Which Muscat Hotel Is Best? Chedi Vs Kempinski Vs Ritz Carlton, Al Bustan Palace Vs Shangri-La

Tips : Accommodation

The Chedi versus Kempinski vs Al Bustan Palace by Ritz Carlton vs Shangri-La Al Husn are often considered the best four luxury hotels in Muscat, Oman, but which is best?

We think that the best luxury hotel overall is probably The Chedi with its minimal design, incredible pools, intimate service plus it has a club lounge with an outdoor area. The bad points about this hotel are the fact that the rooms don’t have any outdoor space and the beach is not that nice and the setting is uninteresting when compared to the Al Bustan Palace by Ritz Carlton and Shangri-La Al Husn which are also incredible properties with a more beautiful setting. The Kempinski is also a great choice with a madly impressive lobby, club lounge, and, being one of the most recent hotel openings in Muscat, Oman. The Kempinski is also a fabulous choice as it has a better beach area Than The Chedi with golden sands.

Best for couples: Shangri-La Al Husn for the beautiful adults-only beach and The Chedi for the intimate setting and the stunning pools (2 are also adults only).

  • Best for families: If you want to be in town, go for the Kempinski. We also like the Al Bustan Palace with its beautiful setting
  • Best for the beach: Al Bustan Palace by Ritz Carlton and Shangri-La Al Husn
  • Best for restaurants: We love the restaurants at The Chedi
  • Best for club lounge: Kempinski and The Chedi both have a club lounge

Wherever you decide to stay in Oman or elsewhere, book via our luxury travel concierge. We offer free upgrades, free breakfasts, and free perks at hotels including the Four Seasons, Park Hyatt, Ritz Carlton, InterContinental, and more at no extra cost.

When to Visit?

The best time to visit Oman is between November and March when the cooler air enables you to see the mountain scenery and daytime temperatures average at 25°C. For the rest of the year, Oman is hot and hazy, particularly between May and August. Conversely, May to August is the time to visit if you want to pick up a bargain and don’t mind the heat.

Location

The Chedi is in the middle of nowhere but right on the beach. While the pools are incredible here, the beach is disappointing. The Kempinski is at the other end of the same stretch of beach as the Chedi and both hotels are close to the airport. Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa and the Ritz Carlton Al Bustan Palace are further up the coast from the airport and over the other side of town to The Chedi and the Kempinski. They are also further from the airport. The location of the Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa and the Ritz Carlton Al Bustan Palace is much more dramatic than the Kempinski and Chedi but they are both slightly out of the way if you want to explore the many interesting places in Muscat.

Style

The Chedi Muscat is the most elegant and stylish resort in the greater Muscat area. For resort look and exquisite food are important to you, The Chedi wins.

Al Bustan Palace is managed by Ritz-Carlton making it a Marriott Bonvoy loyalty points hotel for redemption and earning points. It has a spectacular lobby and grounds resort grounds.

Shangri-La Al Husn is a contemporary resort design influenced by Arabian elements and the design is as good as the Chedi, but it is adults-only, so it can be discounted if you are traveling with your family.

The Kempinski is new, gorgeous, and impressive, we love the lobby and the new rooms here.

Beach

Al Bustan Palace by Ritz-Carlton is located on the most beautiful stretches of beach in and around Muscat. It is a private “guest only” beach and is just brilliant.

Shangri-La Al Husn enjoys a lovely coastal cliff setting, has a gorgeous and private beach plus it only caters to adults, so it is extremely peaceful.

The Chedi beach is unattractive and disappointing and the Kempinski beach while better than the Chedi, is not as beautiful as the Shangri-La Al Husn or the Al Bustan Palace by Ritz-Carlton.

Rooms

Overall, Al Bustan Palace has the worst rooms and communal areas but has recently undergone a refurbishment so as long as you request a refurbished room you should be fine. We love their lagoon access room particularly if you are staying with children as you can walk straight into the pool from your private terrace. The rooms at the other three hotels are all great although those at the Kempinski are the newest.

Pools

One of the great things about The Chedi is that the resort has 3 magnificent pools, two of them being adults only, making it a great choice for a couple’s gateway.

