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Review: Hilton Salalah Resort, Oman

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Last year I wrote about the Hilton Salalah Resort in Oman which is an astonishing 5,000 Hilton HHonors points per night (Hilton Park Lane is 80,000 points.)  Reader Nick saw my article, was intrigued, and booked it!  Here is his review of the Hilton Salalah Resort:

I’ve been following HfP for a while now and accumulated over 800,000 Avios, not to mention various hotel status and points.  With my finances maxed out due to my recent house move, new car and forthcoming wedding I decided a ‘budget trip’ to somewhere sunny was in order for February 2015.

I’d followed with interest the redemption opportunities for Hilton and spotted that there was an interesting opportunity to redeem Hilton HHonors points for a bargain break to the Hilton Salalah Resort in Oman.  This is my review.

Being a Category 1 hotel, but boasting 4 star status, the Hilton Salalah Resort seemed like too good an opportunity to miss.  Back in July I booked a redemption stay for February 2015 for 8 nights at a cost of 34,800 points.  This was even lower than the headline cost of 5,000 points per night due to the discount I received due to my Hilton status. 

The trip was prompted by a Qatar Airways sale which offered return fligths from LON-SLL (via Doha) in economy for £355 each.

At the time I booked I still had Cathay Pacific Marco Polo Gold status from my Amex Platinum, which allowed me to book our seats.  In the economy cabin of a Qatar A340-600 you are fairly limited on choice – it was about avoiding the really rubbish seats as opposed to booking the best ones.  Unfortunately as my status expired three weeks before I travelled I was not able to use the lounge.

The IFE was much better than expected; I certainly wasn’t expecting multi channel IFE, which took the edge off the length of the flight and the fact that the IFE ‘box’ took up about 15% of the seat width in front.  Certainly one to be aware of next time when booking seats! The legroom under the window seat was particularly bad due to the curvature of the fuselage.

Once at Doha I was blown away by the size, cleanliness of the airport and was looking forward to relaxing in the Oryx lounge for a couple of hours with my Priority Pass. Unfortunately when I got to the lounge they declined access (they wouldn’t say why) which was a real disappointment since when I checked (admitedly a few months prior) they had been part of the programme.

I whipped out the Amex Platinum and they said they would only give access for Platinums issued in the Middle East.  Feeling a bit tight I decided not to part with $45 each for a 2 hour wait; instead I went exploring. If I had my Marco Polo Gold I could have accessed the Al Mourjan lounge complete with Krug; I’m so gutted I didn’t refer my other half to Amex Platinum to keep our benefit ‘alive’.

The airport was big enough with enough facilities to checkout to keep us from being bored, and before we knew it we were at the gate waiting to board the flight to SLL on QR1143 (Airbus A321). Although a smaller plane the control boxes for the IFE seemed to be tucked away, and the screens smaller so there wasn’t quite so much a problem with the legroom. This plane was full to capacity with the exception of 4 empty business class seats… I was really missing business class now.

Arrival at SLL was not quite straightforward.  Our steward missed out distributing the landing cards to us, so we queued to get to the desk only to be sent to the back of the queue again! 2 hours after landing we were finally able to collect our bags.

Hilton Salalah Oman review 3

The Hilton driver had other thoughts than waiting which left us to catch a cab to the hotel … this was about 15 minutes away and a fare of about 4OMR (half of what the Hilton was charging).

When we arrived we were greeted as Gold members and shown to our room. We booked a standard room but were upgraded to a huge Seaview Deluxe Room. First impressions were of a large room, little dated decor, but perfectly comfortable – the extended amenities sets were very much welcome as I’d forgotten my razor.

Hilton Salalah Oman review 2

The table in the room was set out with a fresh fruit welcome; a large bottle of sparkling water and a nicely decorated valentine’s cake and some Omani sweets (all complimentary and very well received after a long journey).

The bed was great, about 50% bigger than the UK super king beds and very comfortable; the room included mini-bar a good selection of TV channels and a good sized bathroom with bidet, bath and shower, aircon and heating ; all of which worked.

Hilton Salalah Oman review 1

The hotel itself was a little bit dated, but the staff were brilliant, nothing was too much trouble for them. The gym was well equipped but underused and the pool was heated with a waterslide for the kids. The hotel has its own beach which is supposed to be private, but that didn’t stop a heard of camels trooping past and the occassional 4×4 driver exploring the beach area!

