Grand Hyatt Muscat, Oman
At the time of our latest to trip to the wonderful country of Oman, there were only six 5* hotels in the capital Muscat, although many planned for opening over the coming years. We had previously stayed at the Grand Hyatt there (although before starting this website) and had really enjoyed the hotel - we had fond memories of the pool, the lobby and the Grand Club. As such, it was a natural decision to return to the hotel for a full review (any excuse will do!) especially given the excellent value offered by using cash plus points here.
As we had a 3 night stay, we used a suite upgrade certificate to upgrade to a Grand Suite. During our stay the hotel was oversold, so we were unable to photograph any other room types. However, the pictures on the hotel's website seem accurate, from our memory of our last visit.
The main lobby of the hotel is a popular meeting place and definitely suits the Grand Hyatt branding with a vast open seating area, where you can order a drink or snack. Outside, the hotel offers a large swimming pool (with lazy river), very warm jacuzzi, lots of space for topping up the tan and a private sandy beach, providing plenty of amusement after work.
Despite the hotel having four dining outlets (you have the choice of a grill house or restaurants offering Italian, Arabic or Indonesian cuisine) we have always dined in the Grand Club. We did, however, view the lunch buffet set out in Tuscany, which had a huge choice and looked delicious.
Breakfast in the club has a small buffet selection with cold cuts, fresh fruit and bakery items and eggs are available to order. It would have been nice if a breakfast menu was provided as we didn't realise eggs were available until we saw someone else order on the second day. We are also unsure whether other made-to-order dishes are on offer. However, in general service was good and the club gets big plus points from Mrs d2t for having Jing tea (if you like green tea, try the Jade Sword).
In the evening, a good choice of leaves and vegetables are available to make a tasty salad. A daily-changing selection of cold dishes added variety and there were also small deserts available. We would have liked to see a few hot dishes available as well, perhaps showing some Omani specialties or tasters from Tuscany, advertised as the best Italian restaurant in the city. There was a good range of beverages, with top-ups frequently offered. Mrs d2t was very impressed that the room was proactively stocked with complimentary Evian water after she requested it in the lounge - that is true personal service.
Grand Suite King
So, to our room, a Grand Suite King on the 4th floor (one floor above the lobby and the Club floor) overlooking the pool. We arrived to find housekeeping just putting the finishing touches to the room, including arranging a vase of beautiful lilies and setting our welcome amenity - a bottle of wine, a fruit bowl and some yummy dates (this was a suite amenity - we also received the 1000 diamond points amenity).
The room itself is a good size (84 square metres) with guest cloakroom, spacious lounge, decent size bedroom and a good bathroom with twin sinks, very powerful shower (one of the best we've ever had) and a separate bath. We like that the decor of the room is not typical Grand Hyatt and you do feel the Omani influence. However, rooms are due for a refit - there are small areas of wear and tear and the general feeling is tired. There is currently little competition in Muscat for 5* inventory. However, a number of new hotels are due to open over the next 3-4 years, including Starwood properties and Jumeirah. We understand from Garry Friend, the GM, that the hotel will likely refurbish before these competitors open, but the plan for the next year or two is just the normal refreshing every hotel does each year.
On our previous stay in the hotel, we hadn't even noticed a gym, but we knew from the website that one was available. If when you are in the lobby facing the sea you turn right, you will find signs directing you. When we saw the fitness facilities, we were very impressed - a well equipped gym with plenty of different cardio and strength machines was complimented by excellent changing rooms complete with sauna, steam room and jacuzzi (although unfortunately only segregated facilities). It seems strange that the hotel doesn't have a treatment spa - perhaps this will come with the refurb.
A large pool, complete with lazy river and separate jacuzzi (very warn) is surrounded by gardens and sun beds. Outside of the main hotel complex, there is further tanning space and the hotel's private beach. With golden sands, warm water and not another person in sight, this has to be one of the best beaches in the region - the only disappointment was that the sea was not very clear.
For those who prefer to drink their liquid, rather than soak in it, there are three bars and a night club.
The Grand Hyatt Muscat is a business hotel at the heart of the political centre of Oman, but that shouldn't put the leisure traveller off. For those with families in tow, we would recommend staying in the Shangri-La, as there are many more activities on offer to amuse children. However, the Grand Hyatt has a great gym, nice swimming pool and private beach, so there are enough leisure facilities available. Rooms are a decent size, but in need of a refurb - however, they are clean so they are still pleasant to relax in. The service in the club was mostly very good, although at times, ordered items took a long time to arrive. The cold selection was good enough, but we would have liked a few hot items in the evening and a hot menu for breakfast. We will definitely be returning to the hotel and look forward to seeing how both the property and Oman in general develops over the coming years.