My attempts to explore Jebel Akhdar so far haven't gone so well, the car deciding to break down just before the assent on the last trip (link) being a great example. More recently we did make it up the mountain, but with a grandad, a pregnant woman, and two children to consider trekking wasn't on our to-do list. We did end up at the Hotel Alila for lunch though, so I'm not complaining.The hotel is quite impressive, from afar it isn't very imposing, barely noticeable. All buildings are built from or at least faced with local stone, blending into the surroundings. The outside space has been left in what looks like a natural state, lots of stones, flowers and trees adding to the beauty.
Once you reach the top of Jebel Akhdar the hotel is quite a drive in, but the view en route is amazing. Despite the name, the mountain isn't as green as I expected (I miss green), but I was told for Oman it is.
The hotel is actually set on the edge of a canyon, I imagine the view from the rooms must be quite breathtaking, but you do get a good view from the restaurant if you are brave enough to walk to the edge. We'll be saving our baisas and hopefully stay for a night or two one day.
But back to our reason for being there and the Juniper restaurant. We arrived for a late lunch so we had the restaurant to ourselves. The menu is quite modern, with the obvious Arabic touches. They also have a good selection of non-alcoholic cocktails.
We were served bread to begin with, surprisingly with olive oil and crushed nuts, a combination I hadn't tried before. We had a pumpkin soup starter, which was very good and I selected the vegetable tagine as my main, while my husband chose steak. Admittedly, I'm a bit of a steak snob, I much prefer to cook it at home and never choose it at a restaurant, but to my surprise Juniper's offering was impressive. The steak was cooked medium-well and was still juicy and tender. I managed to convince my husband that we should really share our meal....so he could get to try more of the menu, of course. Finally for dessert I chose the cheesecake. After this I was stuffed and ready for the food-induced sleep back down the mountain.
Unsurprisingly, the restaurant isn't cheap, for 7 people (5 adults, 2 children) we paid 160OR. That was for 4 soups, 7 drinks, 7 mains (two of which were childrens), 2 deserts, and 2 coffees. We'll probably have to save a few more baisas if we do ever go back to stay the night since the restaurant is the only place for food for miles.
For more information about the hotel visit the link!