One of the remarkable things at the Crowne Plaza Muscat is the breakfast buffet at Tropicana restaurant. Honestly, even the 5-star property hotels can’t match this vast and fresh breakfast spread. The extensive breakfast buffet is served from 6 until 10:30 am on weekdays, and ends at 11:30 am on weekends.
A wide selection of all the possible breakfast variations that anyone might think of is included in the Crowne Plaza muscat breakfast buffet.
With different corners for Arabic, Asian, and Western types of breakfast, prepare to be spoiled for choices and confused as to what to have!
There’s even a pancake machine, coffee machine, and a live cooking station where a chef will make your eggs the way you like to have them.
No matter what your ethnic background or country of origin is, rest assured that there will definitely be something at the Crowne Plaza Muscat buffet to satisfy your palate.
All the staff at this hotel are extremely friendly, well experienced and highly professional individuals. So, having breakfast every day on my own didn’t make me feel awkward or anything. Instead, I felt at home and truly enjoyed my little chats and casual conversations with the breakfast restaurant staff members.
Now, let’s have a look at some of the breakfast buffet options at Crowne Plaza Muscat…
Being a huge foodie and a true breakfast lover, I was taking my time in having breakfast every day…and in a failed attempt to avoid over-eating (which I must admit that I did during my Muscat trip), I decided to have a delicious freshly made vegetarian omelet on one day, and an Arabic breakfast of “foul” (fava beans) on another 🙂 Not to mention the fresh salad that I would team up with my “foul” day. I know, I’m such a nerd that I even plan what to have for breakfast….
I truly miss the wonderful and fresh breakfast buffet selection at Crowne Plaza Muscat. I was so craving a hearty breakfast this morning, but I decided to stay at home to write this post with a reliable wi-fi connection. All I had was a banana for breakfast, so you can imagine how much I would love to indulge in a Crowne Plaza Muscat breakfast at this very moment…
Stay tuned to this blog for the next post from my Muscat trip…hint: it involves some souvenir shopping and traditional souk hopping 🙂
You might have read my introductory post about my recent trip to Muscat, and how I got most of my friends and family worried about me. How come? well, I decided to disappear from Dubai for a short break without informing many people that I was leaving 🙂 My dad knew that I was going to Muscat, but since he’s always been a forgetful person, he completely forgot about it. And I ended up being the center of attention – even to my building’s security guards! If you missed that post, you can still find it here.
Because I like to have music as a background to my life – be it radio, music TV channels, or Youtube music videos, I decided to share with you this uber cool playlist that I discovered recently. The best part? it’s mainly old-school R&B – my favorite music genre! You can keep this playlist playing in the background as you go through my second Muscat trip post – if you wish of course:
Now, if you are visiting Muscat for the first time, you must understand one thing: Most tourist areas, green mountains, wadis, hot water spots, nature, whatever it is – is located at least two hours or an hour and a half away from Muscat downtown. You could take a tour day trip, hire a taxi driver, or rent a car and drive there yourself. However, for a Diva like me, I decided to just lounge by the beach all day and leave all the sightseeing for another trip! Yes, I was really exhausted from the super fast-paced Dubai life and I wanted to take a break to just breathe…
On the bright side, I did meet some nice people during my trip who offered to take me sightseeing on my next visit to Oman.
So my suggestion for you would be to make friends as soon as you land in Muscat (provided that you don’t have ones already) and ask them to take you around the city and the beautiful green landscapes (which I didn’t get a chance to see really!).
