Jabal Akhdar (=green mountain) consists of two plateaus. For the first couple of nights we stayed on the lower one in a reasonably priced new guesthouse which we had found on booking.com. It was in reality far from new. It had the hardest beds ever, was dirty, shabby and thus overpriced. The good thing about this unattractive guesthouse was that we wanted to get out of it and explore the area even more.
We hiked along water channels through some terraced gardens from one village to the next, visited the abandoned mud house village Wadi Bani Habib, picnicked among the locals, lounged on Sahab hotel’s terrace soaking in the view… until the time had come to move up to the higher plateau, to the best hotel we slept in so far. Staying at the exceptional Alila Jabal Akhdar was a proper treat for all of us. The view into the deep canyon, the infinity pool, the room, the breakfast buffet, staff, architecture, vibe… pure luxury!
Some of our highlights:
- Our excursions in the area: Walk on the water channel between Al Ayn and Ash Shuraiqa, exploring the abandoned mud village Wadi Bani Habib, walk up to a dam and back through another abandoned mud village (As Sarab).
- Alila Jabal Akhdar in its entirety, but two things stood out for us:
- Home-baked bread with fresh Lebanese cheese and sweet honey while waiting for our dinner at Alila Jabal Akdar – heavenly! We could have just filled our bellies with that.
- Breakfast. Loved it!
The learning curve:
- To get up to Jabal Akhdar, you need a 4WD car. There’s even a police check-point at the bottom of the road that checks if you car is fit enough to climb up the steep roads. But all the drama and pre-nervousness from my side was for nothing. The road is in great condition and no steeper or windier than most roads over passes in Switzerland. We were almost a bit disappointed ;-).
- Temperatures on Jabal Akhdar are about 15°C lower than in Muscat. We even put our jeans on at night.
- “New” and “under new management” may be the same in Oman.