Located on the top of Jebel Akhdar (approximately an 8 h drive from Dubai) is the wonderful little Alila resort. I have had the privilege to visit most luxury resorts in the Middle East and whilst all have been impressive the Alila Jebel Akhdar has by far been my favorite. (Did you btw know that Jebel Akhdar means ”the green mountain”? The amount of juniper and olive trees as well as rose and pomegranate plantations makes this a unique region. I guess living in Dubai we are starved for flora and fauna which is partially why I enjoyed this particular getaway so much.)
Anyway first things first.
I didn’t know what to expect from the interiors or the facilities at the hotel upon arriving. It turned out to be mindblowingly stylish – a perfect morph between sustainable, contemporary clean design and Arabic heritage; with loads of wood, carved stone and muted earthy tones throughout.
The outside was just as impressive – the hotel is resting on the very edge of a canyon and no filters were needed to showcase the magnificent afternoon light sipping through.
Being the outdoors type I really enjoyed the hiking part of the trip. Ali (our guide) has been with Oman Tourism for years and was really pleasant to be around. I learned a lot about the agriculture, the heritage of the region as well as the governments take on tourism. Polar opposite to the one in the UAE, the concept is to host a limited amount of carefully selected resorts and aside from the existing Alila only one more hotel will open up atop the Jebel Akhdar. An Anantara resort (picked for it’s eco friendly mentality) will be located on a camping site once visited by the late Princess Diana.
Right; now so some stone cold facts:
- When is it best to go? All year around – we went amidst the Dubai summer scorch and enjoyed 15 degrees Celsius, light rainy drizzle and a nightly storm which made the experience ultra cosy.
- Food and drink is well prepared and the restaurant hosts a good selection of Arabic and international dishes. You are on top of a mountain though so you would mostly be relying on the hotels solo restaurant. Fussy eaters might need to bring a snack or two. We brought nibbles like chocolate and fresh berries. P.S The hotel at this stage does’t have an alcohol license but you can consume your own.
- What to do? HIKE! Explore! Chill. Read. Spa.
- What to bring? Good footwear for the above mentioned hiking; sunblock as the mountain air is considerably cooler but the sun is just as strong. I ended up with a mini sunstroke after 9 hours outdoors as I was trying to prove to my ginger boyfriend what a thug I am.
Did I mention the poolside sunsets? 🙂
I can’t wait to go back and visit the blooming rose plantations down the hills of the mountain as well as try the local pomegranates that the area is known for. I hope that I convinced you to venture out and if you have any further questions about transport etc the hotel staff are good at responding to emails and well informed if you give them a call. Happy exploring! XXX Teresa