Here you are, in the fabulous desert and coastal adventure that is Oman. The light is astonishing, the beach pale gold. This is an unplugged beach hotel that is perfectly executed. It’s easy to get to for that hit of winter sun (just a two-hour drive from Dubai), and the smart, eco-friendly villas have private, sandy gardens with small pools. You can bring the children, yes, but the restaurants and general vibe also deliver a dollop of Middle Eastern candlelit charm.
Despite the butler-with-buggy service, the essence here is barefoot cool: goats wander about, fig and lemon trees line the bicycle paths, and ever present in the background are those astonishingly beautiful, mysterious mountains. Be sure to get on the water for a different perspective: set sail into Haffa Bay where children still take boats to school. And when you want to retreat, the spa has the most amazing, deeply intuitive therapists. What’s so special about this place is that for all the sharp trimmings, including private wine cellars, the overall mood is heartfelt and lolling.