A Week in the Gulf: QR J, EK J, Qatar, Oman, and the UAE
- Introduction, Planning, and Booking
- Qatar Airways JFK Check-in and British Airways Galleries Lounge Review
- Qatar Airways A350 Business Class JFK-DOH
- 24 Hours in Doha
- DOH oneworld Business Class Lounge and Qatar Airways Economy Class DOH-MCT
- Grand Hyatt Muscat Review
- MCT Plaza Premium Lounge and Emirates Business Class MCT-DXB
- Aloft Abu Dhabi
- Observation Deck at 300, Jumeirah Hotel and Cyacle Bikeshare
- Le Méridien Fairway Dubai
The Grand Hyatt Muscat is only Hyatt property in Oman and is a Category 4 hotel, with awards costing 15,000 points per night. Flexible rates run in the $200-300 range, while nonrefundable prepaid rates can be significantly cheaper. During summer and Ramadan, rates can be even lower. For the dates I was looking at, I was seeing quite reasonable pricing in the ballpark of $125 pre-tax per night. As mentioned in my intro post for this trip report series, however, I was (Hyatt) points-rich at the time of my booking and without any upcoming needs for those points, I decided to use them for a stay instead of spending cash.
The Grand Hyatt is located in the diplomatic quarter of Muscat, along the coast and roughly halfway between the airport and the popular Mutrah district. There is clear signage for the hotel on the roads nearby, and I was able to easily find the location. I pulled up through the entrance gates in my rental car and parked in an empty spot on the driveway when I first arrived.
Grand Hyatt Muscat entrance
The lobby of the Grand Hyatt is quite opulent, and gives off a bit of an Emirates bling-type vibe (pictures below). A friendly associate at the check-in desk welcomed me and told me I had been proactively upgraded to a Grand Suite King on the 4th floor; this was actually my first unprompted upgrade as a Globalist. She also explained the club and dining situation during Ramadan, which I’ll discuss below. As seems to be common at properties in the Middle East during Ramadan, the club was closed and instead one of the executive suites was converted into a temporary club lounge.
Like in most of the Gulf, parking is free. Although there is a parking lot adjacent to the hotel building, I was easily able to find a spot on the driveway leading to the front entrance each time I moved my car, and thus never needed to use the complimentary valet parking service.
GRAND SUITE KING ROOM
After checking in, I made my way to my room on the fourth floor. There’s no denying that the property seems just a bit dated, but the suite was quite large and is up there among the largest Hyatt rooms I’ve ever gotten. That it was completely unprompted and didn’t require a (Diamond) Suite Upgrade made it all the more, well, sweet. The suite consisted of a large living room, a separate and spacious bedroom, and two bathrooms, one with bath and shower and the other with just a toilet and sink. There was also a small balcony overlooking the pool, accessible from the living room.
I was quite happy with my room and had no issues with it, other than not being able to find enough wall outlets that worked. Strangely, there was only one outlet in the entire suite that I could use. There weren’t many to begin with, and more frustratingly, rather than having the “UK-style” plug that is standard in the region, all of the lights/lamps were plugged into adapters that were then plugged into what looked to me like Type D or Type G wall outlets that weren’t compatible with any of the configurations of my travel adapter. The only “UK-style” outlet I was able to find was the one which the alarm clock was plugged into, so I just unplugged the clock and used that outlet to charge all my tech.
The wifi was good — despite being told at check-in that there was no premium option, when I connected to the network using my room number, it stated that the premium option was enabled without my having to do anything.
As I was settling in, there was a knock at my door, which I opened to find a hotel employee with several extra firm pillows in hand. An emerging trend among hotel loyalty programs as they try to increasingly personalize guests’ experiences and cater to individual preferences is keeping notes on frequent guests. While many loyalty programs do this, in my experience it hasn’t really amounted to much — a friend who is the manager of an SPG property recently checked my profile for an upcoming stay, for instance, and apparently SPG has notated in my account to have a running map and Westin workout gear on call/ready for me, but I’ve never actually seen either. Out of curiosity, I asked a front desk associate to notate into my Gold Passport account that I like firm pillows during a stay at the Grand Hyatt Seattle in early spring of this year. I’ve had over a dozen Hyatt stays since that note was added, and the Grand Hyatt Muscat has been the only property to have actually brought firm pillows to my room (pillows on all my other stays have been the standard, non-firm pillows). In the grand scheme of things, this is a very minor issue, but it made quite an impression on me. Kudos to the Grand Hyatt Muscat for their attention to detail and personalized service.
