A guide to which area to stay in Muscat (2021)

where to stay in muscat

This guide will help you choose which area to stay in Muscat, including a list of the best hotels in Muscat per area of the city, sourcing local gems for different tastes and budgets.

The ancient, coastal city of Muscat serves as the capital of Oman and is a beating heart of culture, history, and commerce.

It’s a destination that offers something for everyone – culture vultures will love exploring mosques and museums, adrenaline junkies can get their kicks with watersports along the coastline, and shoppers will love exploring ancient souks and modern malls alike.

Sprawling across 3500km² and with a population of 1,720,000, Muscat isn’t a small city and you’ll do best to research in advance to work out exactly where you want to go and which spots you’d like to visit. It’s a city that has extremes of both old and new as well as touches of all the
cultures who’ve passed through its walls throughout history.

Looking for a place to stay in nearby cities? Read:
How to find the right accommodation in Dubai
Best hotels per district in Riyadh

best hotels in muscat


How to find the right accommodation in Muscat (Oman)

Muttrah
Ruwi
Qurum Beach
Al Khuwair
Near airport

Interested in tours, excursions and activities around Oman? Check this guide:
Top day tours from Muscat

Best locations to stay in Muscat: map

Click on the image to see the interactive map

Best areas to stay in Muscat


1 – Muttrah: The best area to stay in Muscat for sightseeing

best places to stay in Muttrah, Muscat
The old city is the best place to stay in Muscat for those interested in history

Home to some of the most famous sights, and also the most budget hotels in Muscat, this is a spot that most travelers will find themselves drawn to.

If you’re looking to tour historical architecture, sample delectable local cuisine and shop in the famous Muttrah souk, this is the best area to stay in Muscat.

Originally the city’s thriving commercial center, Muttrah is easily the prettiest part of Muscat and you’ll find yourself wandering the winding waterside paths of Mutrah Corniche, peering through the gates of Al Alam Palace, taking in local history and culture at the numerous local museums and haggling up a storm in the well-known souk.

Best area where to stay in Muscat if:

  • You’re short on time, and only in Muscat for a day or two
  • You are interested in the city’s most famous, historical sights
  • It’s also close to the sea, so it gives you the opportunity to mix culture with a little water time – the perfect combo!

Not a good place to stay in Muscat if:

  • If you’re only on a short layover and need to be close to the airport it could be a little far for you (a 35-minute drive away from Muscat International)
  • This also isn’t an area for those looking to explore the city’s vibrant modern side it definitely depends on what you want to see.

The cheapest hotel in Muttrah

Riyam HotelJust a 10-minute walk to the seafront, Riyam Hotel one of the most budget hotels in Muscat, ideally located for exploring the old city, and at the end of a long day, you can head back to enjoy a dip in the outdoor pool. Even though this is a great option for the budget-conscious, you might still get a room with a sea view if you’re lucky.


The best value-for-money option in Muttrah

Naseem Hotel Those who want to be an easy walk from Muttrah will be perfectly content at this hotel, found less than a two-minute stroll from the heart of the action. It’s also ideally located between the mountains and the sea, offering guests picturesque views of both.


The best boutique hotel in Muscat

Fort Guest HouseThe most traditional hotel in Muscat. If you want to soak up the historic feeling of Old Muscat, then the Fort Guest House will be right up your street. The arched windows and four-poster beds speak to the area’s historic past and will whisk you back in time. You’re also well-set to explore the sights from here, just a stone’s throw from the Old Watch Tower and a short stroll from some of Muttrah’s most well-known museums.

places to visit Muscat
Views of the Corniche from Mutrah’s Fort


2 – Ruwi: The best location to stay in Muscat for budget travelers

Ruwi

Often referred to as Little India, Ruwi might not pack the same punch as Old Muscat when it comes to historical architecture but it’s actually one of the oldest areas of the city, and where you find some of the most budget hotels in Muscat.

If you scratch a little below the concrete surface, you’ll find plenty of charm hidden underneath – there are still souks and traditional shops to be
discovered, local restaurants will draw you in with tantalising scents and after dark, you’ll see Ruwi come to life, becoming one of the best areas to stay in Muscat.

Best place where to stay in Muscat if:

  • You travel on a budget
  • Must-visit for food-lovers, housing some of the city’s best culinary offerings for Indian and Pakistan food.
  • It’s an excellent jumping-off point to explore the rest of the city (and further afield) with its excellent public transport links.
  • To visit the colorful Souk Ruwi Street which is packed to the brim with colorful shops and plenty of trinkets worth bartering over.

