Our Experience at the Alila Jabal Akhdar, Oman
Perched discretely atop the mountainside 2000 meters above sea level, lies the Alila Jabal Akhdar which is, in my eyes, the jewel of Jabal Akhdar. Perfectly positioned very much in one of the most remote locations in the mountains, the property is remarkably camouflaged within its epic surroundings, an area of extreme natural beauty and one which overlooks one of Oman’s most breathtaking ravines. We were in for a treat.
With access to the mountains only by 4-wheel drive, our ascent was a scenic adventure, with hairpin curves revealing phenomenal vistas at every turn. On our final approach, winding through pomegranate, juniper and olive trees, orchards and tended gardens, it suddenly became so apparent why this pioneering property is so talked about. The smell of burning frankincense allured us into the beautifully appointed lobby, and soon after we were greeted by smiling faces, and the traditional Omani welcome of kahwa (Arabic coffee) and dates. It was this warm welcome, and the attentive, but fuss-free staff throughout our short stay, that really made it a memorable one for us, and confirming why this property is so great for our clients.
What I love about Alila Jabal Akhdar is its wonderful sense of place. Touches of Omani heritage and tradition are threaded throughout the property in the form of beautiful copper ornaments, handmade pottery from Bahla, and fort-like doors crafted from solid wood adorning the contemporary and minimalist rooms. Every one of the suites looks out onto the dramatic canyon, however it’s the first floor Ridge View Suites in the detached blocks that seal the deal, with an elevated position, greater privacy, and the bathroom of dreams, with a free-standing marble inlaid bath framing that all important vista. It was hard to tear me away from this, but there was still so much more to see, and do!
With so many hotels now focusing on becoming eco-minded, it can be difficult to pinpoint exactly how they make a difference, however at Alila Jabal Akhdar this became clear within hours of our arrival. As the sun was creeping beneath the rather threatening clouds on our first evening, we took a walk around the property and had a chance to see firsthand Alila’s efforts and commitment to sustaining an eco-friendly future, starting with the organic vegetable garden and their small colony of bees, all making optimum use of the Mediterranean climate they are blessed with. Our culinary cravings were indeed suitably settled that evening! Alila also produces gorgeous juniper berry and rose scented handmade soaps, frankincense candles and they filter and bottle their own mineral water on site – reiterating how they are striving towards being as environmentally conscious possible.
It wouldn’t be right not to touch on the endless number of activities, trekking and immersive cultural experiences which can be done right on Alila’s doorstep. If only I had time to try them all! An absolute must for any daredevil and adrenaline junkie is Alila’s renowned via ferrata – Italian for ‘iron path’ – which sees you strapping into a harness and clambering across the mountain face and down a steep section of rock. Unfortunately (or fortunately!), the weather prohibited me from attempting this, but I have only heard excellent things. If it’s trekking that’s your thing, the Lost Village Hike and Mirage in the Mountains are both stunning trails, leading you through wadis and farmlands abundant with pomegranate and walnut trees.
For all of these reasons, and more, I really would encourage our clients to take the time and stay a bit longer, relax into Alila’s surroundings, and make the most of the outdoor pursuits, which are superb. Alila Jabal Akhdar was my idea of heaven, and has only reaffirmed that I’ll be back here before I know it.