Saturday, February 20, 2010

Salalah Marriot Resort

Greetings, fellow creatures. A friend of mine went out to Mirbat over the weekend to investigate the newly opened Marriot Resort on the beach. I'm not a big fan of big bucks ruining our natural beaches, but there's nothing we can do to stop it. The only two big hotels in Dhofar at the moment are the Hilton & the Crowne Plaza. Both are lovely and have taken up a generous chunk of our beach. Over the past two years I've heard rumors of a new tourism village opening up at Mirbat (80 Km East of Salalah). Mirbat is a beautiful old town and I believe was quite famous for horse-breeding back in the good old days.
Anyway, to according to my sources at the Ministry of Tourism, a whole tourist town is being built out near Mirbat. Hotels, shops, golf courses, tennis courts, beach, and even an airport. If it'll keep the thousands of Swedes and Germans & the alcohol out there away from town, then I guess it's a good thing. But what hurts is that all the young Omani men from the mountains around Mirbat and from the town itself will be offered jobs at these resorts. The hotel business is so not-Omani.

The pool at the Marriot looks like it's t0-die-for and perhaps they'll let me jump in with my abaya and pink shades. Their rates are pretty good considering it's a five-star hotel. Last time I checked their website they had some really great packages. 70 Rials a night at a five-star resort? That's cheaper than the Park Inn and Golden Tulip! Almost as cheap as the Ibis. So if you're thinking of spending a weekend in Salalah, check out the Marriot! If I'm being nice, I might even invite you to coffee in my tent. My camels don't bite.


  1. The development at Mirbat is to be a Club Med destination.

    I'm intrigued by (1) your implication that tourists can be tolerated providing they stay away from Omanis (2) that it's not a good idea for young Omani men to take up jobs on the site, even though tourism is part of the strategy for economic diversification.

    Who would you like to see as tourists? Would you rather there were no tourists?

    I do have to sympathise about the ruination of the natural beaches. I was very privileged to visit some of them when I lived in Oman. I suppose you could say that I was 'spoilt' by the experience.

  2. Hey Nadia, I found your blog through reality's a few months ago. and have followed it daily since then. I love it. Your unique way of writing makes your Bogg very interesting, instructive and simply refreshing.
    I must thank you for taking the time to blog.
    It has been a great help to me and answered many questions and concerns I had about Oman. I have been in Oman (Muscat) several times but sadly never in Salalah, but thanks to your blog, I really want to go there, and I will Inshallah. As I understand it's a big difference to muscat, or have I completely wrong?!

    Now back to your topic, I would like to ask some questions,
    do you not think it is good that the tourism industry grows in Oman?
    way are the hotel business not for omanis? as you sad young men, develop. plz.
    (What about the young women)

    I'm just curious, because I will soon move to Oman, after my degree in tourism, I wonder if it is decent for a woman to work for example in the hotel industry in your society?
    (keep in mind that I will be married to an Omani) and I may be from a Western country, but with my looks, I blend in pretty well.
    Do omanis usually work within tursimen or is it mostly foreigners?

    hope you wish to answer
    thanks in advance.

    best wishes// M

  3. I don't get why they dont develop less of these expensive fancy things, and build stuff thats local-inspired? You know, our type of building, our type of food, etc
    Plus, this obviously doesnt target your average local/regional tourist..who are mostly families looking for budget accomodation

    -ADG (this time its not anon.- it stands for angry dhofari girls)

  4. @Nadia,

    Why does it hurt if Omani are gonna get jobs??

    Why isnt hotelling Omani??

    Just curious to know!!!

  5. Nadia, any idea what the tourist town you're talking about is called?

  6. After reading all your blogs and hearing so much about Salalah from a friend, I cant wait to visit it in June - July inshallah.
    I was planning to stay in Mirbat Mariott -
    looking forward to the Kahwa and the camels.


  7. While it looks nice this place is quite a long way from Salalah, I hope visitors don't expect to walk into town. We drove out to Mirbat once and it was a good 45 minute drive from downtown. There isn't anything to do in Mirbat itself as its a sleepy little fishing port with no tourist restaurants or tourist shops.

  8. .... first of all to "Slim", Mirbat is lovely and gets better every time I visit. Once you walk around the town and look at the historic houses and fishing harbour you get a good impression of it's vibrant history. Mirbat also has a FANTASTIC little restaurant tucked away between the big mosque and the fishing harbor. I forgot the name but I think it's something like Zaharah and it's right on the waterfront. Mirbat is far away from Salalah (70 kms to be correct and the hotel is another 6 kms down the road) but the drive there is amazing with it's winding road along the mountains and sweeping vistas.

