Friday, April 16, 2010

Paradise awaits you, two hrs from Riyadh

Hubster and I just got back from a weekend at the Shangri-La in Oman, a two hour flight from Riyadh. We didn’t get to see much of Muscat, though what we did see of the city looked very simple/quaint and surprisingly clean. And coming from a Canadian, that means that you can pretty much eat off the pavement. The big shocker came when we realized all the drivers were staying in their lanes! We really only drove through Muscat on our way to the Shangri La which was located about 30 minutes from the airport and outside of town, but the resort was just fabulous.

The resort is actually a complex of three hotels of varying classes, and it sprawls across quite a bit of land. We spent the weekend sipping cocktails at their bars and outdoor lounges, strolling down the beach at night, soaking up the sun, falling asleep on their comfy loungers, kayaking, watching fish swim by our ankles in the ocean, admiring the extensive grounds and beautiful spa, floating down their lazy river…the list goes on.

The absolute highlight of the trip was getting a chance to watch an enormous hawksbill turtle lay her eggs on the beach at night! This was the last place in the world we expected to catch such an amazing event. The Hawksbill Turtle is on the critically endangered list, and we felt a bit bad that a resort had been built on some of their prime nesting beaches in the area. But at the very least, they seemed to have pretty dedicated turtle ranger on the resort looking out for them, and nests marked off on the beach to prevent trampling.

The lowlight of the trip was watching hubster’s light pink sun kissed skin turn a deep shade of red coming out of the shower, regret in his eyes. It’s always the same story. He goes,“ohh! I wanna go out in the sun *right now*! Let’s get this sunscreen over with!” And then four hours later, “what happened to me??!” with complete and utter shock, as if it hasn’t happened a hundred times before.

I totally recommend that expats try to take trips on the weekends to break up your stay here. It’s something we wish we had been doing the whole time we were here. We booked through an Oman Air package that had a special deal going for Riyadh and picked up our paper tickets at their Riyadh office. We had a very good experience with the airline – planes with adequate leg space, decent food, good service, punctual, etc. - so we would fly again with them without hesitation. Here's the link!


Pancake said...

It really does look like paradise! There is no one on the beach tho....seems almost odd. I also have to ask, what did you wear swimming? I'm learning so much keep up the awesome blog!

Orchidthief said...

hi pancake thanks for the comment. The beach was actually quite busy, but no overly so. I just posted pics where there weren't people on them cuz I thought they looked nicer. There weren't any restrictions on our attire at the resort, so I wore a skimpy bikini, like lots of other women there =)

Y Q said...

Great blog!! You have describe things in quiet a simple manner with a much neutral view than some other foreigner blogger. Which is why it does not offend me. I am not a Saudi though.

I would like to know regarding this very post of yours "Shangri La" resort. I live in Al-Khobar and I, all praise to Allah Jallah Jalaalahu, value my religion. Since you have been to this resort, your the article did attract me to visit the same resort. However, I would like to know if I can visit the Island while guarding my religious values.
So can you please answer a few questions:
1- Are there women with swimsuits at the beach?
2- Do they play music throughout the resort in the background?
3- Do they sell wine/alcohol at the Hotel?
4- Do they have a club at the resort? And do they play music so loud that you can hear it in every single hotel room?

Thank you