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“Lovely, but not 5 star”

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Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa - Al Waha Hotel
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Barr Al Jissah
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 9, 2014

We stayed at the Al-Waha for 4 nights at Easter after finding a great deal on the Shangri La's own website which was much better than Expedia/Booking etc. Overall we had a great time there. The pool and beach were spotless, the staff in the main were extremely attentive and very professional and the location, while 20 mins from Muscat, is beautiful. But there are a number of concerns that make this not a 5 Star hotel, although the resort is certainly 5 star.

On our second night, we went to the seafood restaurant, having been recommended by a friend who stayed their recently. The location is great, just off the beach overlooking the sea. However, the staff were rushing us to order from the minute we arrived. No patience. We ordered and within a couple of minutes, an additional starter arrived, complements of the Chef. Now bear in mind this is a seafood restaurant at a 5 star resort, the last thing you would expect would be crab sticks (the plasticky process pink variety) placed on top of a bit of limp green leaf. Unfortunately, this aberration on a plate ruined the rest of the evening and I got even more frustrated when it took the staff more than 20 mins to clear the plates afterwards. The rest of the meal was nice, but nothing special. Considering it cost £180 for 3 of us, including a bottle of wine, this was pretty disappointing. After the meal we went to the piano bar, but were refused access because we had children (16 and 12), even though there were other children in the bar. We were told that this was the rule in Oman but it was not documented in any of the hotel's information. The following night we went back and sat on the outside terrace with no issues.

My other big annoyance from a supposed 5 star resort is sun beds. There are just not enough to go around, especially under shade and in the Al-Waha. If you don't get a towel out by 8am, forget it. Plus I really can't stand people hanging their washing over the balcony!

The resort is also extremely expensive, and around £8 for a beer or cocktail. That said, it is not wholly unexpected and most other hotels around the Middle East charge accordingly. It is also difficult to get a seat in any of the bars or restaurants, and with nothing around the outside of the hotel, you can end up waiting for ages to sit down. Although the staff are great in trying to move furniture around to accommodate.

We used the watersports centre which was very good. Free kayaks to paddle around the cove and waterskiing/wakeboarding/inflatables as well. Not cheap, but you do get a good ride and the staff do not rush you.

If you have young kids, the Al-Waha is probably ideal, but with older children/teens, I would not recommend it. The Al-Bandar next door is far superior in every way. As breakfast is included, you can take it in either the Al-Waha or Al-Bandar. It is worth going to the Al-Bandar as the choice is better, the food better and it isn't quite as crowded.

Finally, the rooms. Nice, but tired and a bit small. Beds really comfy though and good pressure showers. Always spotless!

Overall, the Al-Waha is not a 5 star. It tries but fails. Just going to the Al-Bandar next door shows the difference in class between the two. That said, it is a good 4 star with some great amenities. The resort itself is beautiful, and we would go back in a heartbeat. Next time though, we'll stay at the Al-Bandar or 6 star Al-Husn and pass on the seafood restaurant.

Room Tip: Ask for a room overlooking the beach. Pool view rooms are OK, but the sea view is fab!
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank 84wessex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
markskirk, General Manager at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa - Al Waha Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 13, 2014

Dear 84wessex, Thank you for taking your time to post your feedback on the review site TripAdvisor in regards to your recent stay at Al Waha. I am happy to read that you enjoyed your overall stay and thank you for sharing your constructive feedback on the Bait Al Bahr seafood restaurant and food and beverage in general. This has been discussed with the manger concerned; please accept my sincere apologies for any disappointment caused. I am also happy to say that all rooms in Al Waha will be refurbished within the next two months. Warm regards, Mark Kirk

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518 - 524 of 1,223 reviews

Reviewed May 8, 2014

This hotel is among a complex, on checking in it a slow slow process as they only have two staff on reception, the exterior of the hotel as you drive up is so unappealing, it is sparce and does not reflect the 5 star status, the rooms are a little dated, and could do with a face lift, the staff are friendly and helpful, the place is very clean but we found that for a shangri-la hotel, it didn't meet with our expectations, and because of this we would not visit again,
We were however privileged with seeing a turtle lay her eggs on the beach and the ranger releasing hatched turtles into the sea.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with friends
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Thank myrtal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
markskirk, General Manager at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa - Al Waha Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 13, 2014

