Two Kinds of Expats in Oman

Forgive me, I’m about to make some blanket generalizations, but after nearly 7 months in the country (I’m still a fresh baby), I’m pretty convinced that Oman has two different camps when it comes to expats and how they spend both their free time and their money in this country; I believe that if you are an expat in Oman you either fall into the luxury hotel camp or the outdoor wild camping camp.

Of course, there’s plenty of cross-over. People who go to hotels for staycations monthly or even weekly (yes, I have quite a few friends who do this) often take a trip out into the desert once in a while and folks who go camping regularly might every now and then book a hotel room, but generally you fall into one of the two camps.

Hotels here reward loyalty and they often offer you a discounted price if you’re a repeat customer. I don’t have numbers on this, but Oman seems to have an extraordinary amount of hotels for a country roughly the same size of Germany. The hotel industry here thrives on locals and expats spending their money at local hotels, it would be impossible for Oman’s tiny tourist market to support the number of expensive hotels this country has. Due to the fact that hotels have pools, spas, bars, and wonderful places to eat, staycations are popular here among both expats and Omanis alike. There are no water parks in Oman, no theme parks, no karaoke places or escape rooms. Hotels are popular here among expats because, well, there’s not a whole lot to do in Oman and often events like open-mics or Dj parties are held at hotels which have a special license to sell alcohol.

You can stay in a hotel in Oman for as little as 10omr per a night or about $25USD, although I wouldn’t recommend it. But there are often okay hotels for 15-17omr and I would say you start getting into nicer hotels at the 20 omr per a night range. However, these are all child’s play compared to the real luxury hotel industry in Oman.

A five-star hotel and resport on the Oman penninusla Musandam called Six Senses Zighy Bay goes for about 763omr per a night, that’s just short of $2,000usd. The Chedi Muscat, a popular place among expats and locals which boasts some adult-only pools is about 207omr per a night, or $537usd. The W Muscat is about 111omr and has three pools. The Shangri-La Al Husn is a clifftop hotel with a private beach and will set you back a pretty penny (prices unavailable at the moment). More affordable places like The Sheraton, which has three pools, will go for around 35omr per a night.

On the other side of the coin are the wild campers. These are the 4×4 owning expats who may or may not have a rooftop tent and a Dometic fridge in the back. These expats definitely own Oman Off-Road but they didn’t bring it with them because don’t worry, they already know a spot. In fact, to get the best experience out of the beauty of the country, many tourists rent equipment and sometimes a guide and go wild camping on their own (what a letdown it would be if you visited Oman and only visited it’s luxury hotels). But as for the expats who have invested dough into owning that camping equipment and learning the spots, tricks, and hacks to traveling around Oman on their own, I feel like it’s less likey that you’ll find them at The Chedi come Decmeber when outdoor weather is in full bloom in Oman. As for blogs on the subject, I really enjoy According to Athena who lived in Oman for two years and went to a number of off the beat places you won’t find on the typical Culture Trip listicle.

To be honest, and why shouldn’t I be for the three people who will read this blog? I don’t fully comprehend the expats who spend, what seems to me, like an obscene amount of money to stay at luxury hotels in Oman. Most people who came here to work were lured by the beauty of the country but also probably the fact that they needed to make some cash to send back home. Every view you can get at a luxury hotel in Jebel Akhdar like the venerated Alila Resort (252omr/$654usd per night) can be matched in a tent with a meal cooked over a fire so…..

I guess my readers know which camp I fall into.

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