This visit (our first so far) was made at the end of January 2006.
January in this part of the Gulf has sunshine, and a very agreeable 25C temperature on land, and 21C-22C in the sea.
Colourful sea slugs.
Our holiday was booked through Regal Dive. We spent 9 nights at the resort (half board) staying in one of the beach front Barasti style beach huts (traditional fisherman’s hut). The hotel (Oman Dive Centre) has a small children's pool, large pool (purpose built for dive training - ie it is 3m deep at one end) an outdoor (covered) dining area, restaurant, dive school (run by Nabucco Extra Divers) and kayak hire.
The hotel is located in its own sheltered bay with a large curved sandy beach, and is about 10 minutes drive from the eastern edge of Muscat.
The beach huts were very nice. Each had a comfortable bed(s) with mosquito netting, a roof fan and air conditioning in the bedroom. An adjacent corridor had a dressing table and wardrobe which contained an electronic combination safety deposit box. This led to the bathroom which was partially open air. Oh and there was a mini-bar charged at the same rates as the hotel bar.
Barasti Beach Hut.
Electricity is 220V AC, using the English 3 pin plug standard. Our room also had some sockets that looked like the Egyptian 3 pin hole variety.
We took a half day trip into Muscat to see the sights (and we had to go find a brochure advertising this in the reception, then ask them to book it - you don’t get the holiday rep hassling you to do stuff in Oman - yet!). This involved a tour around the main city areas, a visit to the fish market (this seems a compulsory item for any holiday city tour for some reason!) a local souk and finally the grand mosque. This mosque was finished just 5 years ago, and is both huge and impressive.
The hotel bay.
Oman is pretty new as a tourist and dive destination. Most of the people in our hotel were either Europeans who lived in the Gulf having a holiday, people on business trips or locals heading to the beach for the weekend. The resort was pretty quiet in the evenings. As Oman is a muslim country then alcohol is only available in hotels. We we're based a short drive out of town and didn’t venture out in the evening as we couldn’t identify an area to head to for any nightlife! The only alternative would have been to eat out at a neighbouring hotel. We were quite content with the hotel food and an early night, as we were diving most mornings. However,if you have a non-diving partner or are after a more hectic nightlife then the Oman Dive Centre would probably be too quiet for you. You would be better advised to book into one of the bigger hotels with more activities on offer. It is possible to arrange wadi and dune-bashing trips, jeep safaris and tours into the desert in Oman. We plan to try some of these next time we visit.
We flew to Muscat with Gulf Air. We had a pretty good flight (as flights go!). 34 inch seat pitch, individual TV with choice of programmes and we got exit seats on the way back! Even better, when we arrived at Muscat most people on our flight were then flying elsewhere so we sailed through customs and were out in less than 10 mins. (beats Sharm Airport hands down!) Similarly, when checking in on the return journey, there were no queues.