The Cliff Guest House: Stay in an Ancient Village in Oman

by Erin Coyle

While eating Omani-style fish and rice mixed with cumin and other Arabic spices for dinner, one can’t help but look around to appreciate the quiet while the soft light comes from the hanging Turkish lamps in blue, pink, and red color. And at the same time, sitting on traditional red and black striped pillows waiting to watch a movie about life in an Omani village, including how they built their mud homes. Views of the mountains, a chance for stargazing, and a fire to keep warm at night are more reasons to stay in an ancient village at The Cliff Guest House in Al Suwjara Village in Jabal Akhdar, the Sultanate of Oman.

A view of a deluxe room at the Cliff Guest House (Photo by Erin Coyle)

Getting There is Part of the Adventure

The Al Sheriqi family opened this guesthouse in 2016 to preserve the village and its homes. The families from the area operate the guesthouse. The drive along the winding and narrow gravel road, once passing the Jabal Akhdar checkpoint, is worth it.

After parking the car, a staff member will lead guests to the accommodation across the mountain. The village looks like it could take an hour to get to; however, it is four hundred and fifty meters away, and it takes about fifteen minutes to walk around rocks. There is also a small wooden bridge to cross over. Luggage will be taken across on a zipline and placed outside the rooms. Once passing through a traditional wooden door, walk up the cobblestone stairs and stop by the reception area for some Omani coffee and dates. You can also sit on red and black cushion seats to relax. It is easy to take pictures of the traditional decorations, including hanging clay water pitchers and wooden doors. Even the pink marble sinks perched on top of tree trunks bring character to this guesthouse.

Be sure to explore the area for picaresque details like the hanging water jugs, wooden doors, and more. (Photo by Erin Coyle)

Explore the Area with a Guided Tour

There are a few options to explore while staying here. A guided tour with Mukhtar will take you to a farm with an abandoned village. This medium-level hike requires walking around loose rocks and a few boulders. While on the trail, look across at the mountains and the wadi below. A wadi is like a valley surrounded by rocks, trees, and mountains. When it rains, they form pools of water. The rock formations and their uneven layers make for good pictures. Once reaching the end, take a break and have some snacks. In this area, there are remains of stones once a part of various rooms in a house. Sometimes they use these rooms to store things, such as dates. The walk takes around three hours.

A guided tour shares details of the ancient village and life in the area (Photo by Erin Coyle)

Opportunities for Wadi Views and Abseiling

There is also a chance to walk inside a cave, but it requires some abseiling for adventurous people. A harness is clipped to a rope, and you use the rope to repel down for abseiling. Another option is to walk around the guesthouse and look at the other rooms. One of the deluxe rooms includes a private sitting area with wicker chairs and cushions. Another room has a two-person swing outside, perfect for relaxing and reading a book. Mohammed, Mukhtar’s cousin, can also show you a short walking path along the cliff to get views of the wadi below.

A view of the mountains while on a guided tour (Photo by Erin Coyle)

Traditional Omani Meals

When making the reservation, it is best to place your dinner order. Dinner can occur in the common sitting area near the fire or outside the room. One of the staff, Hilal, another cousin, will show two movies, one of which talks about life in the village in the past. Watch this sitting on a wicker ottoman with cushions on a projector right before the fire. There is more to learn about this village, and Hilal or other family members are happy to explain anything. Breakfast includes eggs, toast, jam, and Omani bread, a very thin and crispy flatbread.

The outside area to one of the rooms (Photo by Erin Coyle)

While walking around the guesthouse, Mohammed said they plan to add more attractions to this area. They want to add abseiling and via Ferrata. Via Ferrata usually has a rope or wire placed around rocks. Once harnessed in, two clips go on the rope to help ascend on the rock. There are also plans to build a VIP suite with a private pool. Currently, there are eight rooms, with plans to create more. After Ramadan, the villa will be available for guests.

A room interior. (Photo by Erin Coyle)

The Cliff Guest House: Stay in An Ancient Village

Whether staying for the night or visiting the ancient village for a few hours, The Cliff Guest House is worth visiting. The traditional clay houses and decorations make this a great spot to enjoy and appreciate Omani culture. It is also great to see the family preserve their village and turn their homes into accommodation. There is something about staying on a mountain surrounded by nature. The family also makes guests feel at home. It will be cold from November to February, so bring warm clothes. The fire at night will keep you warm, and there are extra blankets. The showers also have water heaters.

Upon arrival, enjoy some local dates (Photo by Erin Coyle)

The family suite holds six people and costs 180 rials per night. Deluxe rooms are 150 rials and can fit two people. A four-wheel is required, but transport is available for a fee. The guided cave tour costs 30 rials for two people and 8 rials for additional people. The abandoned village tour costs 25 rials for two people and 8 rials per person for extra people. (Costs are those at the time of my stay. Costs subject to change, of course.)

Jabal Akhdar: Get to Know Traditional Omani Culture

Jabal Akhdar is about two and a half hours from Muscat. Wear closed-toed shoes with a good grip when walking to the guest house since climbing around rocks is required. For more information, check out the Cliff Guest House.

The Cliff Guest House, Jabal Akhdar, Oman: your chance to stay in an ancient village (Photo courtesy of Mohammed of the Cliff Guest House)

For More:

-All photos by Erin Coyle, except as credited. The cover photo of the Cliff Guest House is courtesy of Mohammed of the Cliff Guest House.

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Kepler Newman March 20, 2022 - 9:29 pm

Thank you for providing a great review of this location and the accommodation. The pictures are lovely and your descriptions make it seem like a magical place to stay and recharge. I would love to make a trip there to stay.

Nancy Zaffaro April 21, 2022 - 9:39 am

So glad you enjoyed Erin Coyle’s article and I so agree with you; I too would very much enjoy a stay at this guest house, as well as a trip to see more of Oman.

Thanks so much,

Nick de Smith June 19, 2024 - 1:32 am

Stayed there back in 2018 after they’d just started. Absolutely wonderful, though we froze as in the winter it can get cold at night. There was no electric light etc so head torches etc. were necessary. Lovely people.

Nancy Zaffaro June 28, 2024 - 11:42 am

Hi Nick,

So glad you shared your experience at the Cliff Guest House. Like Erin, you portrayed that a stay is not luxury travel, but a wonderful place for travelers who appreciate a unique experience, culture, history, and the chance to get to know good people. My favorite kind of travel!

Thanks so much,
Nancy (Confetti Travel Cafe’s Editor)


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