Salalah - An Excellent Getaway in the Summer
A little less than 2 hours by flight from Doha lies an exotic destination - raved much for its monsoons and definitely worth the hype - Salalah is a green paradise in the Khareef Season, and a tropical paradise other times of the year. Salalah, the capital city of Oman’s Dhofar province, is famous for its history, culture and breathtaking scenery. Located in the South and the birth place of Sultan Qaboos, Salalah boasts incredible mountainous landscapes, beautiful beaches and coastlines, and lush greenery. Having bucket-listed travelling to Salalah during the popular Khareef season, it was a satisfying experience and a pleasant getaway from heat. As much as the campaign to beat the heat is being run at the resorts in Al Jabal Al Akhdar, having made a pit-stop there, I wouldn't recommend it during this season. However, Salalah is an absolute must now.
When we arrived at Salalah, it was pitch dark. We had taken a flight after midnight. The flight to Salalah from Doha was roughly 2 hours. The Salalah airport although small is one of much beauty.
Where to Stay in Salalah
We stayed at Salalah Rotana finally. It was in-plan for the last 2 years atleast. Glad to say that it happened finally. We didn't have to think twice about where we were staying. Rotana has been a personal favorite brand of ours. If you haven't seen all of the Rotana Hotels, I have shared with you all before, might as well check it out now - Beach Rotana in Abu Dhabi, Amwaj Rotana in Dubai, The Cove in Ras Al Khaimah, Centro Barsha in Dubai, City Centre Rotana in Doha, and Oryx Rotana in Doha. So, Needless to say, we were staying at Salalah Rotana during our time in Salalah.
When we arrived at the resort, we couldn't see much as it was pitch dark. We could still feel the serenity of the place we had arrived at.
Do you feel it too?
We had an absolutely warm welcome at 3:30 am in the morning with this refreshing watermelon cooler, and face towels. Just what we need after a not-so-very long yet tiring because it was past midnight trip. (Are we aging?)
I am normally that person who needs to take a 100 pictures of the room before we jump into bed. I broke all norms this time because I didn't have the energy to. I decided I would do that after a good night's rest.
The main lobby at Salalah Rotana is a stunning combination of arches, and inspired from the old style Omani castles. Set on the pristine Arabian sea coast and surrounded by breathtaking natural setting, the resort provides five-star opulence infused with traditonal Omani hospitality.
Daylight gives a completely different feel of the same dark spaces we walked through in the night. Both magnificent in their own way!
Our Room at Salalah Rotana
We were staying in a Deluxe Suite and it was our home during our time in Salalah. It was quite spacious with everything you needed for a good vacation - quite spacious, stand alone bath tub, guest toilet, a balcony with seating outdoors, a dining area.
It was interesting to see how the furniture was placed in the room. It was carved in from the ground. I think it is probably made to withstand the probable violent conditions of the Arabian sea considering that only a month before our visit, massive cyclone had hit the entire region of Salalah causing massive damages not limited to uprooting of trees, disappearance of roads, and even the resort was closed down for a month during this time. So, I think the way the furniture is placed is ingenious.
The Facilities at Salalah Rotana
The staff at the Saffron Restaurant which was the all-day dining restaurant had almost become like family. We had our meals here and at The Beach Restaurant, and our parting dinner at The Silk Road. We were in Salalah during the World cup finals and the game was aired in The Beach Restaurant. The Beach Restaurant has a very chilled out vibe. It is right by the sea and I think it would be much better in the months where the seas are calm and the skies are blue. During Khareef, the Arabian sea is pretty wild and scary to be around. The Red flags are always raised high, and the waves sound quite angry. So, if you are into beach activities, you need to be visiting the city from October onwards. However, if you are looking for a respite from the heat, then Salalah is a great getaway.
The Silk Road experience was quite a beautiful one - the restaurant was so pretty, the ambience very pleasant, the plating so creative, and the dishes excellent.
Salalah Rotana also has a spa and fitness center. The spa which is Zen is the wellness brand by Rotana. Walking through the spa took me back through my memories at The Cove. This feeling I have more than often been able to connect with Rotana hotels only during all of my travels. There is something about the hotel in different cities and places that brings you back and forth between different experiences.
During our time there, we also made sure to stay in and try the in-room dining servies. It is not a vacation if you haven't had at least one breakfast in bed.
Khareef season has the ocean in full fury, the waves are violent, and scary. The waters are a shade of white to grey. However, the main attraction of Salalah in Khareef is the land. It turns green with flora everywhere - so much green that it is coolness to the eyes. I have made a comprehensive list of places to see when you are planning your trip to Salalah so you don't miss out on making the most of your visit. We also explored Dhofar with Salalah Rotana and also explored a bit of it ourselves. We had an incredible tour guide Qasim (Arranged by the hotel) who was very knowledgable, hospitable, and spoke fluent Arabic as well as English.
Note: During the monsoon or Kharif season, you might experience troubles with mosquitoes. We didn't particularly find them during most of our journey except near the springs or where water was stagnant. These mosquitoes are so tiny and can barely be noticed. So don't tell you haven't been warned. The good thing is you will find people selling mosquito repellants everywhere.
Disclaimer: I was a guest of Salalah Rotana. However, all opinions and views shared are mine.