Omans first resort, and possibly most successful hotel property, is on the verge of being ‘repositioned’
regarding its Branding. The Shangri-la Barr Al Jissa Resort and Spa is probably the key hotel in Oman, and I believe the one which launched Oman into mainstream tourism. The repositioning will, of course, be important to Oman and critical to the Shangri-la in Oman.
Probably part of this repositioning is the appointment of Sandra Simone Leibrock as director of sales & marketing. She has worked with a remarkable variety of Hotel Brands and has been part of the critical ‘pre-opening’ team of some. This wealth of experience will be essential as the repositioning means that there will be 2 distinct properties.
Al Husn is renamed to Shangri-La Al Husn Resort & Spa. This property was built physically joined by lift to the other two properties and had placed itself as an ‘adult only’ property (we once had a large family spread with adults in Al Husn and children and Nanny in Al Bandar).
Naturally, I include the Shangri-la in my Bradt Guide to Oman – available on Amazon
The age of an adult under their definition fluctuated which did emphasise the commercial issues involved. The other two hotels, Al Waha and Al Bandar, will remain as Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort & Spa .
The Shangri-la launched very successfully in Oman for its 2006 opening with a full flight of PR guests flown in with Gulf Air, at the time Oman’s national airline; this bounced the hotel into probably all the European press.
The hotel backed this up with excellent staff training; all staff were new to Oman and we were used to provide ‘City Orientation’ trips for them on their arrival. This attention to basics, along with its superior promotion, enabled the hotel to fill its 700 rooms when other Oman hotels struggled.
Times of course change, particularly at the upper end of the market where Muscat is rapidly having almost an excess of 5star properties. Al Husn certainly needs to compete more clearly as the general market has become more demanding and Muscat has spread well to the west of the Shangri-la.
Sandra Simone Leibrock may also find herself as part of the planning for a Shangri-la in Salalah, land has been allocated for years and the reposition might be an ideal time to feel out demand.