One of Oman’s newest arrivals has been included in Travel + Leisure magazine’s list of Best New Hotels in the World. Anantara Jabal Akhdar, which opened its doors to travellers last October, was the only Middle Eastern entry to be included on this prestigious list, which features 44 of the world’s best new and radically redone resorts. It is an accolade that Firas Rashid, the resort’s director of sales and marketing, is very pleased with.
“We feel very proud of this, because this project represents classical Omani architecture at its finest,” he told Times of Oman. “We are the only resort in Oman that has a fortress-shaped style, because the entire resort is inspired by the Sultanate’s fortresses and castles which nestle in the country’s mountains.
“The authentic and locally-inspired ethos that we have is what has contributed to us being included in this list and we are very pleased to have secured this achievement,” he added. “We know that this looks a bit like a government building, but a lot of people don’t realise that when the government constructed its buildings, they didn’t want to make them in the modern style, because that style becomes old after about five or six years, and they wanted a style that reflects Omani heritage and tradition.”
Located nearly 2,000 feet above sea level, Anantara Jabal Akhdar offers stunning views of the harsh, but rugged mountains and canyons of the Jabal Akhdar, the Sultanate’s highest mountain, and the expansive Al Hajar mountain range.
Inspired by the designs of fortresses such as Nakhal Fort and Jabrin Castle, Rashid highlighted that the new wave of hotels that were coming up in the Sultanate were integral to the sustainable tourism expansion plans the government has in store, as it attempts to wean itself off fossil fuels as a primary source of income and diversify its economy.
“Sustainable tourism will continue to be a point to stand by as we continue to run the resort,” said Rashid. “From the time construction of the resort began, we maintained all of the trees and greenery around the resort and left them untouched. The rocks that were dug up to make way for the foundation have been also re-used to build the walls of the hotel.
“In addition, all the trees and plants that are part of the resort’s landscape have come from the Jabal Akhdar region, so we are trying to create exposure and promote the Jabal Akhdar region, and tell the world that this is a green and abundant area that produces many fruits, vegetables, and many other items that we are thankful for, unlike maybe certain other areas in the Middle East. We have also begun a campaign with the government and the Royal Oman Police to clean the picnic areas that are open to the public. We have set up a team to clean these areas every Saturday so that the mountain remains clean and green.”
The inclusion in Travel + Leisure magazine’s list comes just a few weeks after both Anantara Jabal Akhdar and Al Baleed in Salalah won the Hotel Project of the Year at the recently-held MEED Awards.
The list of Best New Hotels in the World includes entries from across the globe. Other hotels that have made the list include the Asbury in New Jersey, and the Dewberry in South Carolina, United States, the Asilia in Tanzania, Sanctuary Chief’s Camp in Botswana, Amanemu in Japan, the Oberoi Sukhvilas in India, and Helena Bay in New Zealand.
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