Alila Jabal Akhdar review: Elegance nestled high in the Omani desert mountains


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Alila is a luxury hotel and resort brand that’s part of Hyatt and known for its boutique hotels and resorts, wellness programming and immersive experiences. Alila properties are often characterized by their stunning locations and contemporary design — and Alila Jabal Akdhar in Oman is no exception. The resort’s secluded setting and appetizing dining options make it a worthy addition to your journey through the country.

I cannot recommend a trip to Oman enough; out of the 60-plus countries I’ve visited, it has entered my top five of all time. If you’re considering a trip there and have a stash of World of Hyatt or Chase Ultimate Rewards points, I would highly recommend a stay of at least two (ideally three) nights at Alila Jabal Akdhar, one of our top Hyatt hotels in the world. Given that Oman has few chain or luxury hotels outside of the capital, Muscat, a stay at this property — ideally toward the end of your journey — is a great way to round out your trip.

Here’s what the property offers, how to maximize your points to book a stay and how to make the most of your time there.

What is Alila Jabal Akhdar?

Alila Jabal Akhdar is a luxurious mountain retreat owned by Hyatt. Located in the Al Hajar mountain range of Oman, a 2 1/2-hour drive southwest of Muscat, the property is perched at 6,500 feet above sea level, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and deep canyons.

“Jabal Akhdar” translates to “Green Mountain,” which describes the area’s stunning landscapes. They are characterized by dramatic terraced gardens, fruit orchards and picturesque valleys.


Alila Jabal Akhdar is known for its eco-friendly design, seamlessly blending into its natural surroundings. It features 78 beautifully appointed rooms and suites, and two expansive villas with private pools, each offering panoramic views and modern amenities. The architecture incorporates traditional Omani elements such as geometric patterning and open-air gathering spaces, which create a sense of cultural authenticity.

Guests at Alila Jabal Akhdar can indulge in various activities during their stay, such as hiking, mountain biking and guided cultural tours to explore the region’s rich heritage. The resort also offers a relaxing spa, an infinity pool and multiple dining options that showcase local and international cuisine.

How to book Alila Jabal Akhdar

This is a World of Hyatt Category 6 property, with the most dates throughout the year costing 25,000 points per night. You can find off-peak pricing for 21,000 points per night in the hotter summer months, though during busy peak times, expect to redeem 29,000 points per night.

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You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to World of Hyatt at a 1:1 ratio. Given this is a Category 6 property, you cannot use your Category 1-4 certificate that comes with the World of Hyatt Credit Card.


TPG redeemed 50,000 World of Hyatt points to book my two-night stay in a Mountain View Suite, the base-level room.

Given that I have lower-tier Discoverist status with the program, TPG senior aviation reporter Zach Griff used his Globalist status to book my stay through Guest of Honor. This meant I got upgraded to a mid-tier Ridge View Suite, which is the same size (560 square feet) as a base-level room but has a better view and is in a smaller, more secluded building away from the main areas.

Cash prices currently start at $486 per night. Booking the room that I was upgraded to would have cost me about $104 more had I paid with cash.

How to get to Alila Jabal Akhdar

The hotel is about a 2 1/2-hour drive from Muscat International Airport (MCT). An hour away from the hotel is the Birkat Al Mouz police checkpoint. You cannot pass this checkpoint unless you are in a four-wheel-drive vehicle due to the steep ascent into the mountains. Therefore, if you rent a four-wheel-drive vehicle from the airport, you can drive yourself the whole way.


If not, you have two options: You can book an airport-to-hotel transfer through the hotel for 130 Omani rial (about $338) for up to four adults.

Or, you can rent a standard vehicle (like I did), park it at the police checkpoint (it’s safe here) and either:

  • Book an official checkpoint-to-hotel transfer through the hotel for 85 Omani rial (about $221) one-way for up to four adults
  • Book an unofficial checkpoint-to-hotel transfer through a hotel or tour operator in the nearby fort city of Nizwa for 20 to 30 Omani rial (about $52 to $78) one-way

I was approached by a tour operator on the street during my 24-hour stay in Nizwa, so I arranged for him to meet me at the checkpoint the next day and paid him 25 Omani rial (about $65) to drive me from there to the hotel. Looking back, this probably wasn’t the safest thing to do given I hadn’t checked his credentials and took a leap of faith that he would be waiting at the checkpoint for me on time; luckily, it went off without a hitch.

On the way back, I paid 85 Omani rial (about $221) for the official hotel transfer back to the checkpoint and then got in my car to drive myself to the airport.

Checking in

Upon arrival at the hotel, guests are greeted by an expansive lobby and directed to the comfortable lounge area.

There, welcome formalities are carried out over Arabic coffee and dates with tahini. After the winding hourlong drive up the mountains, it was relaxing to recline on a comfortable couch against the wall, taking in the welcome area’s beauty and an Omani welcome tradition.


After a personalized tour of the lobby, restaurants, gym and pools, I was escorted to my room, where my bags were already waiting.

