November strikes the beginning of the perfect season to plan a getaway in the Sultanate of Oman. As temperatures cool down and provide ideal conditions for visitors to explore the land, this autumn also brings a fresh air on the cultural scene in Muscat with several important highlights not to be missed. Follow this guide for a “Perfect Day in Muscat,” a journey to enliven all senses and immerse in Omani traditions and culture.
Arts and heritage are reaching a new level in Oman with the recent opening of the long-awaited National Museum of Oman. Housed in an impressive white building across the street from the Sultan’s Palace, the museum showcases a collection of very unique pieces of artifacts, accessories and jewels displayed through fourteen galleries highlighting the land and the people, maritime and ancient history, or currency and jewelry. Giant screens and digital information screens, Arabic braille and high-tech devices enliven the visit.
Oman’s fragrances are famous worldwide and guests at Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel, can enjoy a beautiful display from one of the most renowned brands in the hotel’s shopping gallery on Level 1. With its global reputation for bringing true artistry to all its creations, Amouage fragrances have reflected the wonderful traditions of luxury perfume creation internationally for more than three decades. Over the years, other categories have been added to the overall range and today Amouage is not just a perfume brand, but expresses a luxury lifestyle. With its new state-of-the-art Factory and Visitors’ Centre in Muscat, Amouage welcomes travelers from all around the world and invites them to discover the true art of perfume-making. The Factory and Visitors’ Centre is open to the public and offers tours of the facilities every day.
For a sweet touch to the day, a visit at Salma’s Chocolates showroom is a must. Presenting, preserving and promoting Oman’s heritage and culture through refined chocolate creations is the aim behind Salma’s Chocolates. The first Omani handmade chocolate brand is run by Salma and Aisha al Hajri, two entrepreneurs, voted best SME in the Gulf countries in 2015, who find inspiration in local products and flavors to create their delicious treats available at their Muscat showroom. Don’t miss their signature date caramel bites or rose water creations.
The Royal Opera House is opening an exciting 5th anniversary season with a spectacular program running from October 2016 to May 2017. The season, entitled “Excellence in Diversity”, brings some famous names in music and arts to Muscat, Oman, for a few very exclusive performances. From season opening “Romeo & Juliet” by Charles Gounod, to Wagner’s “Lohengrin” performed for the first time in Muscat, to international ballet such as the Ballet of St Petersburg or West Side Story, a Broadway choreography, the eclectic program will also draw the red carpet to a prestigious program of Arabic music with performances for all types of audiences.
Music lovers can also enjoy the series of exclusive concerts of the Royal Oman Symphony Orchestra held four times a year in the Oman Auditorium at Al Bustan Palace. The historical relationship between the national orchestra and the iconic luxury hotel continues to delight guests and visitors, with unique programs year over year. The season will kick start on October 27th, with a program including Haendel’s Overture in D minor, Mozart’s Concerto for Flute and Orchestra in D Major and Sibelius’ Symphony Number 3 in C major.
To complete the journey and end on tasty note, guests can now enjoy a sumptuous Omani traditional dinner at Al Loomie restaurant, located on the premises of Al Bustan Palace. Chef Salim Al Kabani and his team invite guests to a journey of the senses, with a menu crafted around the flavors and culinary traditions of Oman’s regions. Chef Salim and his wife Amal brought something new to the Sultanate with their catering brand “The dried lemon,” taking classic dishes and giving them a local twist. Al Loomie is the chef’s new outlet and brings together local products and contemporary culinary techniques for a five star dining experience in a traditional ambience.
A visit of the Al Bustan Palace Art Boutique is a must when staying at the iconic resort. The boutique features a unique collection of contemporary art by the established and emerging Omani and international artists. Guests are taken on a journey through various artistic styles and techniques, and discover unique pieces carefully selected by the resort’s curator. Mesmerizing works on wood and canvas, enriched with decorative elements of traditional Omani castles by Juma Al Harthy; bright abstract paintings by Radhika Hamlai; intriguing surrealistic pencil drawings and porcelain sculptures by Liubov Nikitina-Silva; mysterious figurative paintings by Alia Farsi; satirical graphic works by Anna Dudchenko; delicate paper cuts by Debjani Bhardwaj, and other exclusive artworks highlight the unique artistic experience offered to guests and visitors to discover the very diverse current art scene in Oman.
Conclude this memorable day with an overnight in one of the hotel’s well-appointed luxury suites, overlooking the Sea of Oman, for a night in the comfort and refinement in Oman’s iconic five star hotel, where the Ladies and Gentlemen will make any guest feel like royalty.
Guests and visitors of Al Bustan Palace, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel can book a guided tour of the Opera House or a ticket to the National Museum directly with the hotel’s concierge team. Additionally, shuttle is offered to guests on a daily basis at 4:30pm to Muscat Old Town, with stops at the National Museum and Al Alam palace, the souk and the corniche.