Friday, April 12: We wake up in The Gulf Sand Hotel in Al Musanaah to find we have no water. We are planning to go the The Chedi, one of the most upscale hotels in Muscat, for the Friday breakfast buffet, so this is not acceptable. I run out to the front desk and since the receptionist doesn’t speak English I do all kinds of pantomimes to show him that I have no water in my room. They run around looking for people in the know, and finally a Bangladeshi guy comes, turns a switch and fills up the water tank. Sweet relief!
We drive to Muscat, which takes us over an hour since we get a little lost and end up driving in the wrong direction past the sprawling new airport that is under construction. When we finally get there, I am struck by the Zen-like atmosphere of the Chedi. It has plenty of simple white arches and waterfall gardens, but it feels more Japanese than Arab. The 5-star boutique hotel fuses together traditional Omani architecture with Zen, Arabic, Japanese and European influences.
The website for the Chedi describes the hotel as follows: “Where the majestic Al Hajar Mountains meet their luminous reflection in the serene waters of the Gulf of Oman, the Chedi Muscat rises amidst an elegantly landscaped twenty-one acre garden oasis with 158 Omani influenced guestrooms and villas. This sublime yet central location equally suits leisure and business travellers while six distinct restaurants, a just opened thirteen-suite Balinese spa, three swimming pools, including the 103-metre Long Pool, 400-square metre health club plus two executive meeting rooms enhance Muscat’s considerable cultural attractions.”
We decide to sit inside as it’s quite muggy and hot in Muscat today. We’re directed to several stations where we can get typical breakfast fare, pastries or desserts. We both desperately need coffee as we haven’t really woken up.
After we get our coffee, I pile my plate with olives, yogurt, feta and Arabic cheese, spinach, sautéed mushrooms, potato cakes, and chicken sausages. We both order omelets with cheddar cheese, mushrooms and tomatoes.
The breakfast buffet runs from 7:30-10:30 a.m. and costs 15 rials plus 17% taxes. Our total bill is 17.5 rials, or about $45. After eating our omelets, we head to the pastry bar, but I’m too full to indulge much. This is the problem with buffets; I never can eat enough to feel like I get my money’s worth.
After breakfast, we walk around the grounds and see the outdoor seating areas, the pool, and the beach from a distance. We’re not allowed to go to the beach because we’re not hotel guests. Anyway, it doesn’t matter to me because I’m underwhelmed. I think I prefer Al Bustan Palace or the Shangri-La to the Chedi.
After breakfast, I try to put flyers up for the sale of my car in the Al Fair grocery stores around Muscat that expats frequent, but the bulletin boards are too full and one of them won’t even take my flyer. They tell me it costs 5 rials to hang it up for a week. I put one up in the Medinat Sultan Qaboos Al Fair, but I guess that 5 rial cost will limit me to putting the flyers in only a few places.
On the way back from Muscat, I stop to show another Omani my car and he makes an offer which I still feel is too low. Oh well, I still have time, so I’m not going to panic. Not yet. 🙂