Continuing past the Jawaharat A’Shatti complex, an attractive ten-minute stroll along the pedestrianized seafront walkway brings you to the rear of the Grand Hyatt, one of Muscat’s most flamboyant hotels. Owned by a Yemeni sheikh, the rather peculiar exterior looks like the bastard lovechild of a Yemeni fort and a French chateau. It’s worth going inside, though, for a look at the hotel’s fabulous interior. This is pure Orientalist chintz at its most extravagant, with soaring gold and cream pillars, a great tumbling staircase, 25m-high stained-glass windows, plus assorted palm trees and Bedu tents. The whole place is best appreciated over a superior afternoon tea at the Sirj Tea Lounge in the shadow of the impressive bronze statue of an Arabian falconer on horseback, who glares out across the foyer – the whole statue actually rotates, imperceptibly, every hour, which explains why it never seems to be quite where you remembered it.

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