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On our recent one-week trip to Oman with our kids Sage (5) and Lavender (4), we decided to split our time in Muscat, the country’s capital, between two areas and hotels. For the first four nights, we stayed in a budget hotel on the beautiful Muttrah Corniche, where we could walk to famous attractions such as Muscat Fish Market, Muttrah Souq, and Riyam Park.
For our final two nights, we decided to treat ourselves to a stay in a luxury hotel. We were spoiled for choices. Muscat abounds upscale, family-friendly resorts, mostly found along the city’s 70 kilometers of coastline.
Admittedly there were several tempting options, but in the end we decided to stay at the Grand Hyatt. In this detailed Grand Hyatt Muscat review, I’m going to explain exactly why we chose this resort and what we enjoyed about our stay.
Table of Contents
Introducing the Grand Hyatt Muscat
The Grand Hyatt Muscat is a 280-room resort located in Shati Al Qurum, the most upscale locality along the coast of Oman’s capital, and it sits right on an extension of Al Qurum Beach, which many say is the best beach in Muscat.
The property is surrounded by international embassies, many of them housed in gorgeous buildings, but you have to be careful not to take any photos of them, or you could get in trouble! Because of this, the location feels somewhat exclusive, even though the beach in front is public.
The Muscat Grand Hyatt is a long-running leader in the luxury resort scene in Oman. The complex was constructed in 1998, and it is said that Michael Jackson even once stayed there!
Perhaps due to the timing it was built, the hotel takes risks I feel more modern resorts wouldn’t dare take, including a style that has been described as “art deco meets Arabian opulence.”
From the fort-like exterior to the Bedouin tents, palm trees, and slowly rotating statue in the oversized lobby, this hotel has got true character and charm that you won’t find elsewhere, and guests can bask in what feels like royal Arabian luxury.
Today the hotel maintains a reputation for its friendly staff, epic Friday brunches, and being home to some of the best bars and restaurants in the city.
Why We First Decided on Grand Hyatt Muscat
In October 2019, we sold our house in Taiwan and embarked on a 10-week trip that would end in Canada, our new home.
A few months before leaving Taiwan, we were invited to stay at the Grand Hyatt Taipei to cover their Luxury Camping for Kids experience. You can read all about our stay in my Grand Hyatt Taipei review. We had a fantastic stay to say the least, so this is one reason we were interested to see what other Grand Hyatts around the world had to offer.
Besides our previous positive experience with the hotel chain, the Grand Hyatt in Muscat seemed to have an ideal location for visiting a number of sights in that end of the city (see the “Attractions for Kids Near Grand Hyatt Muscat” section at the end).
It is also much closer to the airport than where we stayed for the first part of our trip, so we had a shorter trip to make to the airport on our final morning.
Most importantly, though, we loved the traditional Arabian look of the hotel, and we knew our kids would be impressed by it, too. Contemporary-style hotels can be found in any part of the world, but the Grand Hyatt’s architecture and decor is totally unique and true to the region.
The huge suites, swimming pool with lazy river and swim-up bar, as well as beach access, were finishing touches that made for a perfect stay with kids. If you are looking for a little luxury to complete your Oman travel itinerary, this may very well be it!
For another fun stay, read my review of Fantasyland Hotel themed rooms in Edmonton, Canada!
Arrival and Checking In
My wife Emily and the kids has no idea what to expect because they hadn’t done the research or seen the photos like I had. Still, all four of us were literally wowing when we first laid eyes of the palace-like exterior of the Grand Hyatt.
Our taxi driver missed the turn to the front entrance and ended up dropping us off in the parking lot, from where we had to walk up a hill to the entrance. A random staff member on break immediately spotted us and jumped in the pull our luggage and show us the way.
Check-in was fast and smooth, and the desk clerk was polite and soft spoken (something we’d already grown accustomed about locals in Oman). It was at this point that I learned we had been upgraded from a regular room (42 m2) to a Grand Suite King (84 m2). Thank you Grand Hyatt Muscat!
I feel that the lobby is the single most unique and impressive feature of the Grand Hyatt Muscat. We didn’t fully explore it until later during our stay, but it deserves a top position in this review.
Guests are first greeted with a station serving complimentary traditional Omani coffee with cardamom, which is a treat you absolutely cannot miss.
A few steps further and the expansive foyer opens up before you, with a variety of comfortable seating on sofas and chairs under traditional Arabian tents. Officially called the Sirj Tea Lounge, this is where guests can order a variety of refreshments, afternoon tea, and ice cream in summer.
The centerpiece of the lobby is a large marble fountain with a life-sized steel statue of a horseman holding a falcon. My kids didn’t believe me at first, but the statue rotates, ever so slowly. You can’t actually see it rotating, but coming back to the lobby at different times in the day confirmed that it was indeed in a different position each time!
