The Chedi Muscat – a GHM hotel
10 Traveller reviews from Holiday Watchdog
Great hotel but ... they need to sort that beach out !
"We have recently returned from a 10 day holiday in Muscat. We decided to try both the Al Bustan and The Chedi as both had been recommended by friends who live in Oman. The setting of the Al Bustan could not be more spectacular. The setting of the Chedi is not quite as amazing but its design is incredible - as a previous reviewer pointed out it is very cool and impeccably kept. I also agree that the Aircraft noise was not a big issue for us ... but then we live in South West London and are used to it !
The staff are also amazing - could not have been more helpful.
There is only one reason we would not return to The Chedi - the beach. There are only about 15 sun lounges on the beach - the rest being on the grass and around the pool. Most sun lounges on the beach were "booked" by about 8.00am (sorry...but it has to be said that they were all booked by German tourists who got up at 7.00am put a towel and a magazine on the lounge and then went back to bed only to return at about 10.00am!!) We both refused to get up in the morning to "book" a sun lounge and as a result in one week we never managed to sit on the beach. If you don't mind sitting around the pool or on the grass, then this should not be a problem, but unfortunately we both like sitting on the beach and looking at the sea. We complained about this problem to the manager on a few occasion but were just told to get to the beach earlier !! On one occasion we went scuba diving and at about 12.00 when we got to the beach /pool area there was nowhere for us to sit at all. I don't think this is acceptable for a five star hotel and we heard a lot of other people complaining about the same problem.
The Spa is fantastic and I would highly recommend it.
All in all we had a fantastic time, but would not return to The Chedi."
- Travel date: Sun 13th of November 2005
"Impossible to fault. Beautiful design - very cool and impeccably kept up. Everywhere there is a vista to a fountain or water garden. At night the lighting is subtle and amazing as are the braziers in the outside lounge areas. For those without children it is usch a relief to have a pool to yourselves. Ignore the posts about aicraft noise - there are about 6 flights over in the evening and the same during the day - you barely even notice. The beach is a bit pebbly, the sand is sand coloured not white and yes if you crane your neck you can see the desalination plant, but who cares when everything else is so perfect. The AL Bustan is a very nice hotel (fine sand beach and the sea is calmer - definitely better than the Chedi if you have kids and want a classic beach holiday)but simply not in the same league as the Chedi which is an exceptional experience. Only slight annoyance is the sitting system for dinner (1930 or 2100) and that you need always to book (likewise for spa treatments)."
- Travel date: Sat 12th of November 2005
Great service, fantastic hotel
"We have just returned from a 7 night break a The Chedi and can honestly say the hotel surpassed all my expectations!
The architecture and layout of the hotel is quite stunning. We don't normally favour hotels with 'uber cool' style, but The Chedi is amazing. The lobby area with the dropped lighting, tent-like ceiling and bed-like seating sets the scene and the rest follows. There are lots of water features, both inside and out, and smatterings of Arabian features such as fret work lighting and domed bridges in the gardens. The brochures and web-site do not exaggerate. What was particularly noticeable was the peace and serenity in the water garden areas near to the Suites and Club rooms.
Talking of rooms, we stayed in a Standard Room on the 3rd floor in Serai building which had a marvellous sea view. The room was contemporary, like the rest of the hotel, and immaculately clean. Different fresh fruit was provided daily along with bottles of water (replenished in the evening if you had removed the bottles by the time they did the turn down service). The room had everything you needed and let's face it, how many hours do you normally spend in your hotel room when the sun shines 11 hours a day? Our only suggested improvement to hotel management was to provide CD's in the Standard Rooms as well as the more expensive accommodation. Other reviewers had pointed out that there were no wardrobe doors but our clothes were hung in an open plan dressing area which I didn't feel detracted at all - the whole feel was light and airy.
We found the food to be excellent and with plenty of choice around the style of cooking, there is something for everyone. Attention to detail seemed to be the Chedi 'ethos' and this was particularly apparent with the food and watching the staff working in the open kitchens was fascinating. A slight irritation around the restaurant was that we booked our table each night in advance by email and although they were happy to change our booking from the outside courtyard (it was just too hot in the evening) to inside, they weren't prepared to change the pre-arranged time. The restaurant receptionist did explain that bookings were deliberately staggered in order to ensure everyone received the right level of service and judging by the reviews from early 2005, this may be to counteract the criticisms of poor service. We certainly received excellent service on every occasion, so if that's how it's done, I'm all for it.
We can't fault any of hotel staff, everyone we came across was courteous, helpful, friendly (i.e prepared to chat to you if you instigated conversation) but at the same time discreet. They couldn't do enough to ensure you enjoyed your stay.
