The spectacular Khasab has more than peninsular beauty, marine life and the last solitary village of the Sultanate. It is also home to zari work, henna art and the traditional souq culture of Oman.
Moving beyond the khors are the excellent fine arts and rich culture that have helped the women of Musandam set up businesses that are thriving.
If you thought a souq could only be that usual arcade you have visited so far, think again.
Here in Musandam, the souq has been taken to the next level, being positioned as a boutique in one of Oman’s first home-grown hotel chains, Atana Hotels, located in Musandam.
The Atana Souq, which comes to life at Atana Musandam, invites not only hotel guests but also people from the community, and is becoming known as a gathering point for local residents and tourists alike.
The zari team, a group of dedicated women displaying and promoting Omani culture, is a unique concept meticulously executed by Atana Musandam. “The zari women involved in the task make sure they offer the best of Oman’s tradition. With his soothing tunes, the oud player from the Atana team ensures a perfect Arabian vibe. The ladies flawlessly apply the intricate art of henna on the hands of those interested. From music and henna art to the fine traditional cuisine and handiworks (zari), the souq is a vibrant oasis in the area. The impeccable Arabic Majlis Tent too invites crowds over for a cup of ‘kahwa’ and an understanding of the culture of the area,” Atana Hotels Cluster General Manager Victor Visser said.
Sara Khlifi, Sales & Events Manager for Atana Hotels, said: “The souq is located on the premises of the hotel and is open to all. We want people to come together and enjoy the souq spirit. The stalls provided at the souq are for the local community of Khasab; we do not charge a fee and anyone is free to come and display their items.”
“We are proud to have a ‘zari’ team with us, who are a group of local women from Khasab who aim to reflect true Omani hospitality and culture to tourists by providing henna, fuala, Omani attire and cuisine,” she said.
She added: “We are looking to create more activities and events in the region. We recently had 10 children who came by boat all the way from Kumzar island to enjoy the festive atmosphere, an event during Ramadan called ‘Qaranqasho’, a special Ramadan children’s group for Iftar, a show at the souq and a special event in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism on the third day of Eid Al Fitr to celebrate with the children and parents from the community of Khasab and our hotel guests.”
Managed by Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran), Atana Musandam is a tranquil reflection of the spirit of Oman, located at the northern tip of the Musandam peninsula bordering the United Arab Emirates.
Inspired by a typical Omani village, this resort offers eight clusters of low-rise buildings, where the rooms and suites offer a captivating view of the waterway and visitors can witness the daily routine of fishermen or simply stare in wonder at the stillness of the sea or the grandness of the mountains.
“‘Come to us ...’ that’s what our hotel brand, Atana, means. Hospitality is an important part of our Omani heritage. When a guest visits an Omani home, the host feels honoured and happy. That is what we strive to embody and share with all our guests and our community,” Visser said.