At one corner of the lobby is a sleek black piano where pianist Zara performs three times per week. My kids were of course intrigued by the lobby, as was I! I won’t share them here, but I couldn’t help but sneak a few photographs of Arabian men in traditional attire sipping coffees in such stereotypical Arabian surroundings.
Natural light pour in to the lobby from the 14-meter stained glass windows at the front, which look out over palm trees, the hotel’s pool, and the sea in the background.
A set of stairs at the back of the lobby, just below the huge windows, takes guests down to Mokha Café on the first floor (the lobby is actually on the third floor), the hotel’s famous buffet restaurant and where most guests have breakfast (more to come on that below).
Our Suite at the Grand Hyatt Muscat
Our Royal Suite King room (which we had been upgraded to) consisted of a living room and a separate bedroom, each as large as one of the hotel’s regular rooms. This extra space was much appreciated by our kids, who had a grand time running and playing around.
The living room included comfortable sofas, a large desk where I was able to get some work done at night, a flat-screen TV which had two English cartoon channels for the kids, a guest bathroom, and a Nespresso Coffee Pod machine.
We were also very pleased to find the hotel had left a large basket of fruit, personalized welcome note, and huge box of succulent chocolates for us.
The bedroom featured a king size bed, a lot of free floor space, another flat-screen TV, a walk-in closet with safe and hand-carved jewelry box, mini-bar and fridge, a beautiful chest, and a full bathroom with bath tub, shower, and bidet.
From our balcony, we could see a slice of ocean on one side, the coast of Qurum Heights in the distance, and some embassies and peaks of the Al Hajar Mountains looking in the other direction. Looking straight down from our balcony, though, was a rather mundane view of the hotel’s parking lot; the suites and rooms at the front of the room must have the best views, or both the ocean and pool.
The hotel had placed a children’s cot in our room as we had requested. Actually, it was more of a baby crib, but my daughter Lavender liked it and just barely fit into it. We asked for a larger child sized cot for my son, which they promptly brought and set up for us. The kids loved their sleeping arrangement and didn’t even come to our bed at night (a rarity).
Our king-sized bed was incredibly comfortable, and we enjoyed a fantastic sleep. We were glad to be able to adjust the temperature in both rooms ourselves.
Dining at the Grand Hyatt Muscat
For both our mornings at the Grand Hyatt, we enjoyed the breakfast buffet at Mokha Café, which was included with our room. We always love a good quality buffet (and the kids are always excited with so many options to choose from), and this one of course was no exception.
The breakfast buffet featured a vast spread of dishes covering local Arabian/Middle Eastern favorites like hummus, tabbouleh, and moutabel, an Indian section (nearly half the population of Oman is of Indian origin), cheeses, breads, salad bar, pastries, egg and pancake station, juice bar (including really delicious “detox” juice), and much more.
The view and natural sunlight from the giant wall of windows in the restaurant was the perfect way to wake up, and the servers in the restaurant were very attentive, bringing us a choice of tea or coffee as soon as we sat down.
For dinner, we went with what seemed like the most casual and kid-friendly choice: Marjan restaurant, beside the outdoor pool. The restaurant serves Indonesian and Southeast Asian dishes, so our kids were able to enjoy some familiar foods like noodles (they grew up in Taiwan).
Sage chose chicken nuggets from the dedicated children’s menu, and we were happy to find the “nuggets” were proper slices of breaded chicken, and came with cute little jars of condiments. Emily and I also enjoyed mandatory fruity cocktails, which came with rosemary and saffron.
Note that Marjan is closed for dinner during the summer and on Saturday evenings, and serves drinks by the pool during the day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
If we had been visiting without kids, we certainly would have considered dining at award-winning Tuscany, which is said to be the best Italian restaurant in Muscat. The rooftop Safari Grill House was also very tempting, but the huge set menus, with the option for all-you-can-drink, just sounded like too much for us after already enjoying an all-you-can-eat breakfast.
Note that at this point, all the restaurants on site open for dinner at 7 p.m., but it’s best to confirm opening times when you arrive as they may change.
See here for a full description of all the restaurants and bars at Grand Hyatt Muscat.
Friday Brunch at the Grand Hyatt Muscat
Friday is a holy day for Muslims, and the Grand Hyatt is supposedly famed in Muscat for its elaborate Friday brunch special, which has the option of all-you-can-drink liquor as well.
The brunch runs all afternoon, and while we were there the food stations spilled out from Mokha café’s indoor buffet area onto the terrace, where we saw a roasted chicken station and oversized pan of spiced rice being prepared.
We were still too full from our morning breakfast buffet to partake, but lucky for us the buffet also includes a host of children’s activities. In the grass between the terrace and pool, a kids’ area was set up with bouncing castle, toys, and kids’ snacks. We were told there is also sometimes face painting and children’s tattoos.
