Our first visit to the sultanate of Oman served up a richly traditional and hospitable cultural experience, a unique country on the Arabian peninsula with one of the most diverse environments in the Middle East.
For our first stop, we stayed at the stunningly designed Anantara Al Jabal Al Akhdar Resort 2000 metres above sea level (one of the world's highest luxury resorts), which boasted breathtaking views directly over what is known as 'The Grand Canyon of the Middle East'. Only accessible via a 4x4, the resort is perched atop the edge of a dramatic drop into the canyon, so throughout the day we could relax and enjoy the panoramic vista of the mighty Al Hajar mountains.
We shared our stay at the resort with a busy BBC TV crew, unsurprisingly featuring the hotel in the television series 'Amazing Hotels: Life Beyond the Lobby'. The crew were immersed in a full Omani welcome, dressed in traditional dishdasha and sampling feasts of local delicacies.
Venturing out on a drive into the mountains we came across an abandoned village - eerily quiet - where we continued on foot to explore empty passages and shelled out dirt houses on a steep slope.
Travelling on to the capital of Muscat, situated between the mountains and the sea, we were brought back to ground level in busy streets and souqs where the Omani decorative buildings with iconic towers and curved architecture provided a scenic backdrop.
Wrapping up our Omani experience we spent an unforgettable few nights in the Wahiba Sands desert. The cleverly constructed Desert Nights Camp - a luxury camp with Bedouin style tents - was the perfect choice in this other worldly landscape. Spectacular sunsets across the sand, eating under the stars and endless light shifting sand dunes from dawn until dusk will remain etched in our Omani memories.