Not a good location to stay in Muscat if:

  • If you’re looking for beautiful historic buildings, Ruwi might not be the place for you as the area saw a large redevelopment in the 1970s and has lost a little of its old-world charm.
  • The CBD has the shiny high-rise buildings you’d expect and doesn’t scream ‘holiday’.
  • Aside from the restaurants and charming shops, there’s little else to explore in this district.

The cheapest hotel apartment in Ruwi

Jasmine Hotel ApartmentsThis budget-friendly spot has everything you need for a low-cost stay. The air-conditioned apartments will keep you perfectly cool in the heat of the city and offer an excellent location from which to explore Ruwi.


The best value-for-money option in Ruwi

Golden Tulip Headington RuwiA four-star hotel in the heart of the action, this modern property provides a calm retreat from the hustle and bustle outside. After a busy day pounding the streets, you can return to the Golden Tulip Headington and recline on the rooftop pool as you take in the city sights.


The best luxury hotel in Ruwi

Sheraton Oman Hotel The most affordable 5-star hotel in Muscat. Wander in the property’s gardens, enjoy a treatment at the in-house spa, sip on a drink or two at the Turbine & Taps bar and cool off in the outdoor pool. Your tastebuds will be spoilt for choice with numerous dining options, from sumptuous buffets at Courtyard, moreish meats at the Asado South American Steakhouse and elegant afternoon tea at the Tea Library.

An Indian coconut seller in Ruwi, Muscat


3 – Qurum Beach: The best hotels in Muscat by the beach

best things to do in Muscat
Al Qurum beach

If you’re looking for the best beach hotels while you are in Muscat, Qurum Beach is the best area to stay.

Stretching along 4km of coastline, this is an ideal spot to escape the heat of the city. Visitors can take a cooling dip, enjoy some watersports, or indulge in one of many local restaurants.

It’s not just the beach that draws visitors to the area though, lovers of music will delight in the much-lauded Royal Opera House Muscat which offers tours as well as magnificent live music.

Lazily swaying palm trees, sparkling blue water and world-class performances, Qurum has plenty to offer.

Best area where to stay in Muscat if:

  • You want to be close to the best beach in Muscat
  • It also offers a sleek seaside space to see and be seen with clean, palm-lined pavements and upmarket western-style restaurants offering an array of cuisines.
  • To visit the world-famous Royal Opera House Muscat

Not a good location to stay in Muscat if:

  • You are price sensitive
  • This isn’t the place to soak up the city’s culture, this clean, modern oasis can feel a little whitewashed compared to the character-filled Muttrah.
  • The restaurants which dot the area cater well to the western palate (thanks in part to it being a popular spot for expats) but they do come
    with a high price tag

The cheapest beach hotel in Qurum

Qurum Beach HotelThis spot might not offer the bells and whistles of the nearby upmarket properties but if you’re looking for somewhere affordable on this shiny stretch of beach, it’s got you covered. The air-conditioned rooms offer a cool escape from the humidity and you can enjoy local delicacies and live performances at the restaurant. In our opinion, this is one of the best hotels to stay in Muscat, Oman.


The best affordable 5-star hotel in Qurum

Grand Hyatt Muscat Located directly on the beachfront, Grand Hyatt Muscat is the perfect spot if you want to be close to that sandy beach and still blue water. And it has more than just location on its side, this five-star property will ensure your needs are more than met with its sprawling outdoor pool, spa, choice of four in-house restaurants, three bars, a tea lounge and boutique.


The most luxururious beach hotel in Qurum

W Muscat The face of contemporary Muscat, this luxury hotel offers world-class accommodation in an enviable beachfront location. Brightly decorated interiors celebrate Arabic heritage, whilst modern amenities will ensure you want for nothing. Dine at one of the five restaurants, sip on a cocktail at the glamorous WET Deck or take in sunset ocean views at the Siddharta Lounge. The sea views, pool and relaxing spa will offer an oasis to escape to after a day spent exploring the wonders of Muscat.

what to do in Muscat
The Opera House, one of cool things to do in Muscat


4 – Al Khuwair: The most functional area to stay in Muscat (Oman)

where to stay in Al Khuwair
Al Khuwair

Al Khuwair is less of a must-visit destination, rather it’s somewhere convenient that perfectly locates you between the city’s sights and the airport, the best place to stay in Muscat for those short on time. The lack of local museums and cultural hot spots doesn’t mean that it has nothing to commend it though, this lively neighborhood is bustling with great restaurants and malls – plenty to keep you entertained.

