Salalah is known for its tropical resemblance to the south Indian state, and the Crowne Plaza boasts one of the primest stretches of beach.
We are busy bees at Y so when the chance of a staycation comes up, we grab it with both hands. And we also want to unwind in a resort that does everything it says on the tin, or online; to be precise. Driving towards the Crowne Plaza Resort Salalah reminds us a bit of being in Kerala, India. With its lush greenery, vast palm trees and roadside market stalls, we can indulge in as many fresh coconuts and bananas as we fancy.
At just 25 minutes’ drive away from each, the resort was the first hotel to set up shop in Salalah and is within easy access to the city centre as well as the airport.Here, we’ve got one of 153 spacious rooms in a resort that includes differently-priced suites and villas. And the view from our window takes in the vast beauty of the 42 acres of lush-but-landscaped, verdant gardens. After checking in, and checking the lobby’s impressive gilt-like décor, we can’t fail to clock the sun-kissed Arabian sea.As the turquoise-tinted waves lap up against the vast, white silk sandy beach, it doesn’t take much to sink back into a self-induced sense of inner tranquility. But of course, we’re not averse to a bit of gentle exercise at Y so we are in the right place: there are three conjoined swimming pools to choose from. Therefore, we can’t help diving in; discreetly, mind, as we are not Olympic divers and certainly not as sylph-like.On returning to our poolside loungers, the Beach Front restaurant is on hand and ready to serve us.
There are courts for squash and tennis, and unfortunately we don’t have time to find our inner Federer. Nor can we take up the opportunities for scuba diving and witness the wonders of marine wildlife. Never mind, we’ll do it next time. After freshening up, we manage to scrub up nicely for our dinner appointment at the Dolphin Beach Restaurant. It’s a Lebanese night, and because the restaurant is currently being refurbished, we find ourselves under a gazebo at a table placed next to the pool.
We prefer this actually; al fresco dining is delightful, providing it’s neither chilly nor chucking it down. Back in the hotel room, and tired after a long week, the silence of the resort and scented spray on the pillow is just sweeping us into a deep slumber.It’s just as well as we need our energy for our tour with Al Qasim Tours tomorrow morning.
My favourite place- It has to be the white, sandy beach that offers an almost endless vista for the ages. We simply get lost in the rhythm of the wind-driven waves as we gaze out to the horizon, and let the sense of peace overwhelm us. The sunbathers on the beach obviously feel the same, and their enjoyment of their languor is palpable. There is also the incredible panorama from the top of the Samhan mountain that Abdulaziz from Al Qasim tours takes us to. The view is so vast and high it feels as if we are witnessing a real-life satellite image from space, with its natural upward protection of the earth’s surface. We are enjoying the silence, and it’s nothing like we have ever experienced before.
Highlights- Witnessing the change that Cyclone Luban has made near Wadi Derbat. It has changed nature so much that new and smaller waterfalls between rocky summits have been formed; the water falling into gently glistening turquoise pools. The beauty just satisfies our souls with an overwhelming feeling of sheer bliss. We also spot hundreds of camels on their own little missions on the roads, and witness them in the wadi elegantly drinking water. Another highlight is the Lebanese dinner buffet at the Dolphin Beach Restaurant. The salad selection is so big you won’t know where to start. Why not sample a little bit of everything? It all comes from the freshest of ingredients. The chefs can be seen preparing batches of kebabs on hot coals as well as freshly-caught fish. And all of this under the star-studded night sky amid a fresh sea breeze that is just a stone’s throw away.
Lowlights- Be careful of the many camels and cattle that trudge along city, highway and mountain roads. Drive slowly to avoid hitting them.
Getting there- You can fly directly to Salalah from Muscat with SalamAir and Oman Air, at reasonable prices. Alternatively you can drive to Salalah from Muscat which, at a comfortable speed, can be reached within eight hours.
1. Relax on or stroll along the expansive beach.
2. See the sights of Salalah with Al Qasim Tours.
3. Go scuba diving, golfing or play beach volleyball.
4. Unwind at any of the three swimming pools.
5. Enjoy some fresh fruit at a roadside market stall.