Hilton Salalah Oman review 4

The hotel was well equipped with bars and restaurants (I think four in total) and is one of a handful of places to serve alcohol in the city. Breakfast was served buffet style (being Hilton Gold this was free) with a decent selection of fruits, cold cuts, hot food, porridge and curry! The waiting staff were good and always on hand to top up coffee’s or teas. The chef at the omlette station was kept busy with waffles/ omlettes and eggs any way you’d like them.

Lunch was served at all of the restaurants and dependent on the spot there were different dishes on offer including a fixed price buffet.  For dinner there were themed nights on different days; if you go I’d recommend the Barbecue Night; they spent ages setting it up and there was a huge array of food from fish to meats, many different vegetarian options, rice, sushi, curry, salads, humous, dates, cheese, cold meats and a choice of at least 10 desserts that I counted!

Hilton Salalah Oman review

The clientelle of the hotel varied; I would say 60% German, 15% Scandinavian, 15% French and the rest either British, Russian or American. Most of the Americans and Brits there were Merchant Navy on the way to the port of Salalah which could be seen from the hotel. It wasn’t intrusive, but it did make for an ‘interesting’ view. There were some people there who were on all inclusive packages, but they weren’t the beer swigging types that you’d expect to see in the Costa’s and due to the residents being mainly over 50 the whole place was quiet from about 10pm.

For the return journey we were back on a much less crowded A321 (departed at 5am) and then the short (3 hours) back to Doha. We only had 1 hour between flights on the way back so we made our way straight to the gate and got ready to board the A380 back to Heathrow.  Again, we’d booked our seats ahead using the status I had and made my way to seat 62E and settled in for a great flight home.

Would I recommend it?  YES. As a bargain redemption it couldn’t be beaten – however there is a hotel being built next door so be wary of building noise if you book!  Salalah is not an easy place to get to; with no direct flights from the UK it makes senses to change either at Muscat, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait or Hamad (Doha).

Even though our Qatar tickets were non flexible economy we managed to pick up 90 tier points and 1922 Avios for just £355 – plus eight nights accommodation for free.

You can find out more about the hotel, and book, on this page of the Hilton website.

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (December 2023)

There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive a huge 100,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 100,000 Avios) with The Platinum Card. You receive 75,000 points if you spend £10,000 in six months and a further 25,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

Crazy 100,000 points (TO 9th JANUARY) and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with:

SPECIAL OFFER: Until 9th January 2024, you will receive 30,000 Membership Rewards points (convertible to 30,000 Avios) with American Express Preferred Rewards Gold. You receive 25,000 points if you spend £3,000 in three months and a further 5,000 points if you hold the card for 15 months. You can apply here.

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (32)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Rohan says:

    Good enjoyable read . It really validates this point and miles craze we all are breathing

  • shd says:

    We stayed at this hotel for two weeks over Christmas and New Year. Booked two rooms (and specified they needed to be adjacent w/ connecting door), unfortunately they screwed this up … after brief (polite) discussion about how I wasn’t going to stick my kids in a room half way down the corridor they upgraded us to a suite *and refunded all the points for the second room*. Result.

    Would agree with Nick’s report, it’s a lovely place. It’s got the friendliest staff my wife and I have ever encountered (and we’ve each stayed in many (allegedly) premium hotels over the years).

    Felt slightly isolated, there’s almost nothing around the hotel, you’re a fair way out of the city. We like to explore, so ended up renting a car.

    Felt perfectly safe, even when driving along the road towards Yemen in our hired Land Cruiser, with our 5- and 1-year old sitting the back seat spotting camels 🙂

    We’d go back in a heartbeat.

  • The_Real_A says:

    I often find the lounges change with Priority Pass. Always best to check “find your lounge” before travel

  • danksy says:

    I should have added, on the way back from DOH to LHR I managed to get seat 62E on the A380. On that aircraft due to their being a ‘maintenance hatch’ that required access there was no seat in front. The guy behind sarcastically commented that I’d “Lucked out” with my seat choice!

    Still it made up for the IFE boxes on the way out being in the way!!

  • andy says:

    Brilliant review. Thanks so much for sharing so much detail…. More like this please Rob.

  • Tom says:

    Great review. Is the beach usable for swim & kids play, or are u mostly relying on the pool area?

    • shd says:

      The beach is huge, but with no shade at all. There’s a kids’ play area set up on the beach right by the boundary to the hotel, but with no shade we found it was too hot there between about 11am and 4pm.

      There is plenty of shade round the pool.

  • Andrew says:

    As a resident of Muscat and with a large stage of HH points I will certainly be visiting this hotel.

    Thank you for the great review!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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