There is something about a city flanked by mountains and beaches. It seems protected from the harshness of the real world. Moments have the sweet, slow pace of a gentle lover just happy to caress, than control. Every night under the silent moon bears hope for a beautiful tomorrow. Each wave that comes crashing on to the pearl white sands is pregnant with promises to wash away those bitter scars. Muscat, the city I fell in love with, for its serenity, rustic simplicity and sensuous beauty.
Meandering roads, townhouses on hilltops, hidden beaches and forgotten villages – thanks to a husband who worked there in the past, we got to see it all. Without glossy skyscrapers to block our vision of the astounding horizon, we could cast out our eyes to drink in the charm of this city. Sometimes perfect roads played tricks on our eyes by seemingly vanishing into rugged hills. But within moments, we got to marvel at their stylish reappearances, as if resurrecting from the bends and bows of the majestic mountains.
Each beach had a different story to tell. And each story was award-winning in itself. In the fraction of moments that the waves calm down, the pebbles that capture your attention can be of exquisite marble colors. Yiti or Qantab, the sights and sounds of the turquoise blue waters can mesmerize even the haughtiest spectator.
Staying at the Barr Al Jissah, it was easy to get lost in the tranquility of Muscat. A lazy river meanders along the vast resort, while the temperature controlled waters of the pool welcomes you. Stray your eyes a little further to warm up to the sensuously ruthless waves in the private beach. Splash around in the water like an adorably excited kid or stay in your room balcony drinking in the pleasurable vista of the seas and skies.
Dinner buffet at Samba was divided into two. You could either choose the salad & dessert bar alone for R.O 8++, or choose and add one maincourse from a separate menu for a total cost of R.O. 11++. The regular FoodKisser who would turn a blind eye at the salads and dig deep into the mains, took a backseat here. The salad bar looked promising and indeed lived up to the expectations. As for the mains, we ordered the Rib eye steak, a Thai Prawn Curry with rice and an Iranian Grill. The steak was delicious, the creamy mash was fool proof. The prawns in the curry were perfectly cooked and the gravy was spot-on. I felt the meat in the Iranian grill could have done with more flavor treatment. Desserts were pleasurable to look at, the ones standing out in my memory being the Chocolate tarts, Passion fruit mousse and the Cherry Crumble. Ah, sweet memories. Literally.
Barr Al Jissah had an agenda. The breakfast. A Pandora’s box of delightful delicacies. The spread proudly covered everything one could hope for at the peak of a fancy appetite during breakfast hours. Waffles, Danish, mueslis and porridges. Soup, noodles, benedicts and sausages. I could try to make them rhyme, but with cheeses, falafels, gluten free cakes and German pastries, you must already be entertained enough. The breakfast was worth every dime.
In our meandering sessions around the resort, we came across two fabulous discoveries. The pool side bar called Assira had “Chocolate Trio” in their menu for R.O.2.8++. A fine story played by bitter chocolate cake, chocolate financier and chocolate mousse. A steal for the price charged.
Tapas, the Spanish restaurant in Al Bandar, had a World Cup special platter for R.O.9++. The platter contained gorgeously marinated chicken drumsticks, lamb kofta, crunchy fish fingers and grilled meat cubes, served with fresh French fries, salad and a drink. Value meal in bolds and banner.
Outside the resort, we drove through the city marveling at the general cleanliness. Yes, some extravagant decorations at sparsely busy public spaces were spotted. But coming from Dubai, it wasn’t atrocious enough to make us exclaim in horror. The famed “Istanbuli” shawarmas came as a major disappointment. Bland filling, no pickle and poor service. However, we enjoyed the best butter chicken preparation at a small restaurant named “Food Park” in Ghala. Sensationally creamy and flavorsome.
And the people? Kind, helpful and humble. All of which we were able to experience first hand when our four wheeler got stuck in the sands of Yiti beach. Standing under the blazing sun, pushing up the scorching metal of the car, they left our sides only to bring us ice cold water bottles, even without us having to ask for it.
For its wadis and villages, beaches and hills, creeks and corniches, Muscat was an experience. Every moment worth reliving.