However, I did manage to check out the Barr Al Jissah area. Which is basically a mountainous landscaped area – beautiful at sunset time. I even stopped at the highway to take some pictures for you guys to see! How brave is that? 🙂
The road through Barr Al Jissah can only take you to the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa. And that’s where I went to check out Long Bar, after seeing it listed in the first edition of Conde Nast Traveller Middle East. I had always dreamed of visiting Oman, so I kept that copy of the magazine’s first edition…and it sure came in handy! It does take time to realize your dreams, but it’s never impossible. So whatever those dreams are – whether you dream of visiting an exotic beach destination or becoming a well-known artist – you will get there if you have a strong will and a bit of patience 🙂
The beach width at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa is quite big. But I must admit, I had higher expectations for this resort. Coming from glamorous and shiny Dubai, I honestly wasn’t impressed with this hotel to say the least. This property didn’t match the standard of this renowned five-star hotel group, nor did the ambiance or food at Long Bar. I felt that the hotel was kind of shabby – I know it’s Oman and not Dubai. So it’s meant to be kind of old and rich in heritage. But I still didn’t feel like I was at the Shangri-La! I had heard a lot about this specific resort prior to visiting. But sadly, I was disappointed with my experience there.
As for Long Bar, it did have an outdoor seating overlooking the bay. However, there were no coolers in the outdoor area (unlike outdoor spaces in Dubai). Plus, there was no music playing in the outside area – apart from the Oud player serenading us with “Om Kulthoum” classics in the next door venue. Now if I wanted to listen to Oud and some classical Arabic tunes, would I be heading to the Shangri-La Resort & Spa for my night out? Hmm…maybe not. It’s true that it was a quiet and serene spot for a chilled night out. But I would say it was too quiet for my liking. Quiet at Long Bar translated into “haunted”. And that’s not what you expect at a five-star beach resort bar.
I only had breakfast that day, so when I saw that they had Spanish tapas on their menu at Long Bar, I got excited! I ordered the classic Spanish omelet starter – only to be even more disappointed with this sports bar. The omelet tasted like something that you would get at a breakfast place that doesn’t serve decent breakfast. In Dubai, ordering International dishes means that the restaurant will try to make them in a way that is highly similar to the original recipe. It will taste very close to the real thing too! Not at Long Bar unfortunately. They might as well remove the Spanish tapas from the menu if they can’t make them properly. This is what I had at Long Bar:
In the above photo, I’m wearing “Resort Fling” nail polish shade by the famous Essie brand.
I think that’s about all I had to say about this part of my Muscat trip. But stay tuned to hear about more places to see in Muscat…
I chose Muscat as my summer holiday destination because I wanted to get away to a nearby peaceful and quiet place. And I’m glad to say that I couldn’t have made a better decision. Luckily, as a GCC national, I don’t require a visit visa for Oman. This fact is considered a great privilege, since an advance application for a visit visa is required for most countries with my Saudi passport.
Browsing through the mainly positive reviews of the Crowne Plaza Muscat on Trip Advisor will make anyone looking for a mid-range hotel choose to stay there. And as a note to all my readers and followers, I assure you that I paid the regular room charges for my stay at the Crowne Plaza Muscat. So this is by no means a sponsored post. It is a genuine review of my experience at the hotel and in Muscat in general.
The unique element about this hotel is its location. It’s situated on top of a hill in the “Al Qurum” area. The area is around 25 minutes away by car from Muscat International airport. It’s a well-reputed residential upscale area, that is home to many of the country’s ministers, PDO (Oman’s leading oil and gas company), and the residential compounds of PDO’s employees and other company facilities.
Crowne Plaza Muscat is a four-star property:
After my Hong Kong hotel room view, I decided to choose a sea-view room this time around 🙂 Here’s my breathtaking view from my room at Crowne Plaza Muscat:
Another view from my room window:
A view of the swimming pool from the same window 🙂
While at my peaceful sea-view room, I could hear the sound of the waves and the birds chirping throughout the day. Just being in the room felt so relaxing and serene. It resembled living in the outdoors or in a forest for my whole stay there. I even decided to keep my mobile phone switched off throughout my vacation – which caused a lot of family and friends to get worried about me. This meant that I came back to my apartment building’s reception in Dubai to a security guard requesting me to call my worried father, and looking at me as if I’m a crazy woman! not to mention a sweet note slipped under my door from my besties in Dubai, wondering where I have disappeared! Of course all of that commotion can only prove one thing: that none of my close friends in Dubai take the time to read my blog posts! Sigh…oh well, I hope that I will gain loyal readers from across the world who are genuinely interested in reading my blog posts! I will post a picture of that note later on my Facebook Page. So stay tuned for that 🙂
Here’s a look at my home for a total of 8 days….