Dear myrtal, Thank you for sharing your feedback with the readers of TripAdvisor. I certainly appreciate your constructive feedback and I am happy to say that all guest rooms in Al Waha are currently being refurbished and this should be completed within the next two months. On a positive note I am delighted you managed to see a turtle laying eggs at the resort and would like to remind readers that we are now in the peak season of turtles hatching and there is a good chance for visitors to see turtles during the next couple of months. Warm regards, Mark Kirk

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Reviewed May 6, 2014

Beautifully designed resort but has unaccommodating reception, forgetful staff and no visits to the beach by pool/bar staff - all in all - overpriced. The Shangri-la seems to have forgotten that the small things matter the most.

The resort layout is indeed lovely with three separate hotels full of restaurants. The Al Waha caters for the families and the other two hotels seem to be quieter and better for couples.

The restaurants are good, we really liked the breakfast buffet and had a great meal at the fish restaurant as well as the Al Taboor buffet another evening. The service in the restaurants is excellent, especially at the fish restaurant. Perhaps they have worked on improving this after a disappointing review a few weeks ago.

However, one time when ordering drinks for the beach, our order was completely forgotten. I had to go pick up the drinks myself 30 minutes later. Also, not one member of staff came to the beach to offer drinks or snacks throughout the course of my stay - pretty bad considering the beach was full of people.

Our shower smelt terrible - not clean at all. We made do with it as we had checked in late on the first day and cleaned it ourselves. The hotel also seems to have cut costs, previously you would have enjoyed some decent quality shampoo and shower gels, now they use a poor quality own brand variant.

The room that I stayed in desperately needed a refurb. They're small and old whilst the bathroom as you will see in my picture had a mirror that had blemishes inside of the glass, not what you'd expect from a 5 star hotel at all.

The gym is worse than average. Most of the parts to the machines are missing - what a terrible show from a 5 star resort. All of the equipment and machines are old and due a replacement.

Sadly - the staff on reception for check in and when checking out have ruined our experience at the hotel. Nasser came across as rude and unhelpful on the phone. We checked in at 6pm on arrival and therefore had hoped to extend our stay by just ONE hour on the day of departure, seeing as we had fronted a large amount of money to stay at the resort. Unfortunately, the Shangri-la couldn't accommodate us for this extra hour.

We spent a lot of money on food and drinks at the resort, therefore all of the above left us feeling let down.

For the Shangri-la: please consider re-training some of your reception how to deal with customers politely.

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled as a couple
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Thank majicka
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
markskirk, General Manager at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa - Al Waha Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 13, 2014

Dear majicka, Thank you for sharing your mixed feedback on your recent experience at the resort. Please accept my sincere apologies that the staff at the reception came across as rude and I can assure you and the readers this has been discussed with the management team for improvement. On a more positive note thank you for highlighting your meal at Bait Al Bahr and also Al Tanoor. Warm regards, Mark Kirk

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Reviewed May 6, 2014

Spent a couple of days at Al Waha, after having tried the other 2 hotels of the resort (Al Bandar and Al Husn). Al Waha is definitely a good choice if you travel with kids and if you go for the Family Room (2 communicating rooms actually) that gives privacy to the parents and their own room for the kids with even a PS3 for games and DVD watching !
Services are a bit of a lower standard than in the other 2 hotels but still of high quality.

