The Gulf region might feel like a somewhat unforgiving place, especially at this time of year, but don’t be fooled - there is plenty of beautiful, relaxed nature to be enjoyed without having to pack up and
Step forward, the Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel and its brand-new Butterfly Trail. If you’re new to the region, you may not have discovered neighbouring Oman’s stunning mountain ranges just a few hours’ drive away from the UAE. But take it from us, they are well worth the road trip. This summer, the team at the super-swanky Alila has launched an adventurous, three-kilometre nature walk. Armed with a scavenger map and binoculars, visiting families can discover fossils, lizards, birds and butterflies around the resort.
There are 20 species of butterfly calling this mountain home and temperatures sit at a cool average of 20˚C during the day and a positively chilly 15˚C at night. So, say goodbye to the confines of air conditioned living, and hello to an entire weekend exploring the wilds, taking part in a whole raft of fun activities on the way.
Jabal Akhdar (meaning Green Mountain) rises 2,000 metres above sea level – hence the cooler climes – and produces a famously-sweet local honey as well as walnuts, pomegranates and the famous damask rose, growing amongst acres of lush, fertile landscapes. The five-star luxury of the Alila hotel means there’s also the stunning infinity pool which feels like it literally drops off the edge of a cliff (cue a zillion family selfies) and a spa to enjoy, should any kid-free windows appear in between intrepid exploration.
There are free guided tours at 4pm on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays, and the kids can safely enjoy the Butterfly Trail on their own or with friends (if you fancy a break from them, of course). The resort also features an adventure playground and a natural musical wall to try out so there’s no need to get in a flap about how to keep them entertained.
Dhs1,107 (weekdays) and Dhs1,326 (weekends, minimum two nights) per night in a Mountain View Suite for four, including breakfast and dinner. Until September 30. Al Roose, Jabal Akhdar, Oman, www.alilahotels.com (+968 2 534 4200).
Four more family mountain escapes
Anantara Jabal Akhdar
Stay at the highest five-star resort in the Middle East and use it as a base to explore nearby Nizwa, an ancient Omani city with an array of imposing forts and traditional souks.
Jabel Shams Base Camp
With Bedouin tent or wild camping options, check in for a night or two under the stars and learn mountain rescue, rock climbing and get stuck into the specialist kids’ outdoor programme.
Jebel Shams Resort
This resort sits close to the edge of the Oman’s own Grand Canyon. The digs here are simple but clean, plus there is an international restaurant and coffee shop.
With 27 rooms and suites, the Sahab was built to blend in with the scenery and has 5,000 square metres of native plants and 270 million year old marine fossils in its surrounding gardens.