A budget-friendly stay in Oman's capital at Avani Muscat

Collected Image
Located within driving distance of the UAE, Muscat is a great option for a quick getaway. And with the first Avani hotel in the sultanate having opened earlier this year, quick escapes to Oman can also be pocket-friendly.

Promising stylish rooms and apartments that fuse modern vibes with coastal colours and plenty of traditional Omani touches, the four-star hotel has spacious rooms, with options that can sleep up to six people, making it ideal if you're a larger family or big group. The National checked in to find out what Avani's Omani foray has to offer.

The welcome
Less than a 15-minute drive from Muscat International Airport, the debut hotel for the Avani brand in Oman awaits.

After driving down from Dubai, we self-park in the ample car park but valet is available and reception staff offer smiles and a warm welcome as we enter the brightly lit lobby where coastal turquoise colours and an intrinsic lantern chandelier set the scene. Our room's wooden key card is a nod to the brand's regard for sustainability.

The neighbourhood
Located in Seeb, to the west of the capital, Avani Muscat has a good location for those visiting on a short break who don’t want to waste too much time going from airport to hotel.

While it’s not the most exciting of settings, it’s a handy spot for scuba divers and boating enthusiasts as it’s only a 10-minute drive to Seeb Marina. Retail therapy is also right on the hotel doorstep via Al Araimi Boulevard where there are also fountains, restaurants, cafes, a children's play centre and a cinema.

The room
We’re staying in a superior one-bedroom suite that’s an impressive 66 square metres in size and has a huge king-sized bed, plenty of wardrobe space and a bathroom with double sinks and a rain shower.

The open-plan suite has a spacious lounge with striking silver pendant lighting, marble floors and cosy Arabesque-style rugs. There’s also a dining area and a generous-sized kitchen that comes equipped with a fridge, hob, coffee maker, washing machine and everything else you might need if you want to self-cater or book an extended visit.

There’s no balcony but large windows have views over the palm-lined family swimming pool below.

The scene
Aimed at business and leisure travellers, this hotel is popular with locals and Arab families. Children can attend the Avani Kids club where they have daily activities and entertainment and the courtyard swimming pool is the hub of the hotel, with cabanas, loungers and umbrellas dotted along its outskirts.

The AvaniFit studio is small, but has everything needed for a good workout and all of the equipment is state-of-the-art. The AvaniSpa was not open during our visit, however it is now welcoming guests.

The hotel also looks like it will be popular for weddings. It is home to a 1,000-square-metre ballroom, and we see several wedding preparations under way during our stay.

The food
The Pantry is open for light bites and snacks in the evenings while the Patio Bar serves a varied menu poolside. A 24-hour in-room dining is also available and it is worth noting that Avani Muscat is an unlicensed hotel.

All-day eatery Trisis serves Omani and Middle Eastern fare as well as international dishes, several with a Creole slant. The electronic menu can be a little bit tricky to navigate, with dishes appearing in sections that you might not expect.

We have lunch here after a long drive from Dubai and go for the Trisis beef burger (Omani rial 7.8), which has tender Wagyu beef topped with crispy turkey bacon and served with French fries. It’s a good portion size and the flavours are nice, but it takes a very long time to be served. So long in fact that our other dish — a green creole mango salad (Omani rial 4) is long finished by the time the burger comes. The salad is tangy and fresh, loaded with mangos, tomatoes, onions and with a spicy lemon dressing.

The service
Genuinely warm and inviting, staff at Avani Muscat are eager to please but don’t expect things to be speedy — this hotel definitely operates on Omani time. Service at Trisis is friendly enough, but incredibly slow. Don’t go too hungry as you’ll be waiting a long time for your food.

The Digital Host app is a great addition to the service, allowing guests to easily request services or order room service from their phones.

Highs and lows
Recently opened, the hotel is fresh and bright and the rooms are spacious. The pool is a good size for swimming and there’s plenty of sunloungers and cabanas for everyone.

The low point is the slow service. On our last day, our key stops working and we have to go down to reception to have it reactivated. With only one person behind the reception desk, we wait nearly 15 minutes, which isn’t ideal when you’re standing in wet swimwear.

The insider tip
Our room overlooks the courtyard pool which is a nicer option than the surrounding car parks, but one you might want to give up if you’re a light sleeper. The sound of people swimming, chatting and yelling until the small hours can be distracting.

The verdict
A budget-friendly stay that’s a short drive from the airport and close to a sizeable mall, this is a good pick for business travellers or families who are more comfortable in an alcohol-free hotel.

The bottom line
Room rates start from Dh229 per night. Check-in is at 3pm, and check-out is by noon; www.avanihotels.com

This review was conducted at the invitation of the hotel during the global coronavirus pandemic. It reflects hotel standards during this time. Services may change in the future

Tags :

Share this news on: