Barr Al Jissa adds villas

Shrestha ... repeat guests on the rise

MORE than 70 new villas are being added at Oman’s Shangri-La Barr Al Jissa Resort as well as a souk which will welcome international designer brands.

The multi-award winning destination has been open three years and general manager Arbind K Shrestha told TTN it is already attracting a return visitor rate of around 30 per cent.

He said: “What we have is a unique offering, because of Barr Al Jissa’s position between the mountains and the sea, this resort could not be anywhere else in the world which is bringing our guests back time and again.”

He said there was a decline in visitor numbers in the second and third quarters of 2009 but this is now on the turn and added: “Oman is not really a mass tourism destination so we have been less affected by the global financial situation than places which have a greater tourism dependency.”

In 2010 the hotel is looking forward to receiving the first 30 to 40 of 71 new villas, currently under construction.

Shrestha said: “The villas are being sold to private individuals but it is expected the hotel will be managing many of them as properties which can be made available to guests when the owners are not in residence.

“For those which we will be taking over we are setting out the design specification and the sample villas are being fitted out this month.”

Barr Al Jissah is currently preparing for the opening of a new souk which will house 50 shops ranging from fashion to jewellery as well as two new food outlets, bringing the resort’s restaurant offering to 19.

The marina is due for completion by the end of the year

A marina is also due for completion by the end of the year and a children’s and adults’ amusement area is planned.

Shrestha added: “We aim to offer everything a guest could want so they can come here and not actually need to leave during their stay.”

And Barr Al Jissa is doing its bit for the environment by creating a private beach area to cater for the endangered turtles which return there each year to nest.

Currently, nest sites are protected and watched over by the resort’s turtle ranger, Mohammed Al Hasani, who lets guests know when the hatchlings are about to make their dash for the sea.

But within the next year a section of beach is being developed which will be closed off in a bid to reduce the impact of humans on the turtle numbers which have been growing steadily since the resort opened.