The Swimming Pool and Beach
It may come as no major surprise the highlight for our kids was the hotel’s swimming pool. Our kids’ had never seen a “lazy river” before, and I believe we floated down it more than 30 times before we lost count.
There were loads of sun chairs available to choose from, and attendants provided as many towels as we needed. There is also a dedicated toddler pool for families with very young kids, as well as an adults-only hot tubs with massage jets.
We also couldn’t pass up a chance to try the swim-up bar; this was obviously a first for our kids. They went with a mango milkshake, while I enjoyed a single pricey beer.
In front of the resort, there is a stretch of grass with more sun chairs, and a public path along the beach. After dark the kids were mesmerized by how the pool was lit up with red and blue lights.
On our first afternoon, a Thursday, the beach was almost entirely deserted, so we had it all to ourselves. The kids were thrilled to find dozens of hermit crabs rolling about in the surf.
When we returned to the beach on Friday afternoon, we encountered a totally different scene altogether: the beach was crammed with locals enjoying their day off, swimming, playing soccer, and strolling along the beach, as far as the eye could see in both directions.
The jovial atmosphere wore off on us, and we decided to drop in for some fresh juice and a snack at Candle Café, a shisha bar right next to Grand Hyatt with a patio overlooking the beach.
Be aware when swimming in the sea that we saw quite a few jellyfish in the water. They are big enough to easily be spotted. I’m not sure how badly they sting, but the Grand Hyatt’s information packet in the room does warn about them.
Other Facilities at the Grand Hyatt Muscat
As a traveling family, we are up very early in the morning, have very busy & tiring days, and don’t have much energy left after the kids go to sleep in the early evening. Therefore, we never got around to taking advantage of the hotel’s babysitter service and visiting one of the hotel’s bars or night clubs.
For those who do find the time/energy, the hotel has a total of four choices. Adjacent to the lobby, the John Barry Bar is a contemporary cocktail lounge with a exquisite piano in the indoor section as well as a terrace overlooking the pool.
In a separate building called the Entertainment Center, the Habana Sports Bar has pool tables, game broadcasts, and occasional activities like pub quizzes. Club Safari is an African themed pub, while Copacabana is one of the hottest night clubs in town.
At Club Olympus in the main building, there is a fitness center and sauna, steam room, and small hot tub. Other amenities at the hotel include a flower shop, business center, travel agency, car rental, bank, cigar shop, jeweler, beauty salon, carpet shop, bookshop, souvenir shop, beauty salon, tennis courts, and yoga classes.
One cool service that we never took advantage of is the Grand Hyatt’s e-consierge, which can be used to easily make restaurant reservations, book transportation, make changes to your room, request additional services, and so on.
Attractions for Kids Near Grand Hyatt Muscat
One of the reasons we chose this hotel was because it was a good base for several kid-friendly attractions in the area. The hotel always had Grand Hyatt-labeled taxis waiting to take us wherever we needed. They had a set price chart for all major sights and stuck to it, so we didn’t have to worry about haggling over the price, which can be an issue with regular taxis in Muscat.
Here are some of the best children’s attractions within a short drive of the Grand Hyatt Oman:
– Qurum Beach: this fine-sand beach stretches for kilometers along the coast, from Qurum district all the way to Grand Hyatt and past.
– Natural History Museum: a small museum highlighted the geology and wildlife of Taiwan, with an impressive full size cast of a sperm whale (8:00 to 1:30, closed Fridays, 1 OMR, 0.2 for kids)
– Children’s Museum: This small but interactive museum is housed in unique dome-shaped buildings and has lots of fun displays for kids. Open 8-1:30, closed Fridays, 1 OMR, children free)
– Marah Land & Fun Zone LLC: an outdoor amusement park on the edge of Qurum Natural Park, a huge beautifully landscaped park. We didn’t go, but supposedly there is a playground that looks like a fort.
– Oman Avenues Mall: the country’s largest and best mall, complete with Funtazmo play center, which has a kids’ roller coaster, among many other rides and activities (open every day)
– Muscat Grand Mall: an older mall right next to Oman Avenues Mall, with three cinemas, sea vies from the top floor, and a good food court (open every day)
– Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque: The country’s largest and most spectacular mosque. The signs say that kids under 10 can’t enter the Main Prayer Hall, but they let ours in!
Well, I hope this Grand Hyatt Muscat review has helped you decide weather you’d like to stay there, with or without kids. If you have any questions about our stay, please feel free to ask in the comments below, and be sure to check out my detailed article on traveling to Oman with kids!
Disclosure: We received a media rate for our stay at Grand Hyatt Muscat, but as always, all opinions expressed are my own.