With spring break right around the corner I know most of you are either eagerly awaiting that planned getaway or are scrambling to find some place close and convenient to head out to for a few days with the family.
Although my little one is not yet part of academic life and all its stresses, last month we still found ourselves in a similar dilemma trying to narrow down on a vacation destination that was convenient enough to travel to for a mama in her 3rd trimester that is slowly but surely turning into a whale and an uber active toddler that has bounds of energy to operate on over drive. Oh! wait I almost forgot the jet lagged pilot papa to topped it all. It sounds like a recipe for disaster isn’t it but such is the life we’re currently living and trust me it surely is more fun than it all sounds.
Our options for a getaway were – Maldives or Oman. Then we heard that Zika was a prominent new threat in the Maldives so that plan went out of the door in seconds and we were left to decide if we wanted to go back to our family favourite resort in Muscat or fly out to the much talked about Salalah, a destination we’d be meaning to explore for a while but just hadn’t had the chance to yet.
Let me burst your bubble right now and say that believe it or not Salalah is just as expensive as the Maldives. So if you’re thinking of saving a buck or two then I’d say research both places and see whats best for you your family and your pocket.
After much research we booked ourselves a 3 day 4 night stay at the city’s oldest but most child friendly resort – The Crowne Plaza Salalah. We wanted the simple things sand, sun, pool and sea. All that of course with good food and a safe place to enjoy family time. Again if you follow the blog you’ll know that we are the adventure family and resort life is not really our thing however with a toddler it has somehow become the new way of vacationing and is the new normal atleast just for now I hope.
The Crown Plaza Salalah
Only a half hour drive away from a brand new spanking airport and we were in the hotel greeted by friendly staff that are mostly local. A rare sighting within the middle-east as most places are run on the strength of expats. Though the hotel does have a large no. of foreign nationals working on the property the interaction with the locals is what we quite enjoy as it offers more of an authentic experience. We checked in earlier than the normal time and unfortunately when we did, the only room available was one with double beds. So much for a vacation Mr.Z thought. Bad it enough we are intruded by our toddler in the wee hours of the morning, this holiday we’re sleeping on separate beds great!
So here’s what happens the first night Amelie wakes up screaming gets into bed with me and totally highjacks the space leaving me practically hanging on the edge. The hubby of course at this time is sprawled on his, in deep sleep snoring away to glory enjoying that much needed catch up.
Next morning a refreshed hubby and daughter seem to be in the mood at breakfast and me lets say I was the exact opposite. This separated beds situation was turning out to be a blessing in disguise for them clearly. However that dream didn’t last too long. While we were at breakfast we got chatting with the front office manager who was an extremely friendly man and after we joked about our previous nights situation he offered to upgrade us to a suite on the last floor. Turns out he was sailing in the same boat as us and knew exactly how much a good nights sleep meant to a pregnant mama with a toddler. Sometimes I think its not so bad being pregnant you know!
The Junior Suite:
Situated on the last floor of the hotel this suite offered uninterrupted views of the resort and the sea. It had a dining area and enough space for our bags, a baby cot and space for Amelie to play around in the room. It also had a lovely balcony that was kid safe. We ate most of our afternoon meals in the room and this alfresco dining option within the room was just perfect, I really couldn’t have asked for more.
The property boasts of a great lap pool that is used by local members during the weekday evening for swimming classes. We were out in the pool most mornings after breakfast cause thats when we found it most quite and peaceful. The pool is attached to a baby section which is shallow enough for a toddler to stand. There’s another one by the pool bar that has a water slide for the kids or for adults trying to be kids.
Not the pool kind of person and looking for the real deal then the pristine white beach is yours. Its quite and has lots of beach chairs. Perfect for sundowners and some playtime time.
Another little attraction that we loved was the water park and outdoor play area for the little ones. It was shaded and relaxing during the afternoon and helped tire Amelie out just before nap time.
The hotel has some decent Dining options. Breakfast was just nice, nothing spectacular. We would have loved for the options to be changed every day but sadly that wasn’t the case which is why we stuck to what we liked. The crispy waffles were a breakfast staple for us. The staff were really sweet with Amelie. They had an activity kit or a toy ready for her every day as we stepped down for our first meal.
As a parent of a toddler, no holiday goes without ordering room service. Our first meal was one from that menu as missy decided to pass out as soon as we checked in. In all fairness it was an early departure and she was exhausted from all the travel. The room service menu was big enough to keep us excited for about 3 days which is the time we ate indoors. The biryani on the menu was absolutely delicious ands was the mixed grill.
Buffet dinner is also served at the bar that has some live entertainment and outdoors on the lawns too. There are themed nights that range from sushi to steak to seafood galore.
During our stay we mostly stayed on the property however the adventurous nomad in us pushed us to explore resort boundaries and here’s the one day I think that made us most happy. We explored the local souq, ate at a city favourite and tasted some locally grown fruit.
This holiday was beyond perfect just simply I guess for being our very last travel and vacation before baby no 2 arrives in a months time. We spent simple family time taking long naps, playing in the sand along with lots of pool time for the father daughter duo which personally gave me some space to enjoy catching up on reading. Something I haven’t had time to do much of in months. Also Amelie really got to bond with papa which was a delight to see. Our normal routine puts me on the fore front as the primary care giver but that has changed a bit since our holiday. She now has him wrapped around her finger dragging him around to play and give her food whenever she’s hungry. Its great to to see how a little bit of uninterrupted family time can change the family dynamic.
Please remember starting the 21st of March the rules to travel to Oman have changed. Visa’s must be obtained prior to your departure. All information can be found on this government website. – https://evisa.rop.gov.om
Happy Spring Break Travels!
QuestandMark Family X