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"A fantastic and utterly memorable holiday"

Dear Andrew,


I know that Richard has been in touch with you, but I want to write to you myself to thank you for all you did to make sure that we had such a wonderful holiday....We had the MOST lovely time - everything really exceeded all expectations and it couldn't have gone better.  Al Bustan is a really special hotel - all the staff so beautifully trained and so kind and helpful.  They seemed to enjoy having such a large family party, and although I hadn't wanted any fuss on my birthday they insisted on giving us a birthday tea party in a private room, with the most beautiful birthday cake I have ever seen, and about ten of them came in to sing "Happy Birthday" and to give me various presents - so kind.  


Richard will have told you that we ended up eating in the hotel every night.  This started because we couldn't face the thought of all the traffic jams in the city - they seemed to be just as bad whatever time of day we went in or out.  (I wonder whether you have been there lately? )  We dined on the terrace of Al Khiran restaurant, where they kept us a special table for 14.  The restaurant has a magnificent buffet, which suited the grandchildren down to the ground, as they could simply choose whatever they liked and eat as much as they liked, without having to wait for waiters to come and take orders, and then have to wait again for the food to arrive.  The full buffet cost 18 rials per head, but  you could have a half-pice half-buffet, which meant innumerable delicious soups and "starters", followed by a salad course, which included every sort of salad, prawns, lobster, etc, OR, alternatively, one (or more) of the main courses, of which there were at least eight to choose from, followed by desert.  I ate very well indeed every night for 9 rials.  As for Gus, our 11-year-old, I think he ate more than anyone, of every course, and, as a child, was also only charged 9 rials.  It also suited William very well, as he is on a very strict, self-imposed vegan diet, and there were always lots of things he could eat.  There was a different theme for main courses every night - Asian, Indian, Lebanese, Italian, etc.  


I tell you all this in case you have other families booking their holidays - we thought it was the perfect arrangement for the young.  For lunch we had very good beach snacks (cold soup, scampi, salads, burgers, etc.), beautifully presented in special wooden boxes and brought to us under our umbrellas and palm trees - for 3 or 4 rials each.  The young really made the most of everything the hotel had to offer, snorkelling, scuba-diving, kayaking, and tennis in the coolness (coolerness) of the evening.


Our city tour, arranged for us by your local agents, was excellent - a very comfortable 16-seater bus, with a really good guide - Saha (?) who deserves special mention.  Some of us also did a day's tour in two self-drive 4x4's booked by the Hotel, to Nizwa Fort and Wadi Mistal - a memorable drive up into the mountains. 


We all loved our time in the desert, with the young, and not so young, all enjoying the various activities on offer.  Philip, Nemone and I went for an hour-and-a half's camel ride to watch the sunset from the top of the dunes - not bad for an 80-year-old!   Twenty-four hours later there we were in that amazing Opera House, all dressed up in our best clothes!  It was a wonderful evening (William's birthday present to me).


All in all, a fantastic and utterly memorable holiday, and we do thank you so very much for making it all possible.   We wouldn't have known where to start if it had not been for you.


Let me know if I can answer any questions either from you or anyone else with a family who is thinking of going there.


With very many thanks and all good wishes,




"Many Thanks To You And Holiday Architects."

Dear Harry
We hugely enjoyed our Oman trip. Elite did a very good job with all the local arrangements and their sub-agents in Musandam. Everyone was efficient and helpful. All the flights were fine. Car was excellent - we really enjoyed the flexibility of driving ourselves around (about 900 miles) without a guide and always felt safe - wonderful roads.
Very friendly people - no hassle. Interesting things to see. Overall a very good trip.  Never too hot - even in the desert.
Many thanks to you and Holiday Architects.

"We Have Now Returned From A Very Good Holiday"

We have now returned from a very good holiday and so thought I would just let you know that nearly everything went well. The hotels were good and we really liked the Sohar Beach Hotel where we got a pool side room that had just been refurbished. We thought the restaurant was very good value and even the drinks were relatively cheap.
Our tour guide in Muscat was excellent. Good English and knew her details. We asked to have the Opera House included and she certainly complied.  
Thank for arranging it all. 

"The Holiday Gave Us The Flexibility We Wanted."

So what were the overall impressions of the holiday?


Firstly it was the trouble taken by Holiday Architects (Oman specialists) with an itinerary to suit our requests as well as their suggestions. This was complemented by their Oman agents, Elite Travel. The other major factor was our driver/guide Saqr. What a star! Over the 10 days we were with him he became a friend. His English was nearly perfect, his driving skilful and safe and his knowledge of the places we visited extensive. He was ever willing to take us ‘off-piste’ to see places of particular interest to us from the time we had lived in Oman, and also to places he knew which he realised would appeal to us.


We knew that some of the development since then would be rather unattractive and that there would be some ‘urban sprawls’. However we had correctly judged that this would be outweighed by modernisation and restoration done in a sympathetic manner. We also knew for certain that the local people would be extremely welcoming. In our case they were fascinated by seeing some of our photos from 1972.


We stayed everywhere at comfortable hotels or ‘camps’, but we had ruled out five star luxury from the start. Tourism is increasing year by year and new hotels are springing up.


The final point was the advantage of a ‘tailor-made’ holiday with 4WD vehicle and driver which gave us the flexibility we wanted, and allowed us to see places without being rushed.   

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