  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank Freddes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
markskirk, General Manager at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa - Al Waha Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 13, 2014

Dear Freeddes, Thank you for sharing your feedback on the Al Waha resort in your recent TripAdvisor review. As you mentioned in your review we always recommend the family rooms for parents with younger children and the facilities at Al Waha are more focused to this group of guests. I am delighted you and your family enjoyed your stay. Warm regards, Mark Kirk

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Reviewed May 5, 2014

We have just arrived yesterday from 3 unforgettable days at Shangri La Al Waha! We are a family of 4 (2 kids) so we have decided to go for AlWaha instead of Barr. I am so glad we did it. The beach in front of the hotel is the best, the view from our room was absolutely amazing and the buffet at Samba Restaurant was more than we could think of. We were a bit worried because it was a family hotel and could be loud, but not at all. We love the beach so we mainly stood there. The ambiance even with kids around was wonderful and you could really relax. The sea is great with a temperature around 35º. We even went for a night swim ;-).
There are a lot of facilities for kid and it seems that no one is bored there.
The rooms are very clean and the service is very good.
The only improvement should be at the check-in. It was very slow with groups (and I mean more than 20) in front of us. After a trip, at night, we were expecting something else for a Shangri la Hotel. They should have specific check-in booths for groups or leading us to a sofa to wait instead of being there on a queue waiting on our feet! This could really be improved.
Otherwise great place, clearly will go again as all of us loved it!!

  • Stayed: May 2014, traveled with family
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2  Thank Margarida74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
markskirk, General Manager at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa - Al Waha Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 13, 2014

Dear Margarida74, Thank you for sharing your feedback with us by posting your review on TripAdvisor. I am delighted to read that Al Waha turned out to be the perfect choice for you and your family and your enjoyed the Samba buffet. I am sorry you experienced issues with the check in, I can assure you and other readers we are working on improving the speed and quality of this area of our service. Warm regards, Mark Kirk

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Reviewed May 4, 2014

Al Waha is the perfect holiday spot for families, particularly those with small children. If you are a couple or have older children like we did, you may want to choose one of the other hotels in this resort as it was very noisy by the pool and at breakfast. The private beach is fantastic and the hotel is well presented - it is a little out of the way - you will spend US$20 to get to the souks in a cab but it is worth eating out as the hotel restaurants are very pricey and the dinner buffet underwhelming.

  • Stayed: April 2014
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Thank Georgina M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
markskirk, General Manager at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa - Al Waha Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 13, 2014

Dear Georgina M, Thank you for posting your feedback on TripAdvisor. We do try to communicate Al Waha is perfect for the younger families while Al Bandar is more suitable for families with older children and I appreciate you highlighting this in your review. In regards to the pricing of the resorts restaurants we do have a wide selection of restaurants available at different prices. I would like to mention that children 11 years old and younger eat free at the resorts buffets when with their parents. I hope you enjoyed your overall visit to this beautiful country. Warm regards, Mark Kirk

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Reviewed April 29, 2014

an amazing property with a lot of water related activities for adults and kids.
lazy river etc. food is very selective.
do try the various restaurants at the property.
rooms need improvement compared to properties i have visited around in Europe and asia (al waha)

Room Tip: all rooms at at Al Waha are facing the pool area. good location by default
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  • Stayed: April 2014, traveled with family
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1  Thank lopezbert
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
markskirk, General Manager at Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa - Al Waha Hotel, responded to this reviewResponded May 13, 2014

Dear lopezbert, Thank you for staying with us at the Al Waha resort and posting your feedback on TripAdvisor. I am delighted you enjoyed your stay and the kids enjoyed the facilities especially the pools and lazy river. During the summer months we will renovate Al Waha and hopefully should you decide to return you will see improvement in the quality of the rooms, Warm regards, Mark Kirk

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa - Al Waha Hotel

Address: Barr Al Jissah, Muscat 100, Oman
Location: Oman > Muscat Governorate > Muscat > Barr Al Jissah
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 3 Hotels in Barr Al Jissah
Price Range: $239 - $507 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:5 star — Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa - Al Waha Hotel 5*
Number of rooms: 262
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Also Known As:
Shangri La`s Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa-Al Waha Hotel Muscat Governorate
Shangri La`s Barr Al Jissah Resort And Spa-Al Waha
Shangri Las Muscat
Shangri Las Al Waha

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