Alila Jabal Akhdar is a luxury resort, perched atop the Al Hajar mountain range, 2000 meters above sea level.  The resort sits on the edge of the cliff, overlooking a spectacular gorge, and offers impeccable views of the surrounding terrain and rugged beauty. And if that was not reason enough to visit this property, the sky gazing at night is other worldly. A nature lover’s delight, if I may add. Jabal Akhdar, which means ‘the Green Mountain’ in Arabic, stands in stunning contrast to the rest of the country, where the terrain is arid and desert like. Which also makes the mountain (and the resort) a popular destination for the locals trying to escape the heat.

I spent a couple of nights at the property, during Ramadan – which made for an interesting stay – while the resort and amenities were luxurious, the food options were restrictive, and borderline poor – for Alila standards.

Alila Jabal Akhdar – Booking and Getting there

The resort is a Category-6 property in the Hyatt portfolio, with a standard redemption rate of 25,000 points. For our stay I had initially booked a ‘Standard Suite Points+Cash’ rate for the Jabal Terrace for 20,000 points + 150 OMR. 

The resort is 174km from Muscat International airport, a ~2.5 hour drive through some seriously winding mountain roads. The journey can be completed only on a 4×4 vehicle, and there is an appropriate police-check just as the mountain roads begin. Vehicles that do not meet the standards are turned around, for everyone’s safety. I was glad that the car rental agent at the airport had asked me about my trip, and insisted on switching my booking from regular hatchback to a 4×4 SUV.

The mountain roads were steep, and wrapped around the mountains in many loops, with no barrier between oncoming traffic. And if that is not your cup of tea, I would advise to book a ride through the resort, which offers pick-up and drop-off services from the airport (MCT), and other Muscat hotels.

Arrival and first impressions

Rolling into the gates of the resort felt like a stunning reward for the 2.5 hours of challenging drive. The aesthetics of the resort fit in seamlessly with the terrain around – the earthy wood and stone structure of the property jived with the rugged green of Juniper trees, and desert shrubs, in perfect harmony.

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Alila Jabal Akhdar – Entrance to main building

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Lobby and seating

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Check-in desk

At check-in, we were informed that the Jabal Terrace had a firm rule of 2 guests only. Since we were a party of 3, they proactively offered us an upgrade to the Loft Suite for an additional 50 OMR per night. I was more than happy to pay that additional fee to be in a bi-level suite. At this point our overall booking was updated to a points + cash rate of  20,000 points + 200 OMR (~$650 CAD) per night, for the bi-level Loft Suite. With the cash rate for the Loft Suite listed at 380 OMR (~$1300 CAD) per night, the upgrade option was fair and I had no hesitation in taking ‘the deal’.

The staff  that helped us check-in, were welcoming, curtious, and gave us the brief on the ‘rules of Ramadan’ for our stay at the property. We were offered a welcome drink of Arabic coffee, with dates and Tahina, which was served in the lounge, away from public view. I thought it was a wonderful way to greet the visitors and gave a glimpse of the personalized service that Alila is known for as a brand.

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Arabic coffee, with dates and Tahina

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Lobby area in main building

The lobby area offered serval style of seating arrangements, along with walls studded with local artwork showcasing Omani culture and tradition.

Alila Jabal Akhdar – Loft Suite

The all-suite resort includes 84 suites and 2 villas, spread across the clifftop in clusters of 4-6 suites. Each suites offers great combination of privacy with stunning views of the Al Hajar mountain range around. The earthy tone of wood and stone continue throughout the resort, giving it an organic consistency in an eco-friendly setting.

The loft suite assigned to us was located just past the main building, overlooking the beautiful gorge, and offered breathtaking sunset views!

The Loft Suite is a 1120 sq ft bi-level suite with a wonderful gated entryway equipped with tiny desert garden, a coffee table setup, and sunbathing chairs and umbrella. The suite consists of a spacious living room, kids/guest room with bunk beds, a full bathroom on the main floor, and a master bedroom with full bath on the level above. An ideal suite for families, the decor of the suite screams Omani opulence, with no piece of artwork out of place and only adding to the earthy palette of the resort.

Alila Jabal Akhdar

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Bi-level Loft Suite

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Loft Suite – Living room, with full work desk

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Loft Suite – Master Bedroom

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Loft Suite walk-in closet

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Master bathroom , with standing shower

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Sun lit living room

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Kids/Guest room with bunk beds

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Guest Bath, with standing shower

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Globalist welcome gift – Tray of baked goodies, with housemade drinks and a bowl of fruits!

Alila Jabal Akhdar – Resort and Views

Have I mentioned how breathtaking the resort views are?! I will let the pioctures do the talking on this one 🙂

Alila Jabal Akhdar

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Resort dotted with beautifully perched viewing decks

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

View of the Cliff fgrom the deck

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Stunning views of the Gorge and Al Hajar Mountains

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Never ending ‘Golden Hour’

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Iftar seating for locals to break Ramadan fast, as a family

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar – Food options

Rather surprisingly, Alila Jabal Akhdar has only one restuarant on property – Juniper restaurant offers an “international fare inspired by Arabic cuisine”. The only other eating establishment on the property is Rose Lounge, which was closed to visitors during Ramadan. Rose Lounge was dedicated for Ramadan Iftar (breaking fast) and Suhoor (pre-fast) meals for muslim guests.

I understand prioritizing Iftar meals for Muslim guests, but what was odd that both nights Rose lounge was absolutely empty, and yet the menu was not being made avialable to non-muslim guests at the resort. I would have gladly paid to experience the Iftar dinner, had there been an opportunity.

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Ramadan Iftar menu – Rose Lounge

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Rose Lounge – Day time

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Rose Lounge – Seating

The main restuarant of the resort, Juniper, was a popular spot as the only place guests could eat. The outdoor patio which usually overlooks the mountains was covered up during Ramadan, and was the designated spot of food service during the day. The restaurant decor was warm and ambient, with a variety of seating options (late evenings only).

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Juniper Restaurant – Indoors

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Juniper Restuarant

 

My honest opinion of the food options at Juniper was that it was sub-par. The menu does not have a theme, and comes across as a shoddy mix of items chosen to brand the menu as an ‘international fare’. Unfortunately in trying to offer “options” the restaurant fails at being authentic to any of the cuisine it borrows from. ‘Jack of All, Master of None’. Over multiple meals we tried as many items as we could, and unfortunately were underwhelmed each time.

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Juniper Restaurant – Menu

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Juniper Restaurant – International Fare

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Juniper Restaurant – Jack of all, Master of none

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Juniper Restaurant – Sweet Selection

Perhaps my favourite part of every meal was the individual fresh baked breads served at each table, with a side of labneh and honey. Delish!

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Complimentary fresh baked bread, with labneh and honey

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Lunch – Lahmacun (flat bread with lamb meat)

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Grilled Halibut

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Veg Biryani

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Dinner – Omani Lobster Salad

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Dinner – Goan Fish Curry

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Dinner – Paneer Makhni

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Breakfast spread brought to each table

 

Alila Jabal Akhdar

Breakfast – Alila Foul Medames

 

If there is on thing holding this property back, is the food selection. And from what I have read online, others have felt let down by the food options as well. The service too was very restrained, and nothing to talk home about – limited staff.

Alila Jabal Akhdar – Takeaway

This is a must-visit property, and I am looking forward to returning for a longer stay. The resort is stunning, and boasts of several activities to engage guests of all ages and taste. Unfortunately, many day activities were suspended due to Ramadan, and that is totally understandable. The complimentary stargazing activity was the highlight of my trip, learned so much, and it further highlighted the beauty of the location. While the spa timings did not work out for us on this trip, we made great use of the beautiful trails around the property which offered even more views of the gorge, the mountains, and ofcourse, Alila Jabal Akhdar itself – beautifully perched on the edge of the cliff.

Alila Jabal Akhdar review

Alila Jabal Akhdar – Birds eye view