Elegant, timeless rooms

With traditional Omani design principles, the rooms at this property blend Islamic, Arab and Persian architectural styles with distinctive elements such as intricately carved wooden doors and window frames, breezy furnished balconies and decorative patterns that adorn the walls. The rooms have a natural, earthy yet elevated appearance, with lanterns and heavy wooden chests.

The beds are dressed with smooth white linens and have comfortable mattresses, soft pillows and an additional cuddle pillow for children.

The property had a welcome amenity of fruit, chocolates and snacks (but no alcohol) waiting for me.

Moving through a tall, curtained doorway into the large bathroom, there was a ceramic bathtub, which might be a squeeze for two people, and guidance to fill it partially with cold water first, then hot water so it doesn’t crack, along with some relaxing bath salts. There was a double vanity with two sinks, a separate shower with strong water pressure and a water closet with the toilet.

As you’ll find at other Alila properties, the toiletries on the vanity and in the shower were Alila-branded. The ones in the shower were in large, heavy containers and were difficult to get the liquids out of, which indicated a preference for style over utility.

Moving onto the room’s amenities, there were a large flat-screen TV, plush robes (which were too small for my 5-foot-11-inch frame), an attractive and handy tote bag, two yoga mats, a flashlight, a Nespresso coffee machine and assortment of tea bags, complimentary soft drinks and unlimited bottled water, a safe, universal power and USB charging outlets located on both sides of the bed and on the desk, and well-functioning air conditioning.

Moving outside, I was greeted by spectacular views of the craggy Jabal Akhdar mountain range and canyons, all the better to enjoy sitting on the large, comfortable daybed. A straw partition between rooms provided a sense of seclusion and relaxation while I watched the sun rise or set.

The property provides a turndown service while guests are at dinner. They prepared my bed and put out robes and slippers, dimmed the lights and lanterns to create a tranquil atmosphere and lit a scented candle in the bathroom to help me wind down for the night.


Overall, the room was extremely comfortable. Mine was the only one of the four rooms in my building occupied during my two-night stay, so I didn’t hear any noise from other guests. A highlight for me was drawing myself a pre-dinner bath and watching a Netflix show on my tablet with the sun setting over the canyon in the background — total bliss.

Delicious but limited dining options

Guests have just two restaurants to choose from at the resort, and each has three menus: Omani, Indian and Western cuisine.

The Jupiter Restaurant is the more formal setting and is best for breakfast and dinner. You can sit outside — recommended if the weather permits — or inside the dining room. It felt sublime sitting outside thanks to perfect evening temperatures during my visit, the calming sounds of running water from the fountains, relaxing Arabic string-forward music and the homey warmth of the gas heaters creating a cozy ambience.

The Rose Lounge is more casual, closer to the pools and best for lunch and happy hour drinks at its full bar.

Complimentary breakfast is included in all room rates (whether you book with cash or points), and you can order unlimited food and drinks with no upcharges. All food is a la carte (not buffet-style).

Highlights for me included a succulent Japanese soba noodle omelet; fresh orange, pomegranate and watermelon juices; a cheese board; soft and doughy bread; fresh fruit platters; and a homemade almond Nutella-style spread, which you can purchase a jar of to take home.

At the Rose Lounge, I ordered three sizable appetizers for lunch, which was overkill but they were packed with flavor. The spicy crab soup for 9 Omani rial (about $23) and Korean marinated tofu bao buns for 8 Omani rial (about $21) offered a delightful combination of textures and flavors. Another delectable option was the paneer cheese fried kebabs with mint yogurt for 11 Omani rial (about $29). However, the star of the show was undoubtedly the Tatra Garden spicy blueberry vodka cocktail for 8 Omani rial (about $21), which perfectly captured the essence of the mountain theme with its unique and spicy flavor profile.

I ate dinner at Jupiter both nights of my stay. The complimentary warmed Omani bread accompanied by creamy labneh, herbs and a drizzle of honey was a tasty way to start the meal each evening.

For my appetizer, the Thai chili prawns with a dense and spicy sauce for 16 Omani rial (about $42) were a standout but, unfortunately, were served lukewarm — perhaps they stood for too long waiting to be delivered to my table. Moving on to the main course, the vegetarian tagine with couscous for 12 Omani rial (about $31), while filling, tasted dull rather than as flavorful as its appearance would suggest.

As for dessert, the signature “Mother of the Mountain” panna cotta for 9 Omani rial (about $23), which was served with pomegranate syrup, was truly delectable and plated dramatically over a layer of rocks to evoke the local environment.

I paired my meal with a Gallery 12 pinot grigio from Italy and a Gallery 12 Malbec from California, both at 7 Omani rial (about $18) a glass.

Finally, I had room service for lunch one day: a huge mezze platter for 10 Omani rial (about $26) and to-die-for, uniquely sweet lobster croissant sandwiches for 15 Omani rial (about $39).