On my first day, I needed to get a few things from a grocery store, so I headed to Al Qurum City Center. It’s basically a local mall for the lovely Qurum area. It’s part of the popular City Center shopping mall chain that has a number of malls around the GCC. The taxis is Oman do not have meters like the ones in Dubai. So you can find the fixed rates on a sign board at the hotel, airport and at malls. The taxi fare from Crowne Plaza Muscat to Qurum City Center is 4 OMR. There’s a Carrefour hypermarket in the shopping mall. But it’s not nearly as busy as the one in Dubai! I was there on a Thursday afternoon (around 3:30 pm) and the halls of the supermarket were haunted! It was a shocking scene for someone who frequents Dubai’s MOE Carrefour to say the least! Apparently, the residents have other more popular options for their grocery shopping aside from the UAE-renowned Carrefour.
I was glad to see a Borders bookstore at Qurum City Center! I managed to get a copy of a travel magazine and two notebooks for my University September semester (which started yesterday b.t.w.). Here’s a photo of Borders at Qurum City Center.
It takes around 5 minutes to get to the mall from Crowne Plaza Muscat. It’s a small-sized mall with only one floor including a number of high-street retail shops, a Starbucks, a food court, a Chili’s restaurant, a cinema and the Carrefour. I would say it’s a nice quiet place to go to when you need to kill some time, want to get some groceries, or do some people watching at the Starbucks 🙂
I’ll be posting the remaining photos on my Facebook Page at the end of these series of travel posts. So stay tuned to find out more about the beautiful and captivating city of Muscat…
Note: Airport taxis are located outside the arrival hall in Muscat airport. The cost from the airport to Crowne Plaza Muscat is 10 OMR per way. It’s a fixed rate that you must pay at the airport taxi station, which is located outside the arrival hall at Muscat airport. Muscat airport can be quite busy and overwhelming, so don’t let that put you off a highly peaceful and beautiful city 🙂
On my last day in the city, I decided to treat myself to the famous Asian foot reflexology. And I wasn’t disappointed when I chose Gao’s Foot Massage Co. The place was listed as one of the best places to get a foot reflexology in a travel article that I read while searching online. What makes the foot reflexology in this part of the world unique is that the massage is done all the way up to your knee. The pressure and rubbing techniques were perfect. They also serve complimentary tea with rose petals!
At Gao’s Foot Massage Co., you can choose how long you want your reflexology treatment to last. I think I went for the 50 minutes foot massage which costs 198 Hong Kong dollars. I only say this because I have that in my notes, so I’m guessing that that’s what I went for. Well it has already been five months since I got back from that trip, so you can’t blame me for not remembering every single detail!
For more information about Gao’s Foot Massage Co, check out their web site:
After my wonderfully relaxing and soothing foot massage, I went to meet my friend who lives in Hong Kong and who I met while I was taking a course at London College of Fashion! My friend Tanya lives in Sai Kung, which is a town located by the sea, an hour away from central Hong Kong. That’s mainly why I couldn’t see my friend as often as I would like, but I guess we made up for it on the last day 🙂 We had steamed fish balls in a noodle soup for lunch. The traditional dish was recommended by Tanya’s mom after I had explained to her my stomach issues from experimenting the local cuisine! The food was light, healthy and tasty.