After I finished unpacking, I explored the property and grounds a bit. The hotel building itself is split into two residential wings, connected by the lobby. Behind the building is a large pool area, with multiple pools and plenty of areas for sitting/sunbathing. Further back is the beach, which is not separated from any of the adjacent beach areas belonging to other properties. On the whole, I was impressed by how large and well-maintained the property was. I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.
The Grand Hyatt has several restaurants and a coffee shop. As I was there during Ramadan, however, they were all operating on reduced hours or completely closed. The main restaurant, for instance, was only open for Iftar, for which they had a large, air-conditioned tent set up right behind the back of the lobby. I had made plans for dinner elsewhere, so did not get to try the Iftar meal at the Grand Hyatt. Keeping in line with other high-end properties in the region, the Grand Hyatt’s Iftar buffet seemed pretty luxurious from what I could see.
POOL AND BEACH
Outside and directly behind the lobby, there is a large lawn area with multiple pools and a jacuzzi. Further behind this is the beach, which certainly isn’t the nicest beach in the world, but is perfectly fine for an evening stroll.
TEMPORARY “GRAND CLUB”
Later that evening, I dropped by the temporary club in one of the executive suites just to take a peek. Though I had gone to an Iftar buffet for dinner and had come back stuffed, I was curious what the temporary offerings would be like. Upon entering, I was greeted by two staff members, one who was taking down names and room numbers of guests, and the other who was waiting tables. The food on offer included a variety of warm appetizers like egg rolls and mini-quiches. Though I didn’t sample any of the food, it all looked and smelled pretty tasty. There was a bar set up in the main living room area, and had your standard well liquors, a couple different beers, and a white, a red, and Prosecco. I asked for a glass of the bubbly, which one of the lounge attendants poured and brought to me at my table a few minutes later.
The “club” took up the dining room and living room of the executive suite. During my short visit, there were about ten other people there: a few people sitting alone, one couple, and a large group of people sitting together at a large conference table. Though the “club” was pretty decent and on another night I likely would have brought my laptop up to do some work while having a couple drinks, I was tired and stuffed from my meal, so I only stayed until I finished my glass of Prosecco.
The next morning, after a very comfortable night of sleep with my firm pillows, I went downstairs to Tuscany, the hotel’s Italian-themed restaurant, for the breakfast buffet. There was no wait staff to be found when I first entered, despite there being a few people already eating. After waiting for about ten minutes I decided to seat myself, and it wasn’t until about another ten minutes later before someone came to my table to ask what I wanted to drink. While the spread was okay, the offerings were mostly sweet pastries and I found the selection to be lacking in protein options. I had a couple of small pastries and some fruit, and left not quite satisfied but not wanting anything else that was on offer. For non-Globalists, the cost for the buffet was 12-13 OMR, which is about $35. Frankly, I’d be pretty angry and disappointed if I had to pay $35 for the meal, as I found it to be pretty underwhelming overall and not even on par with breakfast at some US properties.
Grand Hyatt Muscat Ramadan breakfast buffet
Overall, my stay at the Grand Hyatt Muscat went well and I thought the property was quite nice. Admittedly parts of it do seem a bit dated and may perhaps be a bit ostentatious-looking for some tastes, but I found it to be a comfortable and enjoyable place to spend a night, lack of wall outlets notwithstanding. The hotel grounds were impressive and well-maintained, and the beach was a nice feature as well. Though the property often hosts diplomatic events, it definitely felt more like a resort-type property than a conference hotel. Even though the Club was closed for Ramadan, it was nice that the hotel opened a surrogate club with food and drink. The breakfast at the restaurant, however, was disappointing.
Service from front-line staff was great, and I appreciated the generous upgraded suite I received. As a side note, I found ancillary staff at the property (bellhop/doormen and a few janitorial staff) to be downright bad. It’s a minor issue overall, but I thought the “service” offered was subpar by Grand Hyatt standards. For instance, I had a not-so-great encounter with a custodial/janitorial worker in the pool area; when I asked where to pick up a loaner towel, I was glared at and not even given a response. In addition, even though there were always multiple doormen at the front entrance, I was not once greeted or had doors opened/closed for me among the multiple times I left/entered. Again, none of this was a huge deal and I realize it’s a very first world problem, but I don’t quite see the point of having doormen if they just stand around and talk to each other without greeting guests. Outside of these minor gripes, however, I thought the Grand Hyatt was very good, and I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it, particularly on a cheap rate.