Why you should stay here:

  • You’re looking for a base that offers ease of access to the airport but also gets you close enough to the action
  • It’s a thriving area popular with expats which means you’ll find restaurants to suit every palate
  • Those looking to get a retail therapy hit will be equally happy here with a vast number of malls to trail an afternoon away in.
  • It’s close to Qurum Beach, ideal for those who want to stay nearby but don’t want to pay beachside prices.

Not good if:

  • You are in search for local culture and historical sites
  • Not to worry, however, it’s only around a 15 minute drive to Muttrah so you’ll still be able to get a sight-seeing fix.

The most budget hotel in Al Khuwair

Muscat Plaza HotelOne of the cheapest hotels in Muscat, this is the budget stay that does everything you need it to: air-conditioned rooms to keep you cool, filling breakfasts to set you up for the day and a restaurant in case you don’t want to have to seek out dinner further afield.


The best value-for-money option in Al Khuwair

Park Inn by Radisson MuscatAl Khuwair might not be the cultural centre of the city but this hotel ensures its guests won’t be bored. You can sip on a cocktail at the sky-high bar as you overlook the city, laze the day away lounging by the rooftop pool or wind down at the sports bar. The onsite restaurant serves a plentiful continental breakfast which you can burn off as you shop ‘til you drop at the local malls.


The best 4-star hotel in Al Khuwair

Hilton Garden Inn Muscat Al Khuwair this midrange marvel offers cool, sleek interiors (a welcome relief from the humid hustle and bustle of the streets) and the decor celebrates the local architecture with modern, Middle Eastern flair. The Juice Bar will keep the health nuts happy as they fill up on smoothies and snacks whilst the two (yes two) rooftop pools will please any sun lover.

Al Khuwair


5 – The best hotels to stay near the airport of Muscat

Al Mouj

You might find yourself jetting in and out of Muscat with only a few hours to spare, in which case, your best bet will be to stay close to the airport to make catching your flight that little bit easier. It might sound a bit depressing but there are some great spots to stay nearby and you’re just a 30-minute drive to the main sights so you can still explore or head out for a delicious dinner.

The nearby Al Mouj is an elegant coastline community with plenty to recommend it, with waterfront restaurants, a shopping mall, marina, and even an 18 hole golf course.

The best area to stay in Muscat if:

  • Just if you want to stay near the airport. There are some really nice hotels nearby, of all kinds.

Not a good location to stay in Muscat if:

  • There isn’t much to reach within walking distance here so it’s not for travelers who like to explore an area on foot.

The cheapest hotel near Muscat airport

OYO 109 Al Thabit Modern Hotel Apartment – Less than 4km from the airport, you’ll find these handy self-catering apartments with everything you need for a quick Muscat stopover. Not only can you enjoy the ease of being close to the airport but you’re also only a 5-minute drive to the beach.


The best mid-range option near Muscat airport

Novotel Muscat AirportWhilst this hotel might only be 10 minutes from the airport and set in a busy area, you’ll find it to be an oasis of calm inside. Nowhere more so than by the rooftop pool surrounded by palms – bliss! The gym will allow you to work out any post-flight cramps and with three onsite restaurants, you’ll have plenty of choice.


The best beach hotel near Muscat airport

Mysk Al Mouj Hotel – As you stroll outside of your hotel and past the Al Mouj waterfront, you’ll be hard-pressed to believe you’re a mere 5km from the international airport. You might be staying here for location convenience but there’s plenty to tempt you to extend your trip a little longer – an 18 hole golf course, a rooftop pool, sweeping views of the marina and plenty of tasty restaurants to lure you.


The best luxury hotel near Muscat airport

Kempinski Hotel MuscatThe Kempinksi might be close to the airport, but this five-star, award-winning beach resort is a destination in its own right. The design is modern and stylish, with nods to the city’s Arabic roots, the two swimming pools will tempt you to take a dip and there’s even a bowling alley for those looking for a little fun. There are so many restaurants and bars, you’d need to stay a few days just to visit them all – and we recommend you try as many as you can because each has its own delicious and different offering.

These were, in my opinion, the best areas and places to stay in Muscat. Do you have any other area or hotel suggestions? Let me know in the comments section.

best hotels in muscat

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