Our appetite for new, exotic destinations is insatiable. And Oman is one of the latest that adventurous jet-setters must tick off their lists. This was a closed society until the current sultan, Sayyid Qaboos, deposed his father in 1970, realising the economic gains to be made from embracing the outside world. Now his government has top-end tourism firmly in its sights, and The Chedi is in the vanguard. A five-star contemporary beach resort, when it opened in 2002, its minimalist style struck a sharp contrast to the ostentatious Arabian glamour of the Al Bustan, then the only other hotel of note in the sultanate. Now it faces more competition from the new Shangri-La resort, just along the coast. But Chedi fans are loyal, and will be keen to try the first to open outside Asia. They'll be rewarded with a romantic beachside resort set around elegant water gardens.
Minimalist chic doffs its cap at traditional Omani style.
The comfort factor
The 151 rooms come in four grades. The humblest doubles have sea or mountain views. The grandest sit next to the beach and have sitting rooms and balconies. All clients can expect their rooms to be stylishly underdressed in brown and cream tones.
As you progress up the pecking order, your bathing options rise: a large shower in the superior rooms is complemented by sunken baths in the suites.
The food and drink
Top marks for creativity go to the Restaurant, a classy brasserie offering a choice of Arabic, Mediterranean, Asian and Indian cuisines served out of four open kitchens. Around 20 riyals (£28) per head without wine. The more relaxed Poolside Cabanas serve light meals, while The Arabian Court offers themed barbecues.
Dubai-based expats on a weekend break. Others fly in from across Europe.
Muscat's highlights are the Muttrah Souk (uninspiring), the Great Mosque (a must-see for the huge Swarovski chandeliers), the sultan's Al Alam Palace and the far more attractive 16th-century Portuguese forts that flank it. Better fun is to be had on day out wadi-bashing at the Waheeba Sands. Back at the hotel there are two pools, tennis courts, a boutique, spa and the beach (shame about the ugly desalination plant just along the sands).
Children can only stay in the suites. Restricted access for people with disabilities.
ITC Classics (01244 355527; www.itcclassics.co.uk) offers seven nights' b&b from £2,463 per person, based on two sharing, including return flights with Qatar Airways (0870-770 4215; www.qatarairways.com) and transfers.
The Chedi, 18th November Street, North Ghubra, Way No 3215, Street No 46, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman (00 968 52 44 00; www.chedimuscat.com).Reuse content