Prior to booking I had read the various TripAdvisor reviews, so I was prepared for the disappointing local 'features' such as the desalination plant and aircraft noise, as well as the not-so-white sand beach. At the end of the day, Oman is not trying to market itself as a 'paradise island' like the Maldives - the surrounding area is both residential and industrial. As long as you don't expect something else you will find The Chedi to be an oasis of calm, providing the very best the hotel industry has to offer.
If you are looking for guaranteed sunshine, great food and high standards of service, The Chedi is for you!"
- Travel date: Tue 11th of October 2005
Lovely Hotel Same About Location
"One of the loveliest hotels that I have stayed in but was truly disapointed by the location it was such a let down, some trees along the driveway in would make a hugh difference.
Once inside the amazing lobby lounge with it's wonderful coloured lights was a lovely sight indeed and a very quick attentive check in service, always makes a great impression.
I was taken to a deluxe room which was cool and well presented but I was very disapointed not to see a bath, although a large shower it did not compensate for the lack of a bath.
The view from the window was great but no door to get out so hence no balcony or terrace what a waste.
The suites are beautiful with a sunken bath and complimentary mini bar and a fantastic terrace to sip your G&T from just a shame that all guests don't get to enjoy life's little benifits.
The grounds are amazing with water flowing and trickling all over the place and at night there are fires and lamps to make you feel as though your in paradise it is a truly romantic place when the sun goes down.
The Chedi has two great pools one for adult's only which just is a delight to be around. There where plenty of sun beds and double cabanas to be had which again give it a very romantic feel.
Don't think about the odd aircraft going over it's not all day but they are low as it's on the approch to the runway.
The beach area could do with a clear up but the pools more than make up for that.
Now for me this was one of the highlights of my stay was the excellent food the restaurant served. This was my favourate resturant in Muscat and I did eat at the Inter-continental, The Al Bustan Palace and a local restaurant and nothing compared to the food at the Chedi.
Over all my stay was very pleasent I have stayed at the Al Bustan Palace which has a nicer location the Inter-continental with it's English style pub but the relaxing atmosphere that you feel at the Chedi is worth it.
If you would like to contact me for a chat about Muscat and the hotels please send me a e'mail"
- Travel date: Mon 10th of October 2005
All we hoped for and More!
"We have just returned from a much needed 7 day break at The Chedi, and boy, what a week. We were concerned about some of the adverse comments during peak periods, and having established the hotel would be at 100% occupancy during our stay, even considered a different hotel.
I am so glad we didn't, it was a delightful stay, we had a single storey Suite which was quite outstanding in design and space (I loved the sunken granite bath). It had a charming terrace with sea view (1007) It was well worth the extra - breakfast each morning on the terrace was a chilled start to the day. Having all the laundry done was great too.
Do have cocktails in the Chedi Library, they make a great Margarita!
All the staff were delightful and could not do more to help us.
It was really surprising to learn all the rooms were full, as it never felt busy at all. Apparently there were 35 children there, but we didn't see one! The beauty of the place is that it has two enormous pools (42 metres each) a good distance apart which spread the load.
Getting sun beds might have been a problem after about 11am but we had no problem.
Yes there is a bit of noise from planes overhead, but most days it was 3 in the morning and 3 early evening. Monday seems to be the heaviest day and there were about 12 during the morning, but really not that troublesome.
The grounds are breathtaking at night with candles and gas lamps everywhere sparkling on all the ponds and fountains.
I agree with ther previous comments about the restaurant, the menu is basically Asian (Thai,Indian with a few steaks and a bit of pasta) all very well executed, but we could have done with a bit more variety.
I was sorry to read the comments about the dolphins, over the past 10 years we have been in on three trips around the world to see dolphins and not seen a single fin, so we didn't hold out much hope in Oman either, but we were obviously very lucky, we went on the 6.30am trip - and had the boat to ourselves, and within 15 minutes of leaving the marina were bang in the middle of 2 huge schools of spinner dolphins - they were everywhere we looked, and we stayed with them for 90 minutes. It was an extraordinary experience, our skipper told us there were about 300 of them - looked like more to me.
The Chedi surpassed our expectations, and we will definitely be going back, it was really excellent. Do go, it's great."
- Travel date: Mon 3rd of October 2005
The wonderful Chedi
"Having heard lots of mixed comments about the Chedi, we booked a stay there for five nights in September 2005. What can we say...the place was beautiful. We stayed in a standard room and didn't feel there was a need to upgrade. The room was spacious, clean and had a great view.
The service was second to none, to the point where we were carrying champagne glasses from our room to the restaurant and a member of staff ran up to us and swept the glasses out of our hands...no, a guest mustn't do anything strenuous like carry a glass of wine!
Speaking of alcohol, the price of a bottle of beer at the Chedi was about Â£3.50.
