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Oman – An Unexpected Paradise

After eight months of extended travel and living abroad, we ended 2022 visiting a place that hadn’t been on our radar but ended up being one of our best family trips yet. 

For the holidays, we were looking for warm weather and to avoid a long-haul flight. When plans for Israel/Jordan didn’t work out, several expat friends suggested Oman. We learned there were resorts near the capital city of Muscat and that we could stop in Istanbul on our return. So we took a chance – and let’s be honest, it’s not like we were taking much of one staying at a Ritz Carlton resort. 

Once we arrived at Al Bustan Palace @ritzcarltonalbustan we knew we were in store for a special experience. Coming from Spain where customer service is virtually non-existent, we really appreciated the phenomenal hospitality. We also lucked out with the rare combination of warm weather and no humidity/mosquitos at a beach. But Al Bustan Palace ultimately facilitated something we never thought possible: making a 9-day trip with a 3.5-year-old feel like a relaxing vacation. Yes, you heard me right: we actually used these words to describe most days for two reasons: (1) Dave scored a deal for adjoining rooms, an A+ sleeping situation; and (2) what I’d call a “family-friendly and beyond balance”: Jacob loved the Family Splash pool/play area and participating in Ritz Kids club’s daily supervised activities (and we got a few hours to ourselves) but adults were prioritized, e.g. festive and delicious buffets, live music, and more. 

As delightful as it was to hang by the pool, we also enjoyed a sunset cruise, dolphin watching ride, and kayaking and snorkeling together. We also did a city tour of main sites like the Grand Mosque, the old city Muttrah, and one (of six!) of the Sultan’s palaces. We’ve come to accept the fact that Jacob and city tours rarely turn out well, but we do enjoy exploring key historical and cultural sites wherever we go and would have been kicking ourselves if we never left the resort. 

Although we had hoped to do day-trips to some desert sites, the amount of driving proved too daunting to tackle this trip. But we’d love to make it back to explore more of Oman again.