Where to stay in Muscat

A stylishly modern hotel or something more palatial in which to spend your Arabian nights in Oman's capital.

The Chedi

What's so special

Muscat, the capital of Oman, is known for its fabulous souqs, forts and museums. And it is an example of the Middle East's transformation into a contemporary, funky destination for the world's style-conscious travellers. At the uber-modern Chedi hotel, you'll find stunning architecture, plus a private beach and art gallery.

How they rate it

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This hotel is "unrepentantly modern and informal", says Cond Nast Traveller. "It is ideal for those who want to relax in style, in a setting that has been meticulously designed to be part Philippe Starck, part Lawrence of Arabia." The Club Suites are the best rooms: "spacious, white-painted bungalows or villas, spaced out among the palms and splashing fountains". Spa treatments are "excellent, and considerably cheaper than those in London".

The menu

The Restaurant has won numerous international awards for food and design. The cuisine is a mixture of Western, Asian, Middle Eastern and Indian fare.

The cost

A double room costs from £300 including breakfast. Visit www.ghmhotels.com or call 00 968 24 52 4400.

Al-Bustan Palace


What's so special

Situated in a secluded bay, the Al-Bustan Palace offers guests a peaceful stay in some of the most luxurious surroundings on earth. More traditionally Arabian-styled than Chedi, it frequently appears in lists of the best hotels in the world thanks to its wealth of facilities five pools, for example and a spectacular coastal location.

How they rate it

"This is the Gulf's original luxury hotel, and it's still the best," says The Daily Telegraph. It is "more palace than hotel", says Jenny Walker in The Lonely Planet. "It has an atmosphere and class of its own, partly engendered through the exceptional interior, smiling service and some top-quality restaurants."

It is "something of an institution in Muscat" and with its "remarkable spangled atrium, Arabian Nights rooms, shady gardens and magnificent location, it is a difficult hotel to beat". Service can be a little slow sometimes. But who cares when you are in such magnificent surroundings?

The menu

The hotel offers a variety of restaurants, including China Mood, one of the top Asian restaurants in the region.

The cost

Prices start from £240 per night for a double room. Find out more at www.ritzcarlton.com or call 00 968 24 79 9666.

The best English spa hotels


Here are five of the best spas in England, as tipped by Laura Holt in The Independent.

Lime Wood in Hampshire is a "romantic Regency building" with "dreamy decor". The three-storey spa offers indoor and outdoor pools, a steam room, and a sauna with forest views. Doubles from £245, room only (Limewoodhotel.co.uk).

Lucknam Park in Wiltshire boasts a 500-acre estate with an on-site equestrian centre, Michelin-starred restaurant and a spa that is "set within a private walled garden with nine treatment rooms, pools and thermal cabins". Doubles from £330, room only (Lucknampark.co.uk).

Sports fans will enjoy a visit to the ivy-clad Pennyhill Park in Surrey (pictured) with its golf course and tennis courts. The bedrooms feature "grand four-poster beds" and there is a Michelin-starred restaurant. The spa is excellent try the Winter Warmer facial. Doubles from £295 (Exclusivehotels.co.uk).

Middlethorpe Hall in Yorkshire is a 17th-century manor house "built by a master cutler from Sheffield to bolster his credentials among the English gentry. Today, it boasts elegant rooms and a spa housed within a pair of Edwardian cottages." A double room costs from £199, B&B (Middlethorpe.com).

Cowley Manor in Gloucestershire combines "the setting of a country house hotel, with the sleek style of a Soho members' club". Its "quaint meadows and lakes meet with a curveball mix of Seventies-style retro prints in the bar". Treatments include a 'complete detox'. Doubles from £175 on a bed and breakfast basis (Cowleymanor.com).