The Shangri-La Bar Al Jissah Resort, which includes Al Husn, offers guests six swimming pools and a lazy river, the pool specific to the Al Husn is the tranquil infinity pool, the perfect spot for a romantic retreat, Children under 16 are not allowed access to the Al Husn private beach or Al Husn pool but if you have kids, consider the neighboring Al Bandar and Al Waha where children can enjoy all the facilities including Lazy River, children’s pool, play-room, and aquatic play area.

Kempinski Hotel Muscat offers two pools and a separate kids pool to spend your day active or just chill by your sunbed. Head to the main pool and enjoy stunning views overlooking the ocean. Choose from a variety of healthy detox drinks and juices from the Pool Bar as you soak up the sun. A shaded kids pool located adjacent to the infinity pool is available for our little guests to enjoy fun times. Should you crave for a hideaway, choose our adult-only cascade pool and relax until sunset time in secluded privacy.

Al Bustan Palace by Ritz Carlton is fronted by four swimming pools, including one for kids, again there are plenty of pools to enjoy.

Club Lounge

The Chedi and the Kempinski both have great club lounges, there is little to choose between them. You can see our thoughts about the best hotel club lounges in Muscat Oman separately.

Shangri-La Al Husn offers free afternoon tea and evening pre-dinner cocktails so a lounge becomes less necessary here. There is no club lounge at the Ritz Carlton Al Bustan Palace.

Other Options?

For spectacular mountain views, try the Six Senses Zighy Bay or the Alila Jabal Akhdar for 2 or 3 nights and combine this with your stay on the beach.

We have reviewed all four hotels separately below to help you make your decision:

1. The Chedi Muscat

The five-star Chedi Muscat is the most elegant and stylish resort in the greater Muscat area (with prices to match). It is located on 21 acres of tranquil gardens at the foot of the rugged Al Hajar mountain range. The neatly manicured gardens offer an elegant mix of Omani architecture and an Asian Zen-style. The resort is edged by 370 meters of pristine (if not overly attractive) private beachfront which slopes into the turquoise blue waters of the Gulf of Oman.

The Chedi Muscat is Oman’s only member of The Leading Hotels of the World and has to be one of the most stylish, minimalist resorts in the world. The lobby is particularly memorable as it is inspired by a Bedouin tent! The resort is convenient to get to with just a 15-minute transfer from the Muscat International Airport and a 20-minute transfer to Muscat’s business center but there is not much directly around the hotel.

Sparkling waters, vibrant gardens, and dramatic mountains can be enjoyed through the grand windows in all 158 of its tasteful, well-appointed guestrooms and suites offering panoramic views of the gardens or the Gulf. Unfortunately, none of the rooms have outside space or balconies and none feature a sunken bathtub with the exception of the more expensive Club Suites. If you like a big bed, don’t book the smallest rooms (category ‘serai’) as they come with a queen-sized bed rather than a king-sized bed.

There is also a stunning signature spa, diverse cuisine, and attentive service at this luxury resort. Three outdoor temperature-controlled swimming pools, with 2 of them being adults only, will tempt you into the water, including the infinity Chedi Pool and the 103-meter long pool (pictured above), the region’s longest pool and a brilliant pool if you like to swim for exercise, as you can just keep on swimming!

To spark romance, or add something special to your honeymoon, surprise your loved one with a private dinner by the beach complete with flowers & candles, flaming tiki torches, a bottle of champagne, your own private butler as the sunsets.

The lounge upgrade is well worth paying for because of the outdoor space. I can’t think of a better place to start your evening off. Book the Chedi via our luxury travel concierge and you will get also great free benefits at no extra cost:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Daily buffet breakfast for up to two in-room guests
  • $100 USD equivalent Resort/Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Complimentary welcome drink on arrival
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi
  • For Chedi Club Suite guests: Two complimentary 60-minute ancient Balinese massages, once per stay

2. Al Bustan Palace A Ritz-Carlton Hotel

The Al Bustan Palace is an iconic and original hotel of Oman built for the GCC Summit in 1985. This huge Ritz-Carlton hotel is part of the Marriott Bonvoy loyalty scheme if you are looking to earn or redeem points during your stay in Oman.

This is a beautiful hotel with a fantastic 1km long private beach set against a dramatic mountain landscape. The lobby is so large and impressive that it feels like a place of worship like a mosque but the size of the resort can be overwhelming and at times, you feel like you are a number at a conference rather than experiencing “true” luxury which smaller hotels are able to deliver.

