Al Hamra is one of Oman’s best places to experience culture and the traditional Omani way of life. Rightfully so, this charming town is said to be 400 years old and many of its ruins scattered both across the mountainous areas and its plains speak of the more than 1,001 adventures the inhabitants lived through in the last several decades.
While accessing the town is no longer as hard as it is in the past, thanks to the modern highways and facilities created by the government especially during the Renaissance period, the people still manage to protect their identity and is one of the best places to witness different traditional celebrations like Al Razha especially before Covid-19.
Slowly though, the transformations are taking place because of the collaborative effort of both the citizens and investors who want to see the area grow and thrive banking on its old charm to attract tourists. But the transformation, thankfully, is sustainable and something that respects the very core of Omani traditions.
Over the last few years, one of the main attractions of Al Hamra is the old village where Bait al Safah belongs. Transforming into a live museum, it is a place where people can visit and see a live demonstration not only of Omani women doing different household chores but also in making the beloved Omani bread and al shue oil but also of showcasing the traditional style of dressing as well as presenting a house.
A recent trip to Al Hamra had opened my eyes to the real beauty of the town. Perched on top of its mountain, Hail al Shas, overlooking the sprawling village of modern houses, forgotten ruins and lush gardens is the beautiful The View Hotel, a luxury mountain resort that can only be accessed with 4WD vehicles located about 7.5 kilometres from the town centre.
Boasting more than 30 rooms, its 1,400 metres elevation allows one to see the wonders that Al Dakhiliyah hides. On a clear day, one can see even Bahla.
It’s a facility that adds dimension to the place providing the much-needed escape that both locals and visitors can enjoy at the luxury of peace in a nice mountain setting.
Walking through its elevated pathways made of steel and wood, it’s like a set of Maldives cabins interconnected by long elevated pathways but only in the middle of a rocky mountain almost married to its surroundings.
There are numerous things to appreciate about the facility. The centrepiece of the property is a long infinity pool that stops just right where you can watch the nearby towns in their beautiful ancient splendour.
“Al Hamra’s The View is actually a gateway to the many wonders of Al Dakhiliyah. From here, you can do numerous activities — from visiting the nearby old village of Misfat al Abriyeen to conquering the scenic Balcony Walk of Wadi Ghul in Jabal Shams,” said Abbas Akbar, the general manager of the facility.
To spend an afternoon exploring the different hiking paths of Hail al Shas is already an experience in itself. Frequented by goat-herders, just like many mountains in Oman, some wadis usually get filled with water when it rains.
“The beauty of Al Hamra and this property is that it also allows you to easily take an adventure in the nearby Al Hoota Cave, a great example of a karst cave system where its central lake is home to some rare fishes and also, we are a stone’s throw away from the Unesco heritage site of Bahla. All of this creates a well-rounded experience for guests coming to visit Oman,” Abbas added.
While Jabal Akhdhar and Jabal Shams are already seeing massive growth when it comes to tourism facilities, the rest of the smaller mountains in Oman are also on their way to follow suit.
One of my realisations is that Al Hamra itself has been slowly but steadily creating a niche for itself as a destination. I also like the property because of its valley view open-air deck, its multi-purpose hall that is also converted as a children’s play area, a mesmerising pool deck — one of the best, definitely in Oman, and the green area alongside the walkways.
I’m looking forward to more developments in the different small corners of Oman. We also visited the nearby Misfat al Abriyeen and was happy to discover that there are already several lodging places to stay for guests who would like to experience the Omani way of life. We also visited Jabal Hatt in the past and even the said location has been seeing growth in lodging for guests.
If you’re eyeing Al Hamra for visit, other than Bait al Safah, there are more little activities you can do to gain insight regarding how the locals live their day to day lives.
If you’re looking for a place to stay, all you have to do is look up and check out The View Resort and once you’re on the top of the mountain, you will be amazed by the glittering village lights below, a real indication that Al Hamra will always be a beauty even in the dark.
Source : OmanObserver