Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, which reflects Dhofar’s rich heritage, will soon be complete
Finishing touches are being put to Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara in Oman, as the hotel gears up for a soft opening this month (July).
Located adjacent to an archaeological site in the heart of Salalah, the resort lies 10 km from the city centre and 15 km from the airport. It features 136 rooms, including 40 premier and deluxe rooms, as well as 88 one-, two- and three-bedroom villas with their own swimming pools and gardens and eight one-bedroom villas. All the villas are single storey.
The central hotel building is three-storeys high and comprises the guestrooms on levels One and Two, lobby, all-day dining, two retail outlets, ATM, two guest elevators, back office facilities and an adjoining beach cafe.
Boasting a built-up area of 56,000 sq m, the resort also features a functions hall, library, recreation facility and spa, specialty restaurant, main swimming pool and extensive water features.
A key aspect of the hotel is the Anantara Spa, which is Salalah’s first hammam and uses local ingredients for treatments.
There is extensive landscaping and a parking facility for 200 vehicles within the 140,000-sq-m plot. Vehicular access leads up to the arrival courtyard and from thereon, there is pedestrian and bicycle access.
Al Baleed Resort Salalah is the first villa product of its kind on the market, says James Hewitson, general manager of the resort. “The location of the project is unique as it’s next to an archaeological site, museum and botanical garden.”
Commenting on the works going on at site, Hewitson says: “The project is nearing completion. Construction work on all the buildings has been completed and the interior fit-out is 80 per cent complete. The contractor is preparing all areas for testing and commissioning prior to training, trial stays and then soft opening.
“We are working on getting the electrical connection live as well as securing all the permits and licensing required.”
Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara is a joint venture between Musstir, the property development arm of MB Holding, and Omran. The main contract worth RO21.1 million ($54.8 million) was awarded to Carillion Alawi in November 2012 and work on the project started in January 2013.
“Musstir was invited to deliver a project at Al Baleed, Salalah, to complement the adjacent World Heritage archaeological site, which is Unesco listed,” says Hewitson.
The concept designs and masterplan were endorsed by the Office of The Advisor to HM the Sultan for Cultural Affairs, who manages the Al Baleed Archaeological site. The project will be operated by Minor International, under its Anantara brand.
The resort’s design reflects minimalist Omani design features inspired by Dhofar’s rich heritage and the region’s iconic coastal fortresses and local villages to represent the culture and ambiance of the Omani way of life. The main building has been depicted as a fort with the surrounding villas representing the townhouses. Rooms are designed with a typical entrance reception while the villas feature courtyard entrances. There are outdoor terraces, all offering views of Khor Baleed or the ocean.
“The whole building complex is based on the design and feel of Omani coastal fortresses and local villages. Chalets have their own private courtyard and private swimming pools that would appeal to guests coming from the GCC.
“We are especially proud of the water feature around the main pool. Also, Anantara’s brand signature dining outlet Mekong features traditional Asian design,” he says.
The interiors feature authentic Omani design, with elegant custom-made furnishings, incorporating local elements alongside local artwork and marble flooring. The fabrics for the interior comprise traditional Arabian sedu. Most of the artwork and photography comes from Omani galleries, particularly Muscat and Salalah. The colour scheme for the interiors, include cream colour marble with brass features and a lot of timber finishes.
“Our aim was to source all materials locally. Other materials include stone, marble and granite and local plants,” he said.
“One of the many striking features of the landscaping includes tropical gardens with some 750 palm trees, and walkways surrounded by water features such as lagoons. The sides of the lagoons will be soft landscaped,” he says.
Commenting on the sustainability features, he says: “There is a treated water network to use for irrigation, LED (light-emitting diode) bulbs to save energy, screening on the glass panels to reduce the air-conditioning load.”
The work on the superstructure – which comprises reinforced concrete (RCC) – started in September 2013. All the villas sit on raft slabs while the main building has a pad foundation.
Buildings elevations have local Omani architectural features with stone cladding while timber is used on the doors and shutters. The guest areas and rooms have marble floors and wall cladding.
MEP (mechanical, electrical, plumbing) works are being executed by Carillion Alawi.
Giving details on the various systems specified for the development, Hewitson says: “The total electrical requirement is 4.8 MW, with 1,450 tonnes of cooling. The lighting control system takes care of the complete illumination of the building.
“One of the challenges we faced was the logistics for materials as most of them were sourced from Muscat, which is around a nine-hour drive (1,000 km) from Salalah.Also, due to the high temperature and distance of the concrete yard, we had to use ice for cooling the concrete till utilisation,” he adds.
Another challenge was the foundation levels were built up by 2 to 5 m of engineering backfill – the main building platform was raised to a higher level, to give reference to an Omani fort, while the chalets were built on lower levels.