A few weeks ago, I went to the Millennium Resort in Mussanah (where they had the Asian Beach Games) for a night and some R&R with Mrs Sythe. We drove up on a Thursday morning from Muscat to Mussanah, and it took about an hour to drive up there. The resort is well sign-posted from the main Sultan Qaboos highway that travels the length of the Batinah coast, so there's no missing the turn off these days!
The first thing that struck me when I turned off the SQ highway was that there was a brand new dual carriageway to take us out to the coast, and a brand new roundabout to turn onto what will be the new Batinah Expressway, which has already been built by the approach to the resort. Getting there could not be simpler anymore.
The resort, on approach, is essentially split into 2. On the left as you approach, is the hotel, and on the right is the apartment building. Rooms in the hotel, and apartments are available for rent, so if you have a family and want to relax by the sea for a few days, it may be worth looking into the apartments.
For my trip though, I was treated to a suite in the hotel for a 1 night stay. And it was a real treat.
The rooms were very spacious, we were in a suite with a separate lounge area, and 2 TV's one in the lounge and the other in the bedroom. The technology in the rooms is excellent, with caller ID on the phone system so you are addressed by name when you call for something, you can use the IN-TV menus and actually do stuff with them, unlike many hotels here that have it but it's not setup properly (or at all).
The view from our balcony was pretty spectacular, and when we arrived it seemed the Oman Sail Womens Sailing Program was in full swing. We entertained ourselves watching the little boats sail into each other for a while. The balconies were great - nice comfortable wicker chairs and walled in from the sides to maintain privacy from other rooms.
Seeing as we were visiting this hotel as a freebie, we felt duty bound to check out as much of the place as possible. After the drive up, and intensive boat-watching, we decided we were hungry and thought we'd check out the room service menu. After selecting a chef's salad and steak sandwich, I picked up the phone and hit the button for room service. 1 ring later it was answered in clear English: Hello Mr Sythe, how can I help you? To compare that to the Al Bustan (admittedly when it was still run by IHG, not Ritz Carlton) I had to actually call twice to room service, because the first time it rang off the hook, and when it was finally answered, it was done so gruffly: 'allo? with no idea of who was calling or what room we were in.
So we placed our order and set about figuring out how to work the TV, and tucked into the complimentary fruit bowl we suspected was put there specially for us. All the channels on the TV came in clearly, and the menu was split up in a way we could select English TV, Movies, Sports, and so on. Another nice surprise. How many of you have checked into hotels, turned the TV on to catch the news, and then ended up watching Sky news through a snow-storm of static? It happens to me a lot. Perhaps I should stop watching the news on TV. A nice touch with the telly, was that there 2 of them, 1 in the lounge and 1 in the bedroom, and they syndicated, showing the same thing if we chose, meaning we could walk between rooms and it'd be the same program on.
After we'd figured out the TV and eaten some grapes, the door bell rang. Less than 20 minutes and the room service was here. We opened the door and in wheeled a trolly with our food, which was set on our table, and places set as well with nice cloth napkins, and then the bell hop was gone again. I tipped him, but I had to actually stop him from leaving to do so as he clearly wasn't expecting it or hanging around looking for one either.
The food was amazing, the chef salad was more of a meat extravaganza, and none of it was processed meat, the beef and chicken were roasted and hand carved. The same went for my steak sandwich - it was delicious.
The rest of the suite contained 2 toilets (1 in the lounge the other off the ensuite bathroom), a dedicated rain shower, and a separate extra deep bath tub. The usual free stuff was there, but a nice touch was also bath salts for the tub.
We thought we'd go for a walk along the beach and check out the outside of the hotel, so we headed downstairs to the lobby. It was on our journey downstairs that we found a maid's cart with loads more of the fruit bowls, so it seemed they were standard to each room - they are great, and not just your usual apples, orange and banana either.
The beach is of course man-made with the break-water surrounding the floating jetty. There are also nicely manicured gardens running the length of each of the buildings which adds a nice touch of colour. We never ventured over to the apartment building side, because the pool and beach (that wasn't protected by the break-water for the jetty) was on the hotel side.
Moving on from the main hotel building, we headed over to the Pool. The pool is now open, and the the spa building I'm told will be opening shortly, and will contain a gym and spa. I have a thing for infinity pools, I love them. I am still going to say my favorite one in Oman is at the Bustan palace, but this one is really, really nice too.
I would note that there was a shortage of sun-bathers, but then again, no one was using them anyway when we went to visit the pool, so perhaps the number of sun bathers is not really an issue.
After an hour or so there, we headed back to our room, and stopped by the dining area to see how it looked...
We thought it looked pretty nice and comfortable. It was at this point that we bumped into our friend who had brought us along with him to visit the hotel, he'd just gotten off his bike and seemed fairly excited about the fact he'd kick some idiot driver's car door on his way up because they cut him off - but I digress. He said to us, "see you at the BBQ tonight then" which left us with more questions than answers - we thought we were just up visiting the hotel for a free night to check it out, and now there is a mysterious BBQ being discussed.
It turned out that the resort was running a BBQ weekend - a room for 2, BBQ dinner buffet on the beach & breakfast in the morning, including all taxes, for the small sum of RO85. It also turned out that the hotel was fully booked.
Armed with the knowledge that we had a BBQ to look forward to, we went back to our room and tucked into the mini-bar. I should point out at this point that everything I had heard about this hotel up until this point from other people was negative: They don't have a liquor license, nothings finished, the food sucks - and so on. I want to clear this up: The only thing that was not open when we visited was the amenity building which will hold a spa once it's finished. The hotel has alcohol and as I already wrote, the food is really good. Don't just take my word for it, Andy in Oman wrote about it too (the food, that is).
We went to the BBQ, and it was really nice: white table-cloths on round tables to seat 10 right on the beach, mere meters from the sea with fresh BBQ'd food and salads laid on. I didn't take any pictures as I was with friends and enjoying the evening, so sorry about that.
As it happens, the Millennium Resort in Mussanah is running another BBQ weekend, for RO 85 for a couple, dinner and breakfast included at the end of March (29th to be exact). You can book with them by calling +968 2687 1518 and asking for the BBQ weekend special rate. I highly recommend it, returning to Muscat on Friday afternoon we felt fully refreshed and relaxed, and laughed when we thought the only thing we did was visit Mussanah Fort (pictured below).
|Mussanah Fort. Not very fort-like.|
Before leaving I spoke with Will from the hotel and he coined a catchphrase which I think sums up the experience:
Come to the Millennium in Mussanah, and do nothing.
Just what the doctor ordered!
facebook page here, and their website here.
I hope you enjoyed my review. This blog is hosted in the USA and as so I follow the laws there: This was not a paid advertisement for the hotel, but they did give me a free nights stay there, and I have chosen to write a review about my experience.