Oman for Romance

With its sweeping dunes, sparkling coastlines, and imposing mountains, Oman’s dramatic backdrop conjures an undeniably romantic mood.
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From the grand attractions of the city to the haunting desert sandscapes, agents can build a romantic itinerary taking in either the vibrance of Omani culture or the seclusion of its natural landscapes. With something to enchant all manner of couples, a world of wonders awaits.

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Nothing says romance like top-tier luxury and Oman has a plethora of five-star hotels designed to seduce. One such is the architecturally enticing Kempinski Muscat, situated in the heart of the action in the Omani capital, in the quiet, leafy Al Mouj district. Raising opulence to a new level, its selection of intimate restaurants and upmarket bars, wellness spa and private beach channel both opulence and relaxation.

There’s also the W Muscat with its tranquil infinity pool for romantic sunsets, or the St. Regis Al Mouj Muscat Resort serving Afternoon Tea during which couples can savour fine hand-crafted pastries.

The capital is the ideal base for exploring the coastline and ocean surrounding this Middle Eastern gem. Just 25 minutes by boat from Seeb Port, travellers can reach the breathtaking Daymaniyat Islands, famed for its nesting hawksbill turtles. Between May and October boats are not permitted to land, but outside of these months, lunch and sunbathing on the secluded beaches can be arranged.

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As well as snorkelling and scuba diving with multicoloured local fish, honeycomb Moray Eel, sting rays, and sometimes black tip sharks, dolphin spotting is an especially romantic activity. Dedicated cruises, including private charters, will sail alongside these intelligent creatures as they swim and play with the vessel.

A trip to the northeastern most tip of the Arabian peninsula reveals Musandam, often described as “The Norway of Arabia”. A breathtaking combination of mountain and maritime landscapes, the Hajar mountains fall into the Arabian Gulf to create a series of fjords, or khors. Its main town, the lively Khasab, is a great base for boat and diving excursions to watch whales, basking sharks and dolphins. Tours up to the impressive Jebel Harim (Mountain of Women) visit Wadi Khasab plus fascinating petroglyphs and a fossil wall.

It would be remiss not to mention some of Oman’s first class beaches such as Al Fizayah, a five-kilometre stretch of white sand and picturesque backdrops, suitable for sunbathing, swimming, fishing and BBQs. Qurum Beach is a popular picnic spot for locals, while Al Mughsail Beach is ringed by mountains and boasts a naturally-formed fountain.

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For a change of scenery – and to escape the heat of the coast – couples can head inland to soak up the fresh mountain air. The Anantara Al Jabal Akhdar Resort is the epitome of Omani splendour, balanced on the Green Mountain and boasting the accolade of one of the world’s highest resorts. It’s home to Diana’s point, named after the late Princess of Wales, where couples can follow in her footsteps and gaze out at the stars, suspended over the vast canyon below.

En route, a stop-off at the ancient town of Nizwa is essential, with its bustling souk reminiscent of tales from Arabian Nights. A treasure trove of spices, regional foods, exotic perfumes and traditional crafts and clothing, couples will find plenty of thoughtful gifts for each other. As the market is aimed at locals, there is far less pressure to buy, with an emphasis instead on browsing and good-natured haggling.

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After the heat and noise of the market, couples can cool off in one of the picturesque oases dotted across the sultanate. Wadi Bani Khalid is a large canyon in the Eastern region where azure water flows constantly year-round. It’s one of the most famous and beautiful wadis the country offers. Pools and boulders of varying sizes are scattered around the main body of water, forming part of the lowlands of the stunning Hajar Mountains. In addition to swimming and picnicking, there are over 4,000 caves, some of which can be explored, and plenty of vantage points to capture breathtaking photos of the quintessentially Arabian vista.

The sub-tropical getaway of Salalah is a treasure trove of activities that will delight honeymooners or couples that love to explore alike. With wildlife spotting a popular staple for couples, Jabal Samhan is ideal. A protected nature reserve, it is one of the last refuges for wild Arabian leopards. Arabian gazelle, Nubian ibex, caracal, striped hyenas and the Arabian wolf can also be spotted here.

For a culture fix, a guided tour of UNESCO world heritage sites takes in Al Balid archaeological sites, the museum of the Frankincense land, Sumhuram Old City and Wadi Dawka. For a pairing that favours an adrenaline boost, Wadi Dayqah has transformed the vast blue lake and surrounding mountains into a unique outdoor experience. Kayak and paddle board rentals, donut boat hire, pedal boats and a mountain bike trail are all available for adventuring

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The desert is an underrated romantic highlight. Stay at The Desert Night’s Camp, secluded 11km into the isolation of the Omani desert and surrounded by endless sand dunes and rocky mountains. Traditional Bedouin-style tents await, some featuring their own swimming pool – quite a feat for a desert location. A private BBQ dinner can be hosted at your suite, or enjoy the shifting colours of sun and moon upon the sand on a sunrise or sunset camel ride.

The camp is within visiting distance of the Wadi Bani Khalid, local souq, and the old fort in Mantrib, or absorb Omani culture during a visit to a Bedouin family house.

Magic Camps offers a unique proposition for special romantic getaways, with the luxury camp tents specially constructed for each group. Surf the sand dunes by day, then return for banquets of mezze and skewers until the ethereal brightness of the starry sky.

Or Al Wasil Desert camp, which sits in a hidden valley in the dreamlike setting of Wahiba Sands. Outside the camp, a private guided camel ride across the Al Sharqiya Sands reveals the never-ending stretches of blissful solitude, while getting a feel for the desert lifestyle. Finish up a desert tour with a Majlis set up on the dunes, sipping crisp champagne or fragrant tea as the sun dips behind the peaks, casting long shadows and reflecting brilliant colours off the glittering sands.

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