Alila Jabal Akhdar from Oman: Arabian Rooftop Hotel

(CNN) – “Don’t worry, it will be a walk in the park,” says Ali, a senior climbing instructor at Alila Jabal Akhdar, a luxury hotel in the mountains of Oman.

We prepare to climb the hotel’s via ferrata, the highest protected climbing route in the Middle East.

It begins at the foot of the mountain-top property, located 2,000 meters above sea level in the Al Hajar mountain range of Oman, before descending a cliff through a cave and climb a vertical rock face before culminating in a metal bridge suspended twenty meters above the valley. .

Despite the assurances, I have doubts.

Ali, on the other hand, is in his comfort zone. Like many other trekking guides working at the hotel, he was born and raised in one of the many farming villages spread across Jabal Akhdar.

Impressive mountains

Alila Jabal Akhdar, perched on Jebel Akhdar, the Green Mountain.

courtesy of Alila Jabal Akhdar

The Green Mountain, as it is called in English, is the highest point in Oman, and despite its predominantly rocky desert terrain, cool weather and a sufficient dose of annual rainfall allow it to support a vibrant agricultural industry.

Terraced farms roll down the mountainside filled with pomegranate, walnut and juniper trees as the ancient Aflaj irrigation system pushes water from one level to the next.

It is in this context that Alila Jabal Akhdar is found.

From the local limestone used in its buildings to the fresh ingredients used in its impeccably presented dishes to the warm Omani hospitality of its staff, the hotel is in perfect harmony with its surroundings.

Guests can contemplate the stunning mountain views while floating in the hotel’s infinity pool or from the comfort of their own private balcony. Looking at the steep climb ahead, both options look very appealing.

Clip on, clip off, repeat. This is the essence of a via ferrata climb.

Latin for “railroad”, they were originally used during World War I to allow Italian troops to transport supplies across the Alps.

Today, they are the favorites of adventure seekers and thrill seekers around the world. I start the climb hesitantly, cutting and snipping the carabiners of my harness to the safety rail again with extreme concentration.

Across the wire suspension bridge

Alila Jabal Akhdar Via Ferrata Experience

Our advice: don’t look down.

courtesy of Alila Jabal Akhdar

Fairly quickly, I find my rhythm and start to focus a little less on the multitude of ways I could injure myself and more on the incredible views offered from the unique vantage point.

The rocky landscape dotted with old junipers swaying very lightly with the winter wind. The mountains rise high in all their silent glory.

Clip on, clip off, repeat.

Halfway, we reach a vertical rock face dotted with a series of strategically placed metal steps that climb up and around a huge jutting boulder before disappearing into the mouth of a cave.

It’s a slow, steady climb with my grip tightening around the safety line with each step I climb.

I feel more and more exposed. As I go around the bend in the boulder, I’m practically hugging the side of the mountain.

As I enter the mountain cave at the top, I breathe a sigh of relief and take a few minutes to recharge.

Framed by the mouth of the cave, the vast valley below looked picturesque. But now was not the time for long meditations on the beauty of nature, the last and most anticipated stop of the journey presented itself: the wire suspension bridge.

Don’t look down

Alila Jabal Akhdar alireza4

Our tour was led by an experienced rock climbing instructor who was born and raised in Jebel Akhdar.

Alireza Hajihosseini / CNN

Following Ali’s instructions, I tie my two carabiners to the upper thread before stepping on the lower one while holding the two side ones for balance.

I take my first step and feel the entire lower thread resonating under my weight.

Three steps and I feel more confident but still don’t dare to look down or around. It’s a delicate dance for balance. I’m starting to feel more confident, stealing looks from the Al Hajar range.

Halfway, I even dare to lower my eyes. Not a good idea because a point of vertigo stops me in my tracks. The rising adrenaline propels me forward.

When I finally reach dry land, Ali greets me with a big smile.

“You did it, your first via ferrata. Now you’re going to get hooked.” He’s not wrong. I’m pumped up and looking forward to the next adventure already.

The new Via Ferrata Cave Affair experience starts from US $ 90 per person for a 2 hour experience. It requires some physical form.

Alila Jabal Akhdar, Al Roose, Jabal Al Akhdar, Al Jabal Al Akhdar 621, Oman; +968 2534 4200


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