Muscat is home to some of the most spectacular beaches in the world, featuring warm, placid water (that is far more swimmable than the chilly waves of larger oceans) and unspoiled natural beaches that sit in the shadows of stunning cliffs. This time of the year, you can enjoy laying out under the sun, cooled by gentle breezes and the intermittent dip by day, and at night, the soothing sounds of waves and the downright cold beach air make the shore the perfect place for a barbecue, a leisurely evening of stargazing, or a camp-out.
There are several public beaches for daytime use around the capital, but most families and women prefer the freedom and privacy of a private beach. Tucked between the fishing village of Sidab and the marina at Bandar Al Rowdha, one such haven exists at the Capital Area Yacht Club. The name is far more posh than the place, which is a simple set-up of sun shades and a stack of chairs and beach loungers that are first-come-first-serve. There is a small restaurant that offers beachside snacks and fresh juices, but most visitors opt to bring a coolbox and a picnic instead. There is no barbecuing allowed on the beach, and most visitors are respectful enough not to break the natural quietude with speakers or loud gatherings.
On most weekends the sounds of the sea will be interlaced with children laughing and couples and families softly murmuring as the beach fills-up. The calm inlet is almost as still as a swimming pool, with clear views down to the sand, fish, and algae-covered stones below, making it an amazing place for light swimming, snorkelling, or practising watersports like kayaking or stand-up paddle boarding (it is byo-equipment).
While the Yacht Club offers the easiest, most cost-effective way to enjoy a day at the beach without leaving Muscat, Al Bustan Palace recently began offering the easiest way to enjoy a sleep-over on the shore.
Set on a quiet stretch of the Al Bustan Palace private beach, a luxury tent created by the German-run Canvas Club, comes equipped with power, lights, a fan, and a plush mattress-topped bed that offers a direct view of the sea when the tent flaps are open. The private “campsite” also features a washroom tent, complete with shower, sink, and toilet, as well as an outdoor covered majlis area.
The Al Bustan camping experience is a room upgrade, which means that when you check in, you will also receive a key to your room in the main hotel room with breakfast at Al Khiran Terrace included. There is an additional fee to enjoy private breakfast on the beach or an evening beach barbecue set-up. The new “glampsite” features a remote beachfront location, set far from the main grounds of the hotel, smack-dab on the beach with unencumbered views of shoreline, the distant cliffs surrounding Sidab, the Al Bustan fishing village, and, providing the perfect vantage point from which to watch the dance of fishermen casting their nets first thing in the morning. The softly-lit, super-private overnight beach experience is one of the most romantic getaway options in Oman, though a small bed can be added to make it a family affair as well.
As the closest place to Muscat to camp on the beach, and certainly the easiest and most luxurious option in Oman, it’s well-worth it to take the money you save at the cost-effective Yacht Club, and parlay it into this beachfront camping splurge. The zen, restorative effect of an entire day and night at the beach (no heavy-packing necessary), is unlike any other.
Pack your beach gear and a change of clothes. Don’t forget towels and a small cool box.
8am Get up early and head to the Capital City Yacht Club in Sidab to score the best spots under the sun shades. Stop along the way to pick-up breakfast pastries, soft drinks, and ice.
9am Get comfortable on a beach lounger. When it gets too hot, take a plunge in the placid waters of the bay.
12pm Have a light lunch of sandwiches or fried snacks delivered to you on the beach.
2:30pm Dust yourself off and make the short, 5-minute drive to Al Bustan Palace.
2:45pm At Check-in you will be given a room in the hotel, a cellphone with a hotline to the duty manager, a flashlight,and an escort to your beachfront tent.
3pm Relax in your digs and take an open-air shower in your camp washroom. Play a game of backgammon in your private beachfront majlis, and catch the last rays of the sunset from your private oasis before heading to Beach Pavilion for dinner.
7pm Have a luxurious dinner on the beach. Local seafood is the specialty of the restaurant, and the new crispy cuttlefish salad dressed with hoisin sauce and garlic aoli is particularly fabulous. For those who aren’t the biggest seafood fans, the lemongrass pumpkin soup and lineup of fresh salads, are utterly delicious.
9pm On your way back to your tent, call the hotel and order coffee and tea from room service to be delivered to your majlis.
9:15pm Spend the evening listening to the crashing waves and star-gazing from your bed through the open tent flaps.
6:30am Wake-up to the sounds of crashing waves and birds calling. Ring-up room service and order breakfast or some coffee, then open your tent flaps and crawl back in bed to watch the fishermen cast their nets in the early morning light.
7:00am Have breakfast on the beach or at Al Khiran Terrace, then throw on your swim suit and go for a refreshing dip in the sea (alternatively, you can take a few quiet laps in the pristine infinity pool).
9am After your swim, lounge on one of the sun beds or head back to your majlis for an open-air nap.
11am Refresh yourself with a shower at your campsite or in your hotel room before checking out.
12pm Be sure to take the scenic coastal way home through Sidab Village and Muttrah.
Reserve Your Beachfront Glampsite
Al Bustan Palace- A Ritz-Carlton Hotel
+968 2476 4205, [email protected]
Canvas Club Upgrade Details
OMR100 supplement from any room category
or Junior Suite, or OMR50 net supplement
from an Executive or Presidential Suite.
Inclusive of overnight in the tent, turndown service, and breakfast at Al Khiran Terrace.
Private Dining Options
Arabic Traditional Charcoal-Grilled Dinner,
OMR205 for two with soft beverages
Beachfront breakfast, OMR35 for two
Get Away for the Day
Capital Area Yacht Club
Sidab, Muscat (Just before the turn
for Marina Bandar Al Rowdha)
+968 2473 7712
Facebook: Capital Area Yacht Club (CAYC)
CAYC Entry Fee
OMR3 per person for beach access
(lounges and shades are first-come-first-serve)