Oman : Nizwa
About an hour and a half inland from Muscat in the foot hills of the Jebel Akhdar you will find Oman's old capital, the town of Nizwa. Nizwa is dominated by the huge citadel of Nizwa Fort. From the roof of the fort you get spectacular views over the surrounding town, date palm plantations and the silver souq for which the town is famous. Nizwa also provides a glimpse of traditional Omani life in the form of the bustling cattle market that takes place every Friday.
Nizwa is the ideal base to explore the surrounding area. To the north there are the Jebel Akhdar Mountains which are dotted with ancient villages clinging to the mountains sides along their ancient falaj (irrigation) systems and cut with spectacular gorge like Wadis, perfect for exploring and with lush green date plantations and secluded clear pools for swimming and cooling off in the heat of the day. There is also Jebel Shams at 10,000 feet Oman's tallest mountain with spectacular views into Wadi Nakhr Gorge the 'Grand Canyon' of Oman (2km straight down!). To the west of the town is the spectacular Jabrin Fort with its painted ceilings and secret passageways as well as the town of Bahla, the pottery capital of Oman and the site of Bahla Fort which is on the UNESCO World Heritage monuments list. With so much to see and do Nizwa is definitely worth a stay of at least 3 or 4 days.
The Falaj Daris Hotel is located on the road to Nizwa about 4km from the town centre. Unfortunately the town has expanded around the hotel and it is now surrounded by shops and car dealerships, however, don't let this put you off. The hotel is by far the best in the area and is based around 2 green leafy courtyards with 2 separate swimming pools so once inside you don't actually realize that you are in the suburbs. In fact you get quite good views of the rugged mountains jutting up above the white crenellations on the roof.
The hotel provides the perfect base to explore the interior and also the perfect place to relax after a day exploring local castles and wadis (gorges). The hotel has 55 simple but clean and comfortable rooms including 2 suites. It has a fully equipped modern gym and steam room as well as 2 small bars and a restaurant overlooking the garden and swimming pool offering an a la carte menu.