Hotel review: Radisson Blu Sohar, Oman
As you may already know if you read this blog, Oman is one of my favourite places in the world, which is great for me as it’s right on my doorstep! I was therefore thrilled to have an excuse to head back over the border for the weekend, although I must admit, if it hadn’t been for the kind invitation from Radisson Blu, the port town of Sohar would probably never have been on my radar. In fact, I’ve driven straight past without a second thought on many occasions on my way to Al Sawadi dive centre, Muscat or camping spots further south. I may not be so quick to do the same next time as with the new roads it was very easy to reach and is ideally located halfway between Muscat and Dubai, making a great spot for stopovers or refreshment on future trips.
The final approach to the hotel was deceiving, with the construction on the road to the entrance, I wrongly assumed the hotel had only just opened, although I was soon corrected that in fact it has been in operation for over a year now. The contruction had no impact once we were in the resort though, we didn’t hear or see a thing. The sea-facing room was spacious, comfortable and clean with great views over the long stretch of beach that the hotel sits on.
We arrived in time to sample the hotel’s Friday brunch; having sampled Oman’s more relaxed version of brunch we were expecting a a light buffet and were amazed to see a spread that any five star hotel in Dubai would have been proud to call theirs. Tables were laden with a huge variety of salads, mezze, antipasti, sushi, shell fish, plus huge joints of roast meat and the signature salt crusted salmon (delicious by the way). If that wasn’t enough to satisfy you, a vast Bbq was on the go, offering a variety of fresh fish and meats, to your order. We had to pace ourselves though as back inside, more tables were groaning under the weight of deserts and the obligatory chocolate fountain. And for those who are more interested in the liquid refreshment offered at a brunch, let me reassure you that despite being tucked away in Oman, away from the hedonism of Dubai, alcohol was still very much available as part of the package after 2pm.
The hotel is very peaceful, perfect for an afternoon’s relaxation – just what was required after the 2.5/3 hour drive and the lovely long brunch the end of it. In keeping with the relaxed mood, we opted for a signature massage at the spa, leaving us feeling pampered and completely destressed. The pool area is a beautiful place to enjoy the sunshine, but for me, was at its prettiest when lit up at night – a great backdrop for dinner at the hotel’s Thai restaurant, Amaranthai. This, in addition to the brunch, was the highlight of our stay at the Radisson Blu Sohar. I’ve travelled all over Thailand and it’s not very often you find authentic tastes like that outside of the country, but the chef at Amaranthai has managed to achieve it. My advice would be to try the special pineapple rice rather than regular rice, and I thought the red curry was the best I’ve had!
As with the rest of the hotel, the service in the restaurants was exceptional and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to others. The stay was so good, we actually didnt make it outside of the hotel to explore the souk or the fort, we did manage to catch the start of the bull fighting as we left on the Saturday however, as the bull fighting ground is just opposite the entrance to the hotel – it certainly then explained why we had seen a man walking his bull along the beach in front of the hotel the day before! For those who are unfamiliar with the sport, this is not the blood thirsty version made famous in Spain, but more like sumo for bulls, with each one trying to push the other out of the ring. I’d seen this before in other parts of Oman, but the crowd here were really friendly, and as the only woman there I did not feel uncomfortable at all.
All in all, it was a fantastic stay for a quiet retreat away from the craziness of Dubai, and I would highly recommend Radisson Blu Sohar to anyone, whether for business or leisure.