Final Words on my Trip
At first glance, Hong Kong reminded me of London in so many ways. With its highly populated and busy streets, the layout of the city’s streets and shops, the high walkability of those streets, and the liveliness and hustle and bustle the city emits. I even told that to my local friend, who agreed and said that Hong Kong is a lot like London, only it’s an Asian city. So, that’s how I saw Hong Kong from the 8 days that I spent there.
Would I go back to visit? definitely. But I would prefer to stay at my friend’s place in Sai Kung for two reasons:
Because I felt lonely staying in a hotel alone in Hong Kong.
To experience the relaxed life by the sea. Away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
What bothered me most about this trip was that I wanted to escape from busy and fast-paced Dubai to a more quiet and relaxed place. Only to find myself in an even more populated and overly crowded city! with no space for a single person at any coffee shop on the weekends! At least in Dubai, that is never the case. So I was greatly disappointed that I went on vacation to a busy and populated city. Especially that it was the holiday season too.
Another thing that I would change if I plan to visit Hong Kong again would be to go there during the Chinese New Year instead of the busy holiday season as I did. And I might stay for at least two weeks to have enough time to relax by the sea and explore the rest of the city.
I hope that you enjoyed reading my review of my 8-day Hong Kong trip. If you have any questions about anything, feel free to comment on the relevant post.
I found the layout of the stands at the travel show very creative and innovative. Most stands that took up a relatively big space had two story built stands with counters and seating areas where clients can sit and have something to eat or drink while discussing their business or personal inquiries. This made for a more relaxed and casual trade experience, and an unconventional way of networking with the exhibitors.
Honestly speaking, it was my first time to attend the Arabian Travel Market. I think. At least it was my first time since I moved to Dubai a little over three years ago. But walking in the busy exhibition hall – and getting annoyed at people pushing and brushing at me – took me down memory lane to the mid-90’s when I used to visit Dubai with my family. My mom being a highly active business woman in those days used to drag me and my sisters along to every single exhibition that was of interest to her and her beauty salon business. Of course, I didn’t always enjoy attending those shows since I had no personal or business interest back then. I was only a high school student at the time! Now though, I’m a lifestyle blogger who is covering main and interesting events in the city. So attending an exhibition wasn’t such a bad idea.
Back to our topic, the stands at the show represent different countries across all the continents. So you won’t be disappointed no matter what country you have on your hot list of places to see before you die 🙂 There were even some talks held at the Google stands on various technology related topics.
On my list (which is the same list that I’ve had since I was living with my parents and dreaming about traveling alone or with friends) were these three countries:
They are not far away places from the Middle East region. But, I haven’t been to any of them yet. My main concern when approaching the exhibitors at the stands was the visa requirements. I’m a Saudi passport holder and therefore I require a visit visa for most countries. I was told that I would need a European visa for both Greece and Cyprus. But luckily, I know that an advance visa is not required for me to enter Turkey 🙂
Since I have great friends in Turkey, I didn’t bother going to their stand at the show. I did however have a nice chat with the lady at the Cyprus stand who later gifted me a lovely key chain and beaded souvenir (we call it mesbah in Arabic). Please correct me if I’m wrong.
As a last thought, I can confidently say that anywhere you go in this world depends in a great part on the company that you have with you and the times and moments shared with other loving people and friends. So as I walked down the exhibition hall alone today surrounded by a crowd of strangers, I couldn’t help but remember my Hong Kong trip and the loneliness some of its days brought to me. That’s why, the next time I plan on traveling, I will make sure to share that trip or at least most of it with a friend. I think the majority of you would agree that traveling alone for leisure can be an interesting experience, while a lonely one at the same time.
Where do I plan to travel to next? I think the answer is simple: to where the opportunity takes me. But essentially somewhere with a relaxed pace of life, a white sandy beach, where good friends reside (or live close by), and preferably where a prearranged visit visa is not required 🙂
The Arabian Travel Market is open until the 9th of May this year. Happy travel shopping and happy holidays!
