Connie provided an excellent all round service - very responsive to questions always and clear messaging on options
Will be back! Thank you Lincoln
Very helpful and patient service and very good advice. Many thanks!
Hotel accommodation and taxi brilliant. Not too impressed with Qatar. We had to run to get both flights and all flights were delayed, a lot to do with staff disorganisation.
As always Jack looked after our booking brilliantly. We couldn’t be more grateful to him.
Niall was excellent - so helpful!
Jason was brilliant. Can’t improve on his performance.
Tia did a great job
Ethan was brilliant - responsive and really helpful - thank you
Always a professional service
Dominic was so helpful and efficient - thank you!
We were very pleased with our time in Oman. Have and will recommend DialAFlight to friends and family.
All went very well
Jeff is absolutely excellent.
And an upgrade to 1st Class going out! Don't think you can claim that was your doing but a nice treat. Thanks for all the help with forms
I have asked my husband to contact Jonny today to book his flight. Excellent service from him.
Outstanding service Noah
Everything fine. Thank you Otis for a great job. Excellent customer service as usual.
Jamie always very helpful
Excellent as always.
First class service
As always the arrangements made by Des worked perfectly
Always a fantastic service
Second time I have booked my holiday with DialAFlight. Dominic sorted me out with what I needed and made sure I was looked after. He did my first booking so I knew I was in good hands.
Excellent service again from Neil and his team.
Samuel was an excellent travel consultant. Great service
Always great service and support
Quick response and very helpful.
So easy. Will continue to use!
Claire and her team are fantastic.
What you have to under-stand,' a fellow guest says to me, 'is that Oman is the Scotland of the Middle East.'
We are on the Jabal Akhdar with vultures circling around us. The view below is a vast canyon of steep precipices and gorges mixed in with tiny villages clinging to the cliff side, surrounded by terraces cut into the rock.
With a cloudless sky, the air is desert-dry. We are at nearly 7,000-ft above sea level. The scenery is breathtaking and every bit as dramatic as the Scottish Highlands. For those who want to holiday in a quiet part of the Middle East without being overwhelmed by bling, Oman offers a serene (and safe) option.
In 1986, Charles and Diana flew by helicopter to this spot to spend the day in glorious isolation. Did it remind the royal pair of Balmoral? Thirty years on, there's a luxury hotel here and the view has been accessorised with a palatial spa, fountains and gardens, cocktails and gourmet food.
The Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar hotel is owned by the Oman army's pension fund and featured in the BBC series Best Hotels In The World.
The guests include Western ex-pats from the UAE, as well as Middle Eastern families, in search of temperate temperatures.
High altitude, cool climate
The royal picnic spot has become a terrace with a glass balcony, sofas and a fire-pit, while a cocktail trolley is wheeled out for sunset when the mountains turn a rosy pink.
The hotel has also thoughtfully provided blankets – temperatures can veer towards the Scottish and it's always about 15 degrees lower than in the capital, Muscat, two hours away. A combination of sunglasses and down jackets is the sartorial norm.
The scenery is dramatic but the atmosphere is calm. Oman's citizens - all 4.6million of them - belong to the gentle Ibadi practice of Islam. Oman has oil, but it has always been one of the most understated parts of the Middle East.
The Anantara is very luxurious, with 82 rooms that face the cliff, full of power showers and kingsize beds. Oman is famous for its marble and there's plenty of it on display. There are also 33 spacious villas, some of which have private pools.
An enjoyable blend of glamour and lycra-based activity, this is a hotel with its own via ferrata - an abseiling and zip-lining route that sees adventurous guests popping out by the infinity swimming pool after a couple of hours.
There's also a two-hour walk between a series of deserted villages, involving rock scrambles and balancing along narrow waterways. But it's worth it. We walk in the middle of steep terraces used by farmers to cultivate roses which have an intensity of scent that's famous.
We also see walnut and pomegranate trees, a reed-fringed spring and, as we inch around a rock with a sheer fall below, a tiny waterfall, fed by the short period of rain that usually comes in February or March.
In the 1950s, the children who lived here faced a three-hour climb to get to school. But only a handful of people live in the villages these days. Most have built new homes in the hills above the hotel, but come back to farm the land.
The ancient houses are still there, with mud walls and beams made from juniper wood.
Jabal Akhdar translates as Green Mountain, but the terraces are looking a bit parched, despite an ingenious water canal irrigation system called falaj that the farmers use and which has been developed over centuries. A desalination plant is being built to help the farmers.
Back at the hotel, on Diana Point, as it is known, I fall into conversation with Andrew Bickerdike, who lived in Oman in the 1990s when he served with the Sultan's armed forces and was back on Jabal Akhdar for the first time since then. He says: 'Getting up here on the small local tracks took the best part of a day back then.'
On our last morning, there's a misty start to the day and clouds gather. Finally, a few drops of rain turn into a downpour.
Instantly, you can tell who is Omani and who comes from the real Scotland. Out on Diana Point, whole families are huddled under umbrellas, in a state between gratitude and amusement.
'We've never seen rain in Oman before,' say a young Omani couple as they pull the hoods up on their puffer jackets.
First published in the Mail on Sunday - June 2019
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