    To Nadia: I don't understand your comment why it would hurt if local men got offered jobs at the resort. This is in line with the Omanisation that the government is implementing. It is also a lovely and interesting experience when a tourist meets a local instead of an expatriate while staying in a country. It adds to the fun of being on holiday. Having expatriate staff will only add to the resort alienating itself from the rich Omani culture.
    Also Tourism seems to be one of the governement's spearheads for developing Oman further. I must say that I agree that some of the Sweeds need to have a lesson in how to behave while in Oman (I see them half naked at other hotels in Salalah). But, I haven't seen any sign in the hotels explaining that e.g. the dress code in Oman is vastly different to that in their own country. They seem to be open-minded people that would probably gladly adjust at least a little bit to the local norms.

    The only thing I can hope for is that tourism doesn't have too much affect on nature. But having said that, I'm really appalled by all the rubbish I see on the streets here. Must be all the plastic bags they hand out for FREE at Al Isteqrar & Lulu. (In my country we pay 0.250 per bag) Maybe you can write a topic about POLLUTION IN OMAN one day because I must say, where nature conservation is concerned, Dhofar still seems to be in the Dark Ages.... Sorry


  9. Just my two cents...

    After 25 years of living on and off in the UAE I have seen the ugly things that tourism can do to a country. It brings in more alcohol, more prostitution, etc...

    Oman is a beautiful country filled with beautiful people. It is pristine in the sense that it hasn't been covered in the ugly filth that Dubai underground is famous for. Oman isn't flashy and hedonistic like Dubai. I am sure that there many Omanis who do not want what happened to Dubai to happen to any part of Oman.

    It would be nice instead for the Omani government to focus on Eco-Tourism or something else to keep Oman beautiful the way it is.

    So I can see why Dhofari Gucci wrote what she wrote about.

  10. as-salaam aleikum wa rahmatullah,

    mmm I have been wanting to go to Salalah for the longest time now --inshallah my husband and I will go soon!

    sis Miss MishMish, I totally agree with you!

    I certainly hope Oman doesn't any tourists like the one I saw from my balcony at Hotel JAL Fujeirah Resort and Spas one visit---he was wearing a THONG walking on the beach with his girlfriend/wife. Then later on I went on the balcony again and they were sunbathing on the lounge chairs and he was positioned on his elbows and knees-- his butt was up in the air and head all the way down!! And there were children on the beach!!!

    And the hotel staff were walking around, saw him, and of course did nothing because its a private beach I guess.

  11. Dear Dhofar Gucci,
    Im planing to come to Salalah after 15 july, driving from Dubai-Nizwa- Salala- Ras al hadd-Sur-Muscat-Dubai.
    I love your Oman, I love omany people.I worked in Khasab, Musandam before for 4 yrs. I have many friends Omani ladies and i enjoy when I go with them to the weddings, chatting with them, see the real life. Many they asked me where Im from?Answe : Im nus Omani nus Romani.
    I want to asked you if is allowed to camp in Salalah? Or do you know any budget accomodation? Im traveling with my "husband" fiance you can said which is omani from Khasab.I have also a blog about Khasab but not keeping update( I will , I PROMISE!!!)
    Looking forward to hear from you

  12. Dear Dhofar Gucci,
    Im happy that i come over to your blog. I was working in Khasab,Musandam for 4 yrs and now Im working in Dubai for same company Khasab Tours and Travel.I love your country, your people, i LOVE OMAN. I have many friends ladies in Khasab and i used to go with them to weddings, to visit them, I keep Ramadan even im christian. I miss my time in khasab and when ever im free i go back to my new "home".Many people in the begining asked me where Im from? I answer: Nus Omani, Nus romani( romanian).Im planing to visit Salalah coming from Dubai-Nizwa going back to Sur- Muscat-Dubai.I will like to asked you if is allowed to camp in Salalah? Or do you know any budge accomodation for 2-3 days. I want to visit the history of your country, tombs, ruines, the caves, wadies, the real things. I will come with my fince"husband" I can say, is an Omani from Khasab and maybe one of our cousin.
    i have also a blog but i dont keep update it (
    I will !!! I promise !!!
    I undesrtand you about Local guys working in tourism, we face same problem In our area.Imagine in Ramadan on dhows on summer all ladies on bikini swimming and our guys fasting....some of them..I consider that if your have faith in realy belive in God you dont look aroud and you go strait. I remember one of my colegues, omani on dhow( I was a tour guide in summer In Khasab when my colegues where on holidays)he was fasting in Ramadan and after dhow left he start smoking and drinking tea..I was suprised..i asked him why u dont do it in port and you did here? He told me that many friends will see him and if he smoke they will tell to his parents !!! is not the realtion betwen you and God? They were suprised to see me fasting in Ramadan even I was on dhow.
    I have may stories but i have also to go home..Tomorrow I have to come back to office...
    Loking forward to hear from you.

  13. Dibba tour is very enjoyable because there is a vast range of things to enjoy. The natural sceneries of Musandam Dibba are very beautiful and have no match in the whole world.