While discussing my Hong Kong holiday package with the very professional, friendly and helpful Emirates Holidays agent, I was advised not to go to one particular area of Hong Kong: Mongkok. When I asked her about the reason that she didn’t think it would be a good idea for me to go there, she explained that Mongkok was the equivalent to the Red Light District area in Amsterdam, and that I should avoid it since I’m travelling alone.
I took my lovely agent’s note into consideration and was strolling down the different streets of Hong Kong when I got there, without paying much attention to where I was really! No, I’m joking. I was relatively aware of the names of the areas and streets that I walked in. I was basically my own tour guide!
On most evenings (and sometimes mornings or afternoons!), you could see me sitting in front of one of the computers at the lobby doing my research on the top tourist attractions and things to do in the bustling city of Hong Kong. My search on the best street markets in Hong Kong resulted in a good number of options. Some of them were in the Kowloon side, and others in the Hong Kong Island side. I ended up with a list of three markets that I would like to visit. And since I had already been to the not so easy to find “Jardine’s Crescent Market” (see here if you still haven’t read that post), I was down to two markets: Jade Market and the Ladies’ Market.
I asked my local friend – who lives an hour away from the city in the harbor-side town of Sai Kung – which street market we should check out, and she suggested that we go to the Ladies’ Market upon telling her that I wasn’t interested in buying any jade ring or other jade jewelry. So off we went to Tung Choi street in Mongkok which is home to the famous Ladies’ Market. On our way to Mongkok, I explained to my friend the words of advise that my Emirates Holidays agent had given me about the area…and we had a small chat about it but we didn’t have anything to worry about especially since we were visiting the area in the afternoon time and are going to a particular place there.
Little did I know that what I would experience at the Ladies’ Market that afternoon would have nothing to do with the agent’s warnings, who was herself surprised when I told her my unbelievable story. We had just started our journey through the busy market and were having a look at some colorful beaded bracelets at one of the stalls. Since we were in a street market, I decided to practice my not so great bargaining skills with the sales lady…I was asking her to lower the price as I wanted to get a couple of bracelets. But deep inside, I just wanted to have an idea of the price range in the market before I continued my stroll down the market stalls. Mainly because I wasn’t that fond of the bracelets that she was selling and I wanted to have a look at other stalls before I made up my mind on anything. To my surprise, she did lower the price by a good amount…but I still didn’t like the bracelets that much and didn’t want to rush into buying from the first place that I had a look at. When I was about to leave, the middle-aged woman held on to my hand so strongly and wouldn’t let go! I explained to her that I will just have a look and come back, but she still wouldn’t let me go! After a few attempts to convince her that I will be back and her not letting go of my hand, I pulled myself away only to receive the strongest pinch on my arm that I have ever experienced in my entire life! That pinch caused me strong pain on the spot and a bruise that left a dark mark on my skin. The pain and bruise associated with that lady’s aggressive pinch lasted until a while after I was back in Dubai! Yes, it was that strong!
After our purely abusive encounter at the accessories stall, we continued our walk through the market, and I came across another stall selling similar beaded bracelets. The patterns and colors were nicer and the lady gave me an even lower price…and she didn’t need to use her aggressive powers in convincing me to make a purchase! I was glad that I didn’t buy anything from the previous lady and that I waited till I found something that I actually liked.
Walking down the notoriously busy streets of Mongkok on a Sunday evening meant that we would be witnessing all sorts of street activities…from political protests to Chinese dance performances and juggling acts. And even an old Chinese guy who was writing a message to the passers by in white chalk, asking for financial help in sympathy for his sick daughter.
I wasn’t surprised to read on Wikipedia that “According to the Guinness World Records, Mongkok has the highest population density in the world.”
Honestly, after my personal bad-mannered experience at the Ladies’ Market, I suggest that they change its name to the Brutal Market and have a sign that reads: Beware of Pinching Lady at the First Beaded Bracelets Stall 🙂