Seven years ago, when Edith and Rudy Weerheym dropped into Dubai for a warm-weather holiday, they lasted just two nights. Rudy had worked in this corner of Arabia decades earlier as an oil & gas professional and was looking forward to seeing how the city had grown. But the city was too big, too frenetic and not the kind of place they felt like whiling for even a few days. So, the Weerheyms scrambled and found a destination in the near distance that looked like an antidote — The Chedi Muscat.
Today, the Dutch couple is back from Muscat after their second trip to the resort this year, and their ninth visit since that fateful scramble seven years ago. They’ve sent roots deep into the sands of Oman, a place they now consider their second home. They look forward to seeing people at The Chedi who’ve evolved in their regard from staff to family.
That’s one of the main reasons the Weerheyms coming back — the people.
Here are five more reasons the Weerheyms are looking forward to their tenth visit.
When it’s evening at The Chedi, and the lights bathe the immaculate white facades of this Jean-Michel Gathy design, the Weerheyms feel as if, once again, they’re on the verge of another installment of 1001 Arabian Nights. Should a magic carpet sweep the length of the 103-metre Long Pool, or a genie emerge from a lamp in The Lobby Lounge, they might just concede that Issac Newton wasn’t the last word on the way the world works after all. Still, as thrilled as the Weerheyms are about the profound Omani heritage around every corner, they’re also taken by the Zen atmosphere that pervades the resort. The fountains. The waters. The gardens. It’s an otherworld entirely from their home in The Hague.
At 73 years of age, Rudy’s days of adventuring and even soft-adventuring are somewhat behind him. Nor does Edith bring a bucket list of things to do to Muscat. They’ve been out to see the dolphins and dropped a line on deep sea-fishing expeditions. They’ve traveled up into the mountains, out into the desert, and into the wadis from The Chedi Muscat. They’re not looking for any more heart-pumping excursions. Still, one stop on every visit to The Chedi is The Royal Opera House. They’ve been to see Cliff Richards, and the Bolshoi Theatre. They go to the ballet, and they dress to the nines for at least one night on the town per stay, sometimes two.
Edith schedules a 90-minute spa treatment at least every other day if she’s staying two weeks. “It’s one of the nicest spas I have ever seen, and they really know what they’re doing,” she says. She prefers the traditional Balinese treatment — all that palming and stretching, the effleurage and the focus on pressure points — but she’ll detour on occasion into an Ayurvedic massage for all of the warmed therapeutic oils and the special massage techniques for each of the three doshas. But really, she’s like a like a kid in a candy store when she’s staying 14 days. The Chedi has 13 treatment rooms and a lounge overlooking the Gulf of Oman, and a knack for going above and beyond the call of duty. She’d brought a hurting leg to the spa for her first treatment this year, and somehow, over the course of six treatments, she emerged with a leg in much better condition. Better a massage on the Gulf Oman, according to Edith, than physical therapy with a view of a parking lot.
Here’s a typical day for the Weerheyms at The Chedi. They start the day with breakfast, then migrate to a spot on The Chedi’s 370-metre stretch of private strand with their books and designs on a swim or two. At lunch, they drift to The Chedi Pool Cabana, where you can get away with beach attire, and uncork a bottle of wine. By the end of the day, if they haven’t indulged a spa treatment, they’re back in their room, preparing for dinner. “We eat all of our meals at the resort,” says Edith. “Arabian,” says Rudy, “Indian. Far Eastern. It’s all excellent.” They eat every night in