The comments that we heard about the beach being taken over by a desalination plant were all untrue. Yes, there was a plant...far in the distance...not inconveniencing anyone or blotting out any of the beautiful landscape.
The only thing that was slightly disappointing was that the dinner menu at the restaurant stayed the same for the whole stay. Although there was a good selection of food, it would have been nice if it had been varied on a daily basis.
The other thing to look out for (and not the fault of the Chedi), was that we went on a dolphin-watching excursion...and there were no dolphins! Since our return, we have heard that other visitors to Oman have experienced the same thing, so beware."
- Travel date: Mon 26th of September 2005
The Best of the Bunch
"My friend and I have just returned from a long weekend at The Chedi. The hotel is truly fabulous and its cool dark browns, creams and beige colours simply put you on ease the moment you enter the hotel.
There was a mix up with our booking when we arrived, which meant that we were kept waiting for about 20 mins in the trendy lounge area (with mint teas in our mitts), but a member of staff explained the problem to us, and offered us complimentary breakfast (we arrived just after 08:00 am so were not technically due to receive this) and complimentary transfer back to the hotel when we checked out. She then showed us the hotel facilities and took the time to answer any of our questions.
I would like to clear up a few things. Iâve read the other reviews and yes, itâs right next to a desalination plant, but no, you canât hear much noise and the smell is slight (if that). Yes too, you can hear aircraft noise, but its not so great that it impinges on your holiday. Believe me, by the time youâve been to the spa and had a few cocktails, youâll be saying, what aircraft?!
Talking of the spa â it is fantastic, a complete oasis of calm. I pre-booked our treatments by email prior to arrival (along with our dinner reservation for the first night) and the staff were experienced and knowledgeable about the products used and their benefits. It really is a good idea to pre book these for your day of arrival especially if you arrive at the hotel early morning as this gives you a chance to shower, change and unwind before the 14:00 pm check in time.
I had an itinerary all ready and raring to go, but we decided to skip that and only ventured out of the hotel on 2 of our 5 days to visit the Grand Mosque, a couple of museums, the Muttrah souq, the fish market and the Al Bustan and Hyatt hotels. My advice is, go out in the mornings (if you have to), but then arrive back at about 13:00 pm as most of the places shut from 13:00 â 16:00 pm and then open back again after 16:00 pm.
We stayed in a deluxe room, which is much roomier than the basic level of accommodation, and were not disappointed. To be honest, we didnât spend much time in the hotel room, but were greeted with water and fresh fruit every day, plus lovely Floris toiletries.
There are 2 pools, one for adults and the other for families. Both are situated right near the sea front, so you really have the option of the three and there are plenty of sun beds to relax and while away the day on. The pool attendants offer water to the sunbathers early on in the morning as well as cool towels to hydrate our faces and a smile.
There is only one restaurant (and one bar), but within the restaurant they serve 4 different types of cuisine (Asian, Indian, Arabic and Mediterranean), which is evident on the menu. We ate at one of the restaurants at the Al Bustan but the food was so bad, that we decided to stick with The Chedi for the remainder of our stay. There is so much choice that you wonât be disappointed.
This is most definitely the best hotel I have ever stayed in. We felt truly pampered, spoilt and above all relaxed. It isnât convenient for the places of interest, but then none of the hotels really are, and you really need to be prepared to take taxis everywhere, but overall the hotel deserves its status above the Al Bustan. The service we received was second to none, and we made good friends with a few of the members of staff. It was that good, Iâm going back next year. I could say more, but I really do now have to get back to reality!! There is a reason why The Chedi appears above the Al Bustan in the current (October 2005) Conde Nast Traveller reader review."
- Travel date: Tue 20th of September 2005
Great Hotel, Terrible Location
"Having spent 3 superb days at the Al Bustan Palace (see separate review), we moved on to The Chedi. By way of comparison, I was immediately disappointed; I can easily sum up the problem â itâs in the wrong place! However, we spent 5 wonderful days there, so if you can accept its deficiencies (and being forewarned might help!) itâs worth staying. Let me get the negatives out the way firstâ¦
Whilst the hotel is amazing â the architecture is superb (modern Omani mixed with minimalist design) and the lighting at night is quite spectacular â whoever decided on its location needs to have their head examined! The hotel sits on the same strip of flat, boring coastline as most of the other main hotels and the beach is truly dismal; next door thereâs something very industrial (apparently a desalination plant & soap factory) that just takes away from the atmosphere. In front of the hotel but clearly part of the grounds, thereâs a wasteland of nothingness before the road, after which the greater Muscat area sprawls from left to right beneath the hazy mountains way in the distance.
