Muscat: A $600 million luxury integrated tourism complex (ITC) taking shape in the Al Hajar Mountains near Qantab is set to welcome its first residents at the beginning of next year.
By then, the five-star Jumeirah Group hotel at ITC Saraya Bandar Jissah, will also get ready to open its doors, with construction scheduled to be complete at the same time.
Photos: Saraya Bandar Jissah preparing for first residents
While low oil prices are affecting some construction projects, officials at Saraya Bandar Jissah said the huge scheme was moving aggressively towards meeting its deadline for the first phase.
The first phase of the project includes 224 properties separated in three residential zones, five star hotels, and recreational facilities.
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“If we are to sum up the development at this stage it will be 'Coming Soon'. We’re moving; yes oil prices are down, but it has not stopped us. We are 100 per cent moving forward. People will be living here early next year,” said Lee O’Donoghue, vice president, Marketing and Sales, Saraya Bandar Jissah.
Currently, there are thousands of workers working at the 2.2 million square metre site, which features an expansive beachfront, a high point of 250 metres above the sea level and an iconic fort dating back hundreds of years, which has been preserved.
While construction began back in 2012, much of the work over the years has been to carve out and prepare the massive site for construction with infrastructure for utilities, drainage and an impressive internal canal, which winds through a site fed by the sea.
With that done, building work has gone into overdrive with tarmac roads snaking through the picturesque project and hundreds of villas and apartment blocks nearing completion, including some show homes, which will soon show buyers the luxury they can expect.
“By September, we’ll be ready to show big groups around the site, hosting a variety of events and really open the site up to people to explore. This site is so expansive and so impressive that really the only way to get a true perspective on what’s being created here is to come see it for yourself,” said O’Donoghue.
“It’s an incredibly exciting time, day after day you see another part of the jigsaw being completed and work is moving so quickly now.”
The Saraya Bandar Jissah project, a joint venture between Omran and Saraya Oman, has scooped numerous international awards for its design, and received a major vote of confidence back in September when Bank Muscat and Bank Dhofar agreed to fund its development with OMR106 million.
The Jumeirah Group will run the five-star hotels on which construction is progressing quickly.
The 206-room hotel’s pre-opening is expected to commence in the beginning of next year, opening its doors within the first quarter of 2017. The hotel features a seafront ballroom, as well as a separate private reception and chalets for VIP guests, such as presidents, persons of royalty and celebrities, among others.
Another unique five star boutique hotel features 112 chalets placed on three levels signifying the three traditional lifestyles in Oman. The lower level will have a marine life theme, where furniture and landscape will also have a marine feel to it. The middle level will have a bustan or oasis, a living aspect to signify the importance of farming in Omani society, as well as express the history and culture of agriculture. The top level will revolve around mountain living.
The hotels will be operated by Jumeirah and Al Busaidi explained that he is planning to hire 800 Omanis in order to support Omani nationals in the hospitality sector.
On the residential side, three zones separate the properties, but equally offer stunning views of the area. Some 33 villas are located on the central island called Nameer, which is surrounded by the canal and lagoon. The properties have the option of being three-bedroom (427 square metres) or four-bedroom (498 square metres) villas, all include an infinity swimming pool, which is expected to be completed later this year.
The Zaha zone includes 169 villas and apartments, where two-bedroom apartments (200 square metres) overlook the sea and park while three bedroom duplexes (351 square metres) get to enjoy park views. Uniquely, the top level duplexes have gardens and swimming pools carved into the mountain.
The Wajd residences are placed atop a cliff, which gives the residents a panoramic view of the ocean and ground below. Residents of the 22 five-bedroom villas (750 square metres) will belong to one of the most sought after addresses in the region. O’Donoghue said these villas will be complete early next year.
“That is the best thing about Wajd. Residents here will never feel hot because of the breeze they get, even during summer,” Said Al Busaidi, PR and Communications manager, pointed out.