Mountains create a dramatic backdrop to this beautiful and peaceful city
Time Out Dubai staff
The Old: Turkish House There’s a reason every cabbie knows Turkish House, and that’s because it’s an institution in Muscat for locals and expats alike. Portions are gargantuan, with everything from houmous to cheesy fatayers and seafood so fresh it’s still wiggling. Al Khuwair (+968 24 488 071) The New: Vue by Shannon Bennett This slick, contemporary French restaurant headed up by Australian star chef Shannon Bennett offers delectable four-, five- or nine-course degustation ‘journeys’. With such incredible displays of molecular gastronomy you will talk about the experience for weeks later. Al Bustan Palace Intercontinental Hotel (+968 24 799 666)
The Old: Grand Hyatt Muscat A fabulous pool, lovely rooms with big balconies and a beachside location in the heart of Shatti al Qurum make this hotel a winner. Along with the scrumptious steaks at Rooftop Grillhouse restaurant, the hotel is also home to Muscat’s biggest nightclub. Shatti al Qurum (+968 24 641 234; www.muscat.grand.hyatt.com) The New: Al bustan Palace Intercontinental Hotel With a jaw-dropping 38m-tall lobby, this iconic Omani hotel was recently refurbished and sits on an exquisite 200-acre portion of Muscat’s coastline with infinity pools, manicured gardens and restaurants fit for a Sultan. Staying here is a splurge, but well worth the cost. Wadi Kabir (+968 24 799 666; firstname.lastname@example.org)
The Old: Muttrah souk A rabbit warren of lane ways, the old souk is crammed with merchants selling everything from traditional silver jewellery or Omani khanjars (daggers), to sweet-smelling frankincense and sandalwood. Muttrah end of the corniche, near fish roundabout
The New: Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque One of the few mosques open to non-Muslims, this recently built wonder is so grand it can accommodate 20,000 worshippers. A tour of the opulent interior (Sat-Wed 8am-11am) shows off the painstaking attention to detail – from intricately carved rosewood doors to a truly gigantic Persian rug. Remember to dress modestly. Al Sultan al Qaboos Street, between Al Khuwair and Seeb
Air Arabia flies daily from Sharjah to Muscat, currently for around Dhs600 return.