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Last 5 reviews
A nice break during unusual times
I will preface this review with a fairly obvious comment that the issues of 2020 did impact what would have been a ‘normal’ experience. The Shangri-La at Barr al Jissah is a beautiful spot just outside Muscat and we had been looking forward to staying there a long time and so when the resort re-opened we took a chance. Whilst only a 25 min drive away, the new rules meant a check in time of over an hour, although Thursday afternoon is no doubt a peak time. We stayed in Al Bandar and the hotel decor is quite lovely, however the room was a little dated and could do with a refresh. Only a few of the resort facilities had so far opened which meant dining was a little limited but the Italian restaurant Capri Court was open and was very nice. Chow Mee was also nice although with few food options. It was certainly popular this weekend with families with lots of pool space and grounds for the little ones to charge around. Breakfast was included but was a little chaotic due to it being from a menu rather than the usual buffet due to restrictions. I think overall we were happy we went, but perhaps would not return to this part as it is just the two of us, but I think if we had a family it would be different. One thing I must say is that in every part of the hotel we encountered, the staff were superb. Very friendly and very attentive and for wandering around in near 40c heat in full PPE for the safety and comfort of the guests, they deserve a medal. Thanks also to the reservation staff who ensured our anniversary trip was made they little bit more special. Thank you all.
Night mare of an experience
Was terrible from the word go. First, they’re extremely understaffed to serve in the restaurants. We went for dinner to Al Tanoor, my wife, me and my 6 years old daughter. They served my daughter after a one hour wait for a regular kids meal! Then, I told them clearly that only one set meal is sufficient for the both of us since we weren’t that hungry, they put only only one portion of everything on the table and things came very haphazardly. Next day, for breakfast, again, my daughter ordered waffles but they brought pan cake and the sunny side up was forgotten about till our departure time. The icing on the cake was at check out, they gave me a bill for 2 adult meals and I told the check our guy and his duty manager, both Filipino that we ate only one meal. They made us wait one hour , kept going up and down and brought a bill from Al Tanoor which had someone else signature on it. Finally, I gave up and just paid the 14 OMR and told them that it was nothing less than a disastrous experience in total.
A disappointing stay
We appreciate hotels are currently learning about operating with COVID-19. And in fairness the Shangri La's specific response to Coronavirus was assured and we felt safe. We missed their fantastic buffet lunches and dinners but understood why life at this beautiful resort had changed. This trip to one of our favourite hotels in Oman was let down by some poor organisation, outwith the hotel's controls on Coronavirus. Disorganised Check-in and Check-out. Firstly we were emailed and told we had to arrive - strictly - at 1100 to allow safe dispersed check-in to the Shangri La. We arrived at 11, which was quite a rush with two small children, only to be told our room would not be ready for another hour. Surely you would make sure that the rooms of those you have asked to arrive (relatively early) would be prepared or prioritised. I understand that this is a mitigation designed with COVID in mind, however, if a hotel asks, no TELLs its guest to do something, I would ensure that it is a smooth arrival, or one has to ask if this a clever plan to get guests to have lunch with at the hotel and spend more money??? Again, in the same email which detailed our arrival time, we were told we had a complimentary upgrade. We were excited, but sadly, in the end we had a smaller room that when we stayed with the Shangri La last time in Al Waha. Not sure what upgrade we were meant to get, but perhaps because the room was not ready we got shoved in a standard, tired room? The restaurant food was delicious as always. But the waiting staff seemed chaotic, especially when considering they had much fewer tables to wait upon. Pancake orders for my youngest went missing. Drinks orders were forgotten, the Catch of Day arrived without potatoes! I think this was due to the staff getting use to predominant table service, in lieu of the buffet service we all love and adore at this hotel. Checkout was the worst experience of our stay. We had sadly left the pool at 1400 and immediately ordered the trolley for our bags at 14:45 (to allow us 15 minutes to get to reception). At 15:05 we were still waiting in the hot corridor with two very bored children. We had been told by two passing front of house staff they would chase the bell boy, and we had also rung Guest Services twice. In the end a very kind housekeeper stayed with our bags whilst we then moved to reception and waited over 15 minutes in a queue for checkout. I would recommend that the reception be more flexible, and at busy times change one of the 3 check-in desks to a check-out desk. I appreciate that the apology from the Duty Manager as he helped put the bags in our car. But the hotel needs to remember that we, their guests, never want to leave the hotel and the cool poolside to return to our work-life, so when you do leave a hotel you want it to be as painless as possible. This was a shocking end to our stay, and other hotels in the area do checkin and check out 10x better, I recommend the Anantara Jabal Al Akdhar, where as a guest, you are treated much better, and they recognise your time is precious. The staff, especially at the Circles bar staff made us feel special, the pool was fantastic and it was great to have the lazy river back in operation. The life guards are attentive, they followed me on a 1 KM swim around the bay on a canoe (when he realised I was training and not going to come back to shore he stayed with me and pointed out fish to me! Amazing staff!); the food was delicious. The only issue here is organisation. How can our room not be ready when we are told when to arrive? How can it take a bell boy take over 25 minutes to get our bags?
The place is so beautiful! Enjoyed their lazy river. My husband and I had so much fun kayaking! You better stay there during weekends because kayaking is free, otherwise you have to pay for it. Our breakfast buffet at Samba was delightful!
A trip that will be less remembered compared to previous ones
We are residents here for over a decade, and this is one of our most loved resorts, and we use to go 2-3 times every year. The resort was re-opened on 30-Aug'20 after the Covid-19 restrictions, and we were waiting, even though the pool, lazy river, restaurants etc were closed. There was a promotional offer and we chose a half board option. This trip will be less remembered in future, because of the constraints associated with Covid-19 restrictions: 1. Though we were offered an early check in from 11am, and we reached by 12pm, but finally we reached the room around 2pm. We observed some families very annoyed with this. 2. Closure of swimming pools, lazy river and play areas was known to us; however we missed them a lot. 3. As there was some maintenance / construction going on at both ends of the Al Bander premise, the walking area got reduced to say 40%. 4. Even the beach access was limited restricting the Al Waha front. 5. Water sports were also limited including Jet skies. 6. The room service was not in perfect order, taking 45-60 mins and deliveries coming at long gaps. Also some minor issues like omelette delivered 'half done' when ordered 'well done' and ice cream we had to drink instead of eating. Having said the above points, we still were satisfied with our stay, and wish to highlight below noteworthy efforts: 1. We were given 50% of the daily rate as dinner credit. Only thing they did not inform us that taxes etc are extra charged. 2. Kids meal were complimentary. 3. Room rate was low compensating the less facilities 4. Though the room service was not found perfect, we could understand the extra efforts they had to take for packing & serving. 5. We enjoyed playing in the beach. 6. We have seen the staff struggling to make things less difficult. 7. Sanitation measures were visible, and that reduced our Corana fear. Overall, we enjoyed our stay, considering Covid-19 restrictions and that we knew in advance about most of the limitations.
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