Al Bustan Palace Hotel

Since arriving an hour ago, we have been showered with attendants each offering a different gift or service.  First came cool moist towelettes offered on a pewter platter to wipe away the dust from out trip.  Then appeared a wooden box full of dates stuffed with a variety of things;  I chose one filled with pistachios, I think.  Then, I chose another … and another.  They were other worldly.  The next attendant offered tiny porcelein teacups full of Omani tea.  All this was while Tom completed registration.

Early this morning, we ate breakfast in Khasab before being driven to the airport for our flight to Muscat.  This was a chance to observe more locals and observe their manner and dress.  The flight was a short 45 minutes.  It took longer than that for our luggage to arrive – it was sent to the wrong terminal.  Our driver had met us as we descended from the plane, however, and took care of everything.  He was young, his birthday is tomorrow; he will be only 31 years old and has three small boys who have a surprise for him.  He amiably told us about everything we were passing as we drove through several small neighborhoods on the way to our hotel.

Al Bustan was built for oil-rich royalty.  His Majesty Sultan Qaboos was going to host a meeting of the GCC but had no place for royalty to stay, so he built a palace for their comfort.  The chosen location was home to a village of fisherman, but no problem -he built a new neighborhood for them, replacing their old homes with beautiful new ones, complete with air conditioning.  So now, Muscat had its first luxury hotel, which has been voted the finest in the Middle East.  Words cannot describe the interior beauty – better to Google the hotel and see photos there.Notable, however was a gingerbread house to the right as we entered and an enormous Christmas tree across the lobby – it must be several stories high.

Ah, another attendant ringing a our door . . . This one brought a box of chocolates and personal note of welcome, just for me!


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M.A., Middle Eastern and North African Studies. Wanderer. Author, "When Freedom Called: at the front and home front in the Gulf War", 2011.

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