If weâd gone straight there from the airport, weâd have had nothing of the appreciation of the drama of the geography such as around the Al Bustan. And talking of the airport, it really is on the flight path â planes fly over all day, sporadically during the middle of the day but are particularly regular, and flying low and directly overhead, in the morning and evening when you get a constant drone; you never see a plane, much less hear one at the Al Bustan. So, for an exclusive hotel, thereâs nothing exclusive or private about its location; it should be in a secluded place like the Al Bustan or, later this year, the Shangri-La.
Short of relocating the hotel ;-), Iâd make the following suggestions to the management:
1. The Beach â (a) import some sand (other hotels have done this), (b) do more to block off the plant & factory next door, and (c) lay down some safety nets in what must be shark-infested waters, as you never feel as secure as you do at the Al Bustan (which has them);
2. No Manâs Land (between the entrance and the hotel) â flatten this and build a garden in front of the hotel; some grass and trees would make a huge difference, especially in helping give the impression of being more secluded than it is.
Otherwise, as I say, the hotel itself is amazing, but I labour on these points because no one seems to have highlighted them as much and it is what I would have liked to have known in advance.
On the positive, the pools are incredible and the restaurant is certainly phenomenal in terms of both design and food (I suspect itâs because of the restaurant and trying to appeal to local people that the hotel has been positioned where it is). The Spa is also excellent. We found the staff and customer service first-rate. But what actually made our stay truly special was that we had a suite; this is absolutely worth it, and I canât imagine staying in the other rooms (for all the reasons that others have mentioned here, such as no space, no balcony, general design problems like no doors on toilets or wardrobesâ¦).
Having breakfast on our balcony, enjoying the room itself, walking to the restaurant at night marvelling at the design & lighting, sitting in the garden beside the infinity pool, eating at the astonishing restaurant, having multiple treatments at the Spa, among many other things, are just part of what made our stay truly memorable and special.
The Chedi is certainly very romantic and intimate and âyoungâ by way of comparison, but if you are essentially looking for a beach holiday in a special place with unique culture and geography, then the Al Bustan is definitely the way to go. Of course, we would strongly recommend doing both as you get very different experiences (each hotel could learn a lot from the other). But if you are going for a short time and/or just want to pick one, to me thereâs absolutely no contest."
- Travel date: Sun 4th of September 2005
You will love the Chedi
"We have just returned from the Chedi in Muscat and the hotel is fabulous!
We were very lucky to stay in one of the villas overlooking the pool and beach and the room was fantastic! saying that we had a look at all the catogeries of rooms as we are looking to come back with friends in December and they don't have a bad room in the hotel, they are all great.
If you can book a room with the club facilities as it's really worth it, you get free mini bar which includes lots of extras, free laundry (this is the first time we have come back with a clean suitcase full of clothes!). Free drinks in the libary during 5.30 and 7.30pm with nibbles, I thought the libary would be boring but after a hot day in the sun the libary is a cool chill out place, you also get to check your emails and update your self on the outside world, if your bothered!
The staff are great, really wanted to please you. The restaurant is fab, very cosmopolitan inside but they also have the same menu in another part of the hotel where you still outside with chill out music.
The two pools are very inviting, one just for adults and the other for kids and families, both very nice and have fantastic double sized sofa/cabanas.
You don't need towels as they are all provided.
If your thinking of going then go, don't miss out! I have been to Dubai three times, which I loved but Dubai is now full of cranes and constuction sites, Oman is real and full of culture and worth a visit!
I have to agree with other comments, I work in London and felt safer in Muscat than I do here.
Hope you enjoy the hotel as much as we did"
- Travel date: Mon 29th of August 2005
"Probably the best hotel we have ever stayed in and as a couple we have travelled all over the world ( Bora Bora, Tahiti, Seychelles, Maldives etc...)
Superb accomodation, fantastic service and the most delightful food make this hotel our no.1. The grounds and numerous water features are spectacularly lit in the evening for great effect. We arrived in the evening and were totally overwhelmed! Hotel in Aug about 75% full which meant getting a sunbed (or pool couch) was relatively easy and the service in the restaurant was perfect, although temp averages about 40C there are a million places to sit in the shade if it becomes too much. Two nice poolside bars which serve different food. Because in theory Aug is off peak the aircraft noise was light, I would agree with most other reviews and say that the beach is slightly dissapointing, a bit scruffy and the views of the nearby factory are not ideal but if you want to be spoiled and pampered then this is the place. For those who don't know this is the sister hotel of the Datai in Langkawi ( reputation for being one of the top hotels in the world) so you know it's going to be good. I won't say too much about the restaurant as I don't want to spoil the surprise but it's awesome, prices are reasonable for the quality of the food. I went with my beautiful wife and it is definitely a place for couples. Alcohol is not served between the hours of 3 and 6 but other than that it's a full service. All in all a great place and it's reputation is growing, I would go now before the word gets out and I would probably go again in August to avoid the somewhat busier time around Christmas."
- Travel date: Sat 27th of August 2005