As for food and drink prices, it doesn’t come cheap. While breakfast is complimentary, you should expect to spend the following averages per person:

  • Appetizer: 9 Omani rial (about $23)
  • Main: 14 Omani rial (about $36)
  • Dessert: 8 Omani rial (about $21)
  • Glass of wine or cocktail: 7 to 8 Omani rial (about $18 to $21)
  • Two-course lunch and alcoholic drink: 40 Omani rial (about $104)
  • Three-course dinner and two alcoholic drinks: 65 Omani rial (about $169)

Here is a full food and drinks menu for the property.

The nearest town with restaurants is 30 minutes away, so you’ll likely eat on-property for all meals — and you should budget for that.

Service is well intentioned but lax

The service I received was truly warm and welcoming, from check-in and dining to the activities and checkout.

However, the dining service was frustratingly slow at times, so much so that I would suggest making reservations well ahead of the time you think you’ll be hungry so that your meal will arrive at the right moment.

My first dinner blew me away with professional, hands-on service, frequently checking in on how I was enjoying my meal and thoughtfulness, such as my server knowing I was a pescatarian (from my intake form) and expertly suggesting options for all three courses with wine pairings.

However, the service went downhill at the meals that followed and detracted noticeably from my experience. For example, it took more than 15 minutes after I was seated for the bread to arrive, and a cocktail I ordered took nearly a half-hour to make despite the restaurant not being very busy. After lunch, I waited 15 minutes for a server to check in on me when I finished but eventually had to walk inside to the bar to flag down one of the two servers waiting on myself and just one other table. A good portion of the staff seemed to struggle with English, and perhaps that’s to be expected at such a remote destination, but it also meant having to wait awkwardly in many instances for someone to get a colleague who could help me with simple requests.


The stunning infinity pool overlooking the canyons is one of the resort’s main attractions and is popular for sunset pictures. There are more than 20 deck chairs with a shared umbrella for every two chairs, and you can order snacks and drinks from the Rose Lounge from a pool attendant.

The heated indoor pool is a good option for the cooler winter months.

A daily activities schedule is posted in the lobby and includes about half complimentary and half paid options, denoted by an asterisk. The offerings included a coffee class, archery, climbing along a via ferrata and stargazing, among other choices.

This schedule did not change significantly day-to-day, but I did hear returning guests comment that this is a big improvement from last time as they didn’t use to have many activities.


You need to sign up in person or by calling reception. I wished the activities for the next day were posted in the lobby ahead of time rather than waiting until 6 p.m. the night before. It would be thoughtful to put them in an individual folder for guests and make them available online in advance as well so you could better plan out your stay.

I thoroughly enjoyed the free sunset yoga session on a deck overlooking the canyon, and there were only four people in the class, so it felt like a private class. When signing up, the reception staff didn’t tell me to bring the mat from my room, but I’m glad I didn’t, as the deck had better non-slip mats. The teacher was kind, but their timing of poses was inconsistent.


Another highlight was a complimentary stargazing session at 9 or 9:30 p.m., where a very friendly and knowledgeable instructor brought a telescope out and pointed out the major planets and constellations. They also set up an outdoor projector at the Rose Lounge for the evening movie, which was one of the films in the “Indiana Jones” franchise on the first night.


I signed up for the 90-minute via ferrata, a combination abseiling and ropes course, which cost 70 Omani rial (about $182). It ended up being just me and the instructor, and I was given the choice of beginner or intermediate level, of which I chose the latter. It was quite challenging but great for someone working on their fear of heights, and the canyon views were breathtaking. I liked the nice touch of a staff member waiting with a cold towel and fresh orange juice after the activity.

Finally, the resort has a wellness and spa facility, offering treatments such as massages, skincare and haircare for an average of 60 Omani rial (about $156) per session. I looked through the brochure, and the only Omani element I could find was the use of Omani frankincense oil in one of the massages. Otherwise, the treatments sounded fairly standard.

All guests can access the complimentary Jacuzzi and steam room, but you need to let the spa reception know 30 minutes ahead of time to prepare the area. I did that but then had to wait an extra 10 minutes after arriving as they seemed to have forgotten. I also had to request a robe, which should probably be proactively provided.


This property does not have any wheelchair-accessible rooms, elevators or pool lifts. It does not offer features for visually impaired guests, either.

However, it does offer visual alarms, closed captioning on TVs and TTY phones for hearing-impaired guests.

Checking out

The stunning natural setting and beautifully appointed rooms and common areas at Alila Jabal Akhdar made it a serene and enjoyable getaway during my magical visit to Oman. I’d recommend visiting the property — and the country — before the rest of the world catches on. Just make sure to factor high costs for transfers to the hotel and on-site food and drinks into your budget, as there are no viable dining alternatives nearby.

I would highly recommend using your World of Hyatt points for a stay at the property — and I would happily do so again. However, I did hear of other travelers I met elsewhere in Oman being disappointed with the amount of cash they had spent on their stay at the property. So, my advice would be to book your room with points (including free breakfast) and save your money for dining and activities.


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