Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa, near Muscat, represents a new trend in the global luxury hotel industry, by targetting travellers looking for child-free vacations
More and more Indian couples are choosing not to have children. This is not just because of financial or family issue, but because they wish not to compromise on their freedom. This has resulted in a DINK (Double Income No Kids) trend that is also prevalent across the globe
One of the most sought-after travelling groups (because of their higher levels of disposable income), child-free couples are forcing hotels (and resorts, in particular) to redefine the meaning of luxury travel vacations. While most five-star hotels focus on family-friendly experiences and making the trip enjoyable for each member of the family, resorts are now getting the liberty to build their spaces for a more sophisticated and mature taste.
While there has been a wave of child-free hotels in Europe, Asia has lagged behind, but this is changing in the Indian neighbourhood, with resorts like the Al-Maha Resort & Spa in Dubai and the Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa in Oman. Oman has always had a reputation as the more chill sibling of the UAE. But recently, when honeymoon photographs emerged of Priyanka Chopra and Nick Jonas vacationing there just after their Indian wedding, it became clear that Oman is no longer standing in the shadows. It’s no wonder that couples, in particular, child-free couples, are enjoying their time on the Omani peninsula.
The Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa is a stunning clifftop resort overlooking the Gulf Of Oman, set against a rugged mountain range. The property offers a paradise for couples looking to get away from their noise-riddled routine. Inspired by the historic architecture of the Omani forts, the resort has the unique charm of feeling like a private getaway, with its own child-free private beach, yet it’s cleverly located adjacently to its sister properties, the Al Waha and Al Bandar hotel wings at ShangriLa Barr Jissah Resort & Spa. What this creates is the ideal combination of serenity and peace, alongside accessibility to the greater communal property.
Walking out onto the balcony of one of the 180 guestrooms and suites, all facing the sea, there is a tranquillity that exists beyond the exquisite infinity pool. The child-free zone allows couples to feel as though every day, every space, is their honeymoon. From amenities that include a private butler to daily afternoon teas overlooking the Gulf to complimentary pre-dinner cocktails and canapés at a courtyard with palm trees and plush seating, accompanied by live musicians – it’s a beautiful space, beyond simply aesthetics. Couples have the option of a concept called `Dine By Design’ at the resort. They choose their favourite romantic spot on the property, and have a curated meal prepared for them by the chefs. From a dramatic clifftop locale to a candlelit meal on the private beach, it’s an experience that will be hard to forget.
It’s no surprise to hear from the hotel management that a large number of guests are local couples, who have made the property a staycation mainstay. Many times, they will have their families and staff stay at the neighbouring hotel, so even if they are on the same holiday, there is ‘me time’ and ‘amily time’ But even for international visitors, the resort offers a mini-world, free of the chaos that often consumes couples. From private talks with turtle rangers at the Eco Centre to sunset cruises that offer a glorious view of the sun setting behind the Arabian sea to dolphin and whale watching – the options seem endless. For the more adventurous, paddle boarding and dives that explore everything from marine life to coral reefs to even shipwrecks are the perfect options.
The French beauty brand L’Occitane has joined hands with the resort to create the Hareer Spa, a space where guests can experience true relaxation in luxury. While the spa is top notch, the best way to experience it is with the ‘Omani Honey Heaven’, a scrub and massage using local honey – it’s truly a one-of-a kind treatment.
Beyond the hotel and its amenities, residents also have the choice of curating their own Omani adventures. One such bespoke experience is to the Wadi Al Arbayeen – a picturesque drive through the Omani countryside to Quriyat, where eagles soar. From there, it’s onwards to the Wadi, which has deep pools of fresh water that are ideal for a cool dip.
Part of the benefit of child-free resorts like this one is the fact that it is a place where the visitors’ lifestyle choices and priorities aren’t questioned. While from the business end it makes logical sense that this growing demographic be served, from a societal point of view, it’s important that individuals are comfortable to enjoy and celebrate their life, without judgment or questions. This growing trend is all the more welcome in the more conservative parts of the world, like ours. At the end of the day, a vacation should be a getaway in every way possible.