The 2008 It List

by Ondine Cohane

Oman

Dubai might be the fastest-growing area in the Middle East and the main theater of operations for rival hotel groups, but Oman is becoming the destination of choice for the more eco-minded, adventurous, and—dare we say—sophisticated traveler. The mix of beautiful beaches with sublime year-round weather, traditional cities that retain a genuine desert culture, and one-of-a-kind hotels is unbeatable. Must-stops include the Wahiba desert for sandboarding and camel riding, Muscat for the gorgeous Chedi hotel and the authentic souks, and the impeccably clean beaches. Check into the massive Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah resort, pictured, in Muscat, which, despite three hotels that encompass 638 rooms and nearly 20 different restaurants, somehow doesn't feel overwhelming. High rollers should spring for the all-suite Al Husn section, with its own private beach. This spring Six Senses will open its first resort outside Southeast Asia on the secluded Musandam Peninsula, close to Dubai. The chic Zighy Bay will have 82 villas, all with private pools and butler service (natch); brave-hearted guests can arrive by paraglider. Next up: the 200-room Viceroy Sifah, sister to the Santa Monica property, pegged to open in 2011 with an equestrian center, marina, and 18-hole golf course.

The Chedi
Tel: 968 24 52 4400

Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa
Tel: 968 24 77 6666

Six Senses Hideaway Zighy Bay

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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