It’s not often that you experience luxury spa treatments and also get a tour of how the soothing, and deliciously fragrant masks and oils you are treated with came to be. That’s exactly what the Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort, perched on Oman’s fabled green mountain, offers.
To get the best experience of the tour, plan a visit between end-March and mid-May. That’s when these mountain ranges witness the bloom of the famous damask rose, filling the air with its subtle fragrance. Farmers here have created a veritable oasis amidst the arid countryside with falaj, an ancient irrigation system that draws water from underground springs via channels cut into the soil. According to my tour guide, this is what has allowed them to cultivate damask roses, pomegranates, apricots and walnuts, despite getting just 10-12 days of rainfall every year.
Join the Rose Water of Al Jabal Al Akhdar Tour organised by the resort, and you get the opportunity to watch local rose pickers in action - plucking delicate blossoms by their stems early in the morning when temperatures are low. The flowers are then taken to traditional distilleries where the petals are placed in pots of simmering water for a few hours above mud ovens called al duhjan. The resultant rose water that is collected has a distinct smoky fragrance that is in demand for culinary as well as cosmetic purposes. Rose water is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties, which soothe irritated skin and its anti-bacterial properties may help reduce acne.
The spa at Anantara offers the signature Rose Rescue Ritual, a treatment that draws on the hydrating and soothing qualities of damask roses and luxuriant rose oil. The treatment begins with a welcome ritual for the feet that features rose petals and milk followed by a boutique hydration facial, which includes a cleanse and a mask, to re-invigorate your complexion. The therapist then massages your body with exotic oil that nourishes skin and relieves tension.
Prior to the ritual guests can sit back in relaxation pools that have light jets and enjoy heat experiences (sauna and steam) to open up the muscles so your body can benefit from the ritual completely.
Rose Water of Al Jabal Al Akhdar Tour OMR 50 per person/ OMR 80 per couple; Rose Rescue Ritual: OMR 85 for 90 minutes, Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Spa
For a special offer, visit Anantara