The Anantara Jabal Akhdar in Oman, a five star resort designed by Atelier Pod, perches 2,000 meters above sea level, on the curving rim of the Jabal Akhdar canyon.
Jabal Akhdar, Arabic for “The Green Mountain,” is a towering massif on the Sultanate of Oman’s Saiq Plateau. This area was once considered inaccessible. Now, this Anantara luxury resort with six restaurants and lounges, a spa, and recreation facilities, takes up 66,000 m² of this cliff’s edge.
This is the hotel with the highest elevation in the Middle East.
Lotfi Sidirahal, Principal at Atelier Pod, spent time meeting the mountain’s communities, exploring the vernacular typologies, and learning the architectural and landscape details of the region. In particular, he observed the village of Birkat al Mawz and the design of Jabreen Fort, Bahla Fort and Jabrin Castle. He wanted to bring the more historic architectural elements of Oman to the resort and cast these designs in a new light for the modern luxury hotel.
The goal was to create a “unique and contemporarily rooted resort within the extraordinary heritage of the region,” the studio said.
The hotel retains key elements of Oman’s architecture and reflects the fortification typology of the Nizwa region and the surrounding mountain citadels.
The visitor’s experience is designed to arouse specific emotions along a specific configuration, starting from the facade and proceeding to the courtyard, the patio, and the pool.
“We designed the entrance with the idea of a fort in mind. The exterior, with its great wooden doors, impressively showcases commanding strength. There is a dramatic contrast upon entry as the interior gives a delicate and voluptuous impression with a majestic open courtyard featuring lush green terraces and a falaj,” Sidirahal explains.
The lobby features a 10-meter-wide geodesic dome with a contemporary fountain. Passing through the lobby, guests will find the central courtyard decorated by Omani arcades. The large open fireplace in the courtyard serves as the heart of the resort, while in the cliffside, the designer has chosen to place infinity pools and panoramic villas for dramatic effect and to take advantage of the unobstructed views. In the patio, a souk, a coffee shop and a library give guests options to relax, recharge, or have some time alone.
West of the courtyard is a freestanding tower that stands testament to the ancient Omani Keep, or Burj, with its distinctive conical curvature and smooth encircling ramp. Not only does the tower have a lounge and specialty restaurant, it also serves as an observation deck to watch the stars under the clear desert sky. This particular rooftop deck was conceived by a fusion of architectural typologies: the high firing platforms of Nakhal Fort on one hand, and the rooftop courtyard of Jabreen Castle on the other.
Each of the 115 guest rooms and villas overlooks either the canyon or the gardens. The hotel was designed with a minimalist style infused with traditional features, such as custom-designed modern furniture instilled with patterns that were derived from ancient door frames, ceilings and traditional chests.
The Omani ancient water channel system, the “falaj,” runs through the spa area in a series of canals.
What: Anantara Jabal Akhdar
Where: No 110, Al Jabal Al Akhdar, Nizwa 621, Oman
How much? Room prices start at USD $442
Design draw: An example of modern Omani design, the hotel shows how to combine minimalist furnishings and custom-designed furniture with the traditional vernacular of Oman’s arcades, forts and water channels.
Book it: Visit Anantara Jabal Akhdar