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Client Blog: A surprise Oman adventure!

Robin and Lesley have been booking exciting adventures with me since 2015. They always like to do something different so when I received a rather clandestine call from Robin in early October I knew I was in for a challenge.


He'd booked tickets for the Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi and was looking to add on some touring in Oman... all without Lesley knowing with the plan being he'd tell her at Heathrow!


We discussed how they'd like to see this fabulous country and as expected Robin plumped for the unusual option of a self drive. Whilst it's very easy to drive in Oman, the roads require a 4x4 and Google maps as sat navs rarely work so you really need to be an experienced driver...of course Robin was all for it!


I planned a route that would see them visit all the highlights in the north of Oman with some time to relax before jetting off to Abu Dhabi for the Grand Prix. First stop the capital Muscat, just for a night at the luxurious Kempinski Hotel before heading off to the mountains the following day. The plan was to reach The View in Al Hamra for a beautiful sunset but due to some communication issues with the car company they arrived too late so had to make do with sunrise instead!



Next stop was the most beautiful hotel Lesley has ever stayed in, the Alila Jabal Akhdar. Now Lesley said she'd been told how stunning the scenery is in Oman is but is wasn't until spending a few days here she really felt this was true. The landscape in this area is rocky and arid so not the most obvious places of beauty. Built from Omani stone, this nature inspired resort blends seamlessly with it's surroundings. It's the perfect base to enjoy a vast array of activities including hiking and rock climbing or do as Robin and Lesley did and just enjoy the peace and tranquility.


Dragging themselves away was tough but the desert was waiting. Desert Nights Camp in Wahiba Sands is an ideal spot to experience all the desert has to offer with quad biking, sand boarding and camel riding for the adventurous, comfortable canvas tented rooms and campfires for a evening under the stars.


It's an easy drive here so they were able to stop along the way and enjoy some of the refreshing wadi's Oman is famous for. These canyons, home to blue water pools and waterfalls are dotted about the country and a real highlight for visitors.



Time to head back to Muscat for a few days although there were developments! Originally booked into the Al Bustan Palace, I had a call from my suppliers to say the Omani government were moving all booked guests from the hotel due to visiting dignatories. After a couple of WhatsApp messages, they'd decided on the Shangri La Al Bandar instead. Another highlight was to come as they were very lucky to swim with turtles in the clear waters of the bay here.


Next stop Abu Dhabi...a flight to Dubai and 2 PCR tests each later they were enjoying the glitz and glamour of the race. Not happy with the result but still an unforgettable experience.


So did Lesley love the surprise? Well it turned out not to be quite the surprise as planned as I did speak to her before they went to discuss wardrobe options! But yes they both absolutely loved the trip especially how natural and untouched by tourism Oman is compared to Dubai and Abu Dhabi.


Oman has been on my wishlist for a long time and they've inspired me to put it firmly at the top for my next family adventure.



Lesley and I had an amazing time in Oman and would thoroughly recommend it for young adventurers, families and people like us who like to experience something a bit different while taking it easy and enjoying our comforts. Oman is beautiful country with some extraordinary scenery and the most welcoming, friendly people.


Organising ourselves for a major trip like this would only be possible with the help of Sarah. Almost every element of our holiday was bespoke and navigating my way through a multitude of options was not something I could have done without help.


Things were made even more complicated by my me adding the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix into the mix and, more significantly, the ongoing COVID restrictions. Because of COVID, flights were cancelled and rearranged and testing requirements (and rules for each country) changed on a weekly basis in the lead-up to departure.


Only Sarah could have kept track of everything. She proved her worth again while we were in Oman when our last hotel was taken over by the government the day before we were due to arrive (turns out we are not as important as the Saudi Royal Family!). Sarah contacted us immediately and was able to quickly arrange an outstanding backup plan. Sarah is great at discussing options, assessing suitability, planning, problem solving, trouble shooting and monitoring progress. In short, Sarah is brilliant at her job!


Robin

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