Located just a few hundred kilometers from Dubai, the region of Khasab, in the heart of the Omani Musandam Peninsula, is a hidden gem between the sea and the mountains. Reviewed : Asia has explored it for you…
GETTING TO KHASAB
The journey to Khasab from Dubai is straightforward and hassle-free. It will take you about 2.5 hours, passing through Ras Al Khaimah, to reach the border checkpoint separating the United Arab Emirates from the Sultanate of Oman.
The visa procedure for residents as well as for French or European passport holders visiting the UAE is relatively simple. After passing through the UAE passport control, you’ll just need to fill out an information form and pay the visa fee on the Omani side. Then, it’s another approximately 30-minute drive on a scenic road nestled between the sea and the mountains to reach the small port of Khasab.
A DAY IN KHASAB FJORDS
As soon as we arrive at the port, we board a traditional dhow that will serve as our means of transportation for the entire day. Comfortably seated on traditional carpets and cushions on the floor, our journey into the heart of Khasab’s fjords, stretching over about twenty kilometers, begins.
Our guide, Jalal, explains the basic life of the fjord’s inhabitants on scattered islands, mainly fishermen, whose daily routines are shaped by the supply of potable water, food, and essential goods brought by boats from the port.
On several occasions, we have the chance to get up close to dolphin colonies that swim near our boat. A unique spectacle and an unforgettable memory for both children and adults. Our lunch on the boat allows us to recharge between sessions of swimming and snorkeling during which we were able to almost touch the vibrant-colored fish that populate the seabed of Khasab’s fjords.
Returning to the port at 4:00 PM, we hit the road to our hotel for an overnight stay.
A NIGHT AT ATANA KHASAB
Situated just steps away from Khasab port, Atana Mussandam is located 1km or a 5-minute drive from it. Managed by the Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN), Atana Musandam reflects the tranquil spirit of Oman. Inspired by a typical Omani village, this beautiful structure offers 110 rooms and suites spread across 8 buildings, each with a maximum of 3 floors.
At the reception, Arabic coffee and dates are offered as you complete the check-in procedures. The doors of the resort then open to you. A true oasis of greenery nestled between the limestone mountains of the region and the Gulf waters.
Atana Mussandam is a human-scale resort, with 3-story buildings surrounding the hotel’s infinity pool, which directly overlooks the waters of Khasab with a distant view of the small port.
Despite the surrounding aridity depicted by the rocky mountains surrounding the hotel, the interior of the resort is adorned with greenery. The banana plants and other trees growing in the hotel’s gardens almost make you feel like you’re in the tropics.
“From here, you can witness the daily routines of fishermen or simply relax while gazing at the calm sea or the grandeur of the surrounding mountains.”
Each of the accommodations is comfortably furnished and features a private balcony and/or terrace with a captivating view of the waterway surrounding the resort. From here, you can witness the daily routines of fishermen or simply relax while gazing at the calm sea or the grandeur of the surrounding mountains.
The hotel rooms are notably spacious, with a sitting area and a generous terrace to enjoy the surroundings. The rooms are built and decorated in a traditional Omani style, featuring, for example, an exposed ceiling made of palm fronds reminiscent of local fishermen’s huts, and furniture or doors made of solid wood. However, you will benefit from all the comfort and modernity of a recent hotel inside the rooms.
During your stay, you can enjoy your meals at Al Mawra Restaurant. Al Mawra is the traditional name of a cooking stove used in Omani homes in the Sharqiyah region. At the restaurant, you can enjoy a quality continental breakfast in the morning, and for lunch and dinner, there’s an à la carte service with a selection of international dishes and local specialties, to be savored indoors or on the restaurant’s outdoor terrace.
Although our stay was very short, we had a pleasant time in the Khasab region. Due to its proximity to the UAE, the Musandam Peninsula is the perfect place for a short getaway, whether for a weekend or even a weekday, to escape the city routine. If you have the opportunity to stay overnight, we recommend Atana Mussandam without hesitation, offering a unique setting between the sea and the mountains, and an ideal family stay.
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