The beautiful and historic coastal town of Salalah, home to the revered frankincense tree and often referred to as the perfume capital of Arabia, welcomes the official start of frankincense season every April when harvesting commences. Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara, the region’s first luxury private pool villa resort, provides the perfect base for exploring the ‘Land of Frankincense’, an area that’s home to the world’s finest Omani frankincense, and boasts a rich history harking back to the medieval frankincense trade that flourished in this region.
Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara boasts its very own Salalah Guru who is on hand to take guests on a private tour of the key sites, from the famous Wadi Dawkah that’s home to a forest of over five thousand frankincense trees, to the bustling Haffah Souq to pick up a frankincense souvenir.
To mark the beginning of frankincense season, the resort has compiled five ways to discover more about Oman’s most treasured commodity:
Guests can visit the nearby Wadi Dawkah, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is home to a forest of over five thousand frankincense trees, some of which are estimated to be over 200 years old. This region in Dhofar in particular is known for producing the highest quality frankincense in the world thanks to its unique climate and terrain. A local farmer is on hand to talk guests through the harvesting process and demonstrate how the fragrant sap is tapped from the trees.
For more ideas on what to do on your visit to Oman, read: Oman Travel, a Leap into the Unknown.
Queen of Sheba’s Palace
According to legend, the Queen of Sheba derived great wealth through trading frankincense from her coastal palace, Sumhuram at Khor Rori, which is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Guests can explore the ruins and artifacts of the palace and what remains of the old port which was strategically located at the heart of the frankincense trade routes that linked Arabia to the rest of the ancient world, including India, Egypt, China and Europe.
Al Baleed Archaeological Park and Land of Frankincense Museum
Those staying at Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara can visit the neighbouring Al Baleed Archaeological Park, just a short walk away. This 60 hectare UNESCO World Heritage Site features ancient ruins belonging to the 12th century trading port of Zafar, where frankincense was shipped across the sea to India and beyond in exchange for spices. The story of Salalah and its connection to the revered frankincense tree can also be discovered at the Land of Frankincense Museum, which is located next door to the property. Here, guests can learn about the region’s rich frankincense heritage, including production, distribution and historical trade links, along with a collection of ancient artefacts.
This traditional souk is the oldest in Salalah and is known for its impressive variety of rare and high quality local frankincense, including hawjari, which is considered to be the finest in the world. Shoppers can barter for high quality frankincense which is available in a variety of forms, including resin and coals for incense burning, frankincense oil which is hailed for its topical health and cosmetic benefits, perfume, and even frankincense infused honey and ice cream.
Frankincense-infused spa treatment
To complete their frankincense experience, travellers can enjoy a Frankincense Ritual at the award-winning Anantara Spa. Commencing with a frankincense-infused welcome drink, guests are then transported to a state of relaxation with this pampering treatment that features a unique four handed synchronized massage, enhanced with frankincense oil. Thanks to its topical and aromatic benefits, this powerful essential oil promotes relaxation, increases blood flow and circulation, and reduces inflammation and skin imperfection.
The region’s culture is brought to life at Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara from the moment guests arrive. A frankincense-infused cold towel provides a fragrant welcome on arrival, and throughout the property, hints of the traditional aroma can be detected. The resort also boasts its very own local Salalah Guru who is on hand to take guests on private cultural excursions.Having grown up in Salalah, he has an unsurpassed knowledge of the area, giving guests an authentic taste of local life and putting travellers in touch with the surrounding culture, history and landscape.
Private guided frankincense tours with the Anantara Salalah Guru start from OMR 90. Nightly rates at Al Baleed Resort Salalah by Anantara start from AED 1,574 ++ in a Premier Sea View room.
For more information or to book a private frankincense tour with the Salalah Guru, please visit the website, email[email protected], or phone +968 2322 8222.
Mark Bibby Jackson
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