for the Day Pass via online. But unfortunately, they don’t allow reservations online or through phone. You have to purchase the passes on the day of visit. When we arrived at Shangrila, we asked the hotel personnel where to get the day pass. We were instructed to head to the Chi Spa to get our passes.
The Day Pass costs 25 OMR per adult and 15 OMR per child below 5 years old. The Day in Paradise package includes a lunch buffet at Al Tanoor Restaurant and free use of the amenities, the pools & beach. You get to have a 20% discount ar Chi, The Spa too. You can enjoy the pass from 9 AM to 6 PM.
Once we arrived at the beach, we were given a huge beach towel to cover the lounge chairs found near the beach & pools, more towels & a cooler for our water. The place wasn’t crowded and the resort’s ambiance was perfect for a day of relaxation. We took in the beautiful panorama of the place. It was a feast to the senses. It, indeed, is a paradise to be visited in Muscat. The beach was picturesque with its blue-green waters and light golden soft sands. There were play areas for the kids. We saw big jenga puzzles, a huge toddler-size chess figures for people to play with, a small ship for photo op and a water park for the kids.
We explored for a bit. We decided to take our lunch first before heading to the pool. The Al Tanoor restaurant is located in the opposite end of the resort. It was bit of a walk before we reach the restaurant. There were several other restaurants and bars in the area. Al Tanoor Restaurant has an al fresco and indoor setting. We choose to sit in the covered al-fresco tables for some sunlight & fresh air. The restaurant offers a numerous variety of fresh salad, freshly baked roti, lots of Indian curries & dishes, a bit of Middle-Eastern cuisine, sumptuous seafood & meat, and decadent little sweet desserts. There wasn’t any Western or Chinese / SouthEast Asian options in the buffet station, though. We sang our happy birthday song for our birthday boy and gave him his present which he is so excited to open. In spite the lack of variety of different cuisine, my husband was full from our lunch buffet & I was happy with my salads. The kids didn’t eat much of the food because it was too spicy, though they were happy to get a couple of sweets for desserts.
After lunch, the kids were so eager to change into their swimming trunks and headed to the pool. There were several pools in the area. There is a smaller shallow pool for the little kids which Zeke happily waded and there is a bigger pool with slides for the bigger kids. They also have a Lazy River which is similar to the lazy river we tried in Wild Wild Wet & Adventure Cove. The Lazy River in Shangrila is inspired by the centuries-old jajaj system which bring fresh water to remote Omani villages. It spans a half kilometres between Al Bandar and Al Waha Hotels. They have free inflatable floats for people to use. We had a relaxing time floating around the lazy river, and then the 2 bigger kids enjoyed the pool slide with thier daddy. Later, they all swam at the smaller pool for the rest of the day and made friends with some Caucasian kids of their same age in the pools.
After hours of frolic in the pool, we changed into our dry clothes. We were famished from our pool activity so we ordered some burgers, fries and ice cream at the poolside bar. The food was delivered to us while we enjoyed our food overlooking the beach. There were camels brought out by staff for people take photos with.
We had a great time in our Day in Paradise and it was wonderful fun birthday for Howell. We were glad we were able to experience it before the lockdown. We will definitely visit again once this pandemic will soon be over. For now, the kids’ birthdays will be celebrated at home with, of course, their cake of choice, ice cream and their favourite food. We are lucky our kids are more than happy as long as they have their cake & ice cream for their birthday celebration.
Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, Sultanate of Oman
PO Box 644, Muscat 100, Oman
Tel no. (968) 2477 6666
Update: In line with the government directives, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa and Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa, will temporarily cease operations until further notice.