The resort boasts beautiful grounds, with several pools and children can access them all, which is a good or a bad thing depending on your perspective. This hotel is very geared towards families if you are traveling with your children and offer scheduled activities every day throughout the peak period.

Rooms are classic in decor, in line with other Ritz Carlton hotels. Book a lagoon access room so you can walk straight into the pool from your private terrace.

Book Al Bustan Palace A Ritz-Carlton Hotel via our luxury travel concierge and you will get also great free benefits at no extra cost:

  • Early Check in and 4 pm late check-out, upon availability
  • Continental breakfast for two daily
  • Complimentary, customized amenity, activity or service
  • Personal Warm Welcome from Management
  • Clear Space in Sold out Situations
  • First Priority for requested rooms, bed types, connecting rooms, etc

3. Kempinski Hotel Muscat

The five-star Kempinski Hotel Muscat is the other Muscat hotel with the best club lounge and only recently opened in 2018. When choosing between the Chdi and the Kempinski, the club lounges are equally luxurious but I prefer the resort feel and the stylish verandah setting at the club lounge in the Chedi. Conversely, the beach is much nicer at the Kempinski. Both hotels are super choices.

Designed with a variety of local Omani influences, the hotel is one of the most impressive in Oman with an incredible lobby with a triple-height ceiling, stalactite style pillars dropping down to the marble floor and floor to ceiling glass windows offer views out over the pool and out to sea.

The hotel is surrounded by over 6 km of stunning coastline within the Al Mouj community and is near Muscat International Airport. The Kempinski Muscat Hotel features 3 stunning swimming pools: A kids’ pool, main pool (infinity pool), and the cascade pool (adults pool). It also has a fully equipped gym and spa, which guests can use during their stay. The beach is stunning, offering golden sands and loungers grouped under umbrellas.

4. Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa

You reach the palatial Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa through heavy carved wooden doors. Embrace the atmosphere drenched in tranquillity in this hotel which feels more like the home of an Omani royal. Dripping with regal opulence, the resort’s inviting design fuses Moorish and Omani architectural elements with the Sultanate of Oman’s rich heritage as reflected by strong cultural references throughout the décor.

As you explore further, the central courtyard is inspired by the Alhambra of Granada, and is vacant, with the exception of water features and palm trees. It is the perfect spot to enjoy complimentary cocktails each evening at sunset, that magical time of day when the sun is dropping below the horizon.

With 180 rooms and suites, including the largest entry-level rooms in Muscat, Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa elevates Omani hospitality to new heights, embracing the natural Asian service for which Shangri-La is renowned.

Luxurious amenities and privileges are extended to all guests. Butler service, daily afternoon tea, pre-dinner cocktails, pre-loaded iPods with personalized music selection, and complimentary mini-bar ensure all needs are catered to. A team of dedicated Shangri-La specialists is available to tailor your experience from pre-arrival to departure.

4 restaurants offer delicious Arabic and international dishes, and 2 lounges serve premium evening cocktails. Indulge and enjoy innovative dining experiences including a beach grill, serving freshly caught sustainable fish and meat selections, and the poolside café’s locally sourced and organic menu elements.

As a guest at Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa, you will enjoy signing privileges at 15 additional dining venues across adjacent sister property Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. The hotel’s spectacular location also sets the scene for some very romantic outdoor dining experiences.

The private and secluded 100-meter beach and infinity pool are reserved for the exclusive use of guests Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa. Elsewhere on this beautiful property, you can relax at the brand new Hareer Spa by L’occitane, due to launch in March 2018, or work out at the state-of-the-art fitness center.

Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa strives to provide an atmosphere of the utmost tranquillity, and thus maintains a policy of only inviting guests over the age of twelve. While this hotel is wonderful, it is therefore not one to choose if you are a family with young kids!

Book Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa via our luxury travel concierge and you will get also great free benefits at no extra cost:

  • Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
  • Complimentary full breakfast for two daily for duration of the stay
  • $100 USD equivalent Resort/Hotel credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full)
  • Bespoke VIP welcome amenity upon arrival
  • Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
  • Complimentary Wi-Fi

Note: Benefits offered correct at the time of writing but may be amended at discretion of the vendor.

Disclosure: Posts may be sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.