Oman tourism: Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa marks 10th anniversary

Oman Sunday 06/March/2016 22:20 PM
By: Times News Service
Oman tourism: Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa marks 10th anniversary

Muscat: On February 26, 2016, Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa celebrated its 10th anniversary in Muscat.
As a result of the resort opening in 2006, after three years of construction, the 640 rooms doubled the total room inventory available in Muscat and was, and remains, the largest resort, in terms of both size and facilities.
During the construction, materials were shipped to the site by sea, as a road was still being built. The development was created as a self-contained and independent location, including its own desalination plant and backup electric generators.
The construction was so extensive that on occasions there were over 3,000 workers on site each day.
When creating Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa, its architects and designers followed traditional themes to produce an experience based upon the very roots of Oman’s rich cultural heritage.
Ancient castles, palaces, cities, towns and mud brick villages that embody the Sultanate’s unique regional identity were the main inspiration for the resort.
Today, these themes continue and are evident in the decor and style portrayed throughout the resort.
Since time immemorial, sea turtles have been making their way onto beaches throughout Oman to lay their eggs. To ensure these creatures experience minimum disruptions during their annual pilgrimages, Shangri-La appointed Mohammed Al Hassini as the first turtle ranger at a resort, not only in Oman, but within the global Shangri-La family.
Since opening, Al Hassini has assisted over 50,000 turtle hatchlings as they made their way to the ocean. During the design and construction of the resort, it was important to preserve this environment for the turtles, so after careful consideration the resort was designed to ensure that all lighting at night was directed away from the shores, so as not to impact nesting turtles.
Shangri-La Muscat has always been a key contributor to Oman’s tourism sector and provided strong support to the country’s growing economy, assuring employment in Muscat, providing work for over 5,500 people since opening in 2006, with 145 members of the staff from the team in 2006 still working there today.
The resort has also been an ambassador in supporting jobs for the local community, employing nearly 2,000 Omanis since opening. Resort staff have a dedication and passion for training and developing skills for future careers, with a particularly strong partnership with the National Hospitality Institute in Wadi Al Kabir.
In addition to direct employment, Shangri-La has also indirectly created employment for those providing independent transportation.
Taxi drivers, partner-operated cars and tour guides have all benefited from the opening of the resort, and it is estimated that, on average, the resort receives over 85,350 independent transports per year which, since opening, has generated revenue for over 850,000 drivers in Muscat.
Over the years, Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) has been a growing focus and the team and management have supported over 1,900 CSR projects, ranging from beach cleanup exercises, fund-raising and water distribution, to redeveloping entire homes and schools for the local community.
“As a pioneer staff member from 2006, I am personally very proud to be here 10 years after opening the resort. From the moment I arrived, I fell in love with Oman and, while only working a short time in Dubai, it was like coming home to return to Muscat once again,” said Mark Kirk, Area Manager and Hotel General Manager at Shangri-La.
“There are many achievements that the resort has accomplished over the past 10 years, and we are all very proud and excited to be celebrating this milestone anniversary. We have always maintained our Shangri-La Values of hospitality from the heart, and we can truly say our hearts lie in Muscat”, noted Kirk.
At the time of opening, 1,200 palm trees were planted on the grounds of the resort, one for every person employed, and these palm trees still line the backdrop of the resort.