Thursday, September 20:  Today, to get over the fact that my vacation is over and that I’m back for another year of work, I treat myself to a “day of paradise” at Shangri-La’s Barr al Jissah Resort and Spa. The offer is valid until October 31, 2012, so I figure I better hurry and take advantage of it.

the special offer for “A Day in Paradise” on the back of the Spring 2012 edition of Muscat Time Out

Entering Al Bandar Hotel ~ part of the Sangri-La Barr al Jissah complex

the lobby at Al Bandar Hotel

the beach view from my lounge chair to the south

the view to the north

I arrive later than I want to because of horrible traffic in Ruwi and just a late start in general, so I don’t really get to take advantage of the “full day.”  When I arrive at around 11:30 a.m., I scope out a lounge chair overlooking the beach, and immediately a guy from the hotel comes to set up a beach blanket that is made to fit the chair, along with some beach towels.  He then runs off and comes back with a miniature cooler full of ice and 3 bottles of water.  It’s so lovely to be treated as a princess!

the lawn area where I pick a chair for lounging and sunning

view toward the Sea of Oman

I sit and enjoy the views and read a bit and then I go for a little ride on the lazy river.  The water takes me quite a long distance all the way from Al Bandar Hotel, where I am sitting, to Al Waha Hotel at the far end of the beach, and then back again.

the lazy river

Later I sit and dry off so I won’t be soaking wet when I go for the lunch buffet at Al Tanoor restaurant.  The lunch is included in the price of 22 rials ($57), which is pretty good considering that if you go to the Chedi for the day, it’s 20 rials just to use the pool.  The buffet lunch is AMAZING!! It’s a huge spread of every kind of food you can imagine: cold salads, breads and cheeses, smoked salmon and meats, mixed grills, Indian food, and a colorful & enticing array of desserts.  I am still of course in a Greek frame of mind, so I order a glass of wine, which is about 4.40 rials including taxes (~ $11.43!!), much more expensive than the Greek counterparts which were around 3 euros ($3.90).  I guess I’m back in Muscat, with its high-priced food & drinks!

At the entrance to Al Tanoor Restaurant

the cheese and bread bar at Al Tanoor’s fabulous lunch buffet

one of the chefs in Al Tanoor

my first plate

dessert, anyone?

After my very leisurely lunch, I take a dip in the ocean with its salty and rolling waves. It’s cooler than I expect it to be and I float about in the water for a while.  Then I stroll around by the pool and take a dip in the crystal blue, and much cooler, water.  In Muscat’s heat and humidity, it is highly refreshing to float around in nice cool water.  Later I move my stuff and lounge on a pool bed that is situated poolside.  At that time, another man comes to bring me a fresh cooler full of ice and water bottles, along with a cool moist towel I can use to wipe my face.

the pools at Al Bandar ~ the sand-tinted part is like a concrete beach

crystal blue pools ~ so inviting

blue, blue, blue

At that time I read awhile and take a nice little nap.   Finally, when I’ve had enough of sun and heat, I take a shower in the Health Club, borrowing the hair dryer they have at the front desk, and take off to do other, not so relaxing things, in Muscat before driving back home to Nizwa.

A very lovely day back in Oman…. 🙂

chess by the sea, anyone?

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