Anyone wanting winter sun at Christmas, but without having to travel half way around the world, should strongly consider Oman. Granted, we’re not talking scorchio temperatures, rather a December average in Muscat of around 22°C, but given that would be more like 7°C in London the attraction is obvious.

And on the subject of attractions, Oman has many. The capital, Muscat, is home to several of the finest beachfront hotels in the Middle East, each perfect for either families (the Shangri-La Barr al Jissah) or couples (the Chedi or the Al Bustan). It's perfectly possible to spend a relaxing winter week at any of the above, but that would be to miss out on Oman's serendipitous mix of landscapes and fun ways in which to explore it.

If you can tear yourself away from the beach, the dramatic Hajar Mountains behind Muscat are a must visit, with a clutch of luxurious hotels with excellent views and facilities now open or coming soon. Beyond the mountains the intriguing city of Nizwa is Oman's ancient capital and well worth a visit, particularly as part of a longer road trip to include the Wahiba Sands, a wonderful sea of dunes where you can try you hand at desert driving, camel riding or just relax at a very comfortable desert camp.

Back in Muscat, the souq and Grand Mosque are worthy of exploration, and we can arrange dhow trips, dolphin watching boat rides or diving and snorkeling at the nearby Daymaniyat Islands.

Further north, in the Omani exclave of Musandam, Zighy Bay is another excellent 5* hotel that is reached from Dubai Airport rather than Muscat, and which offers another excellent excuse to cancel Christmas (in the UK, at least) and enjoy some much needed winter sun.

One final thought - you'd be amazed how many months ahead of Christmas and New Year the best hotels and flights get booked up, so we would strongly recommend planning WELL in advance.

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Where to go

Palm Trees Amidst Rocky Outcrops at Wadi Shab

Oman

A wonderful destination combining beautiful beachfront properties and dramatic mountain and desert landscapes to explore.

Where to stay

Garden at The Chedi, luxury hotel in Muscat, Oman

The Chedi

The award-winning Chedi is one of the very best hotels in the Gulf Region, home to luxurious guestrooms and suites, some of the finest cuisine in the Middle East and what could be a contender for the world’s longest hotel swimming pool.

Pool at Al Bustan Palace, luxury hotel in Muscat, Oman

Al Bustan Palace

Fully renovated in 2008, the hotel has the most comprehensive facilities in the region, including a 1km curve of sandy beach and acres of tropical gardens dotted with palm trees.

Pool at Shangiri- la Barr al Jissah, luxury hotel in Muscat, Oman

Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah

Situated on a dramatic stretch of coastline just outside Muscat, the hotels are set amid 124 acres overlooking a private bay, with rugged mountains to the rear.

Six Senses Zighy Bay, luxury hotel in Oman

Six Senses Zighy Bay

Zighy Bay has a dramatic setting on the Musandam Peninsula, an exclave of the Sultanate of Oman, separated from the rest of Oman by the United Arab Emirates.

Alila Jabal Akhdar, luxury hotel in Oman

Alila Jabal Akhdar

The spectacular Hajar mountain range is one of the (many) highlights of Oman, and at the centre of the range sits the magnificent Jebel Akhdar or ‘green mountain’. Long seen as somewhere to explore on route between the capital Muscat and the ancient market city of Nizwa, the opening in 2014 of the Alila Jabal Akhdar hotel means the mountains now have a supremely luxurious place to stay in their own right.

Dining at Desert Night Camp, luxury hotel in Oman

Desert Nights Camp

Located in the heart of the Wahiba Sands, a vast expanse in the Omani desert, Desert Nights Camp is the ultimate desert refuge, with an added dose of luxury.

We felt like we were Original Travel's only clients - the service was completely personalised and all questions were answered instantly. They actively listened to our priorities and created a package that completely suited our needs. Throughout the process they will surprise you with their attentiveness and most importantly, they will not forget about you once you come back from holiday.

Mitja and Katarina Brus

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Kiah, Louise Fitzgerald and Ra are our 'Christmas in Oman' experts and as seasoned travellers they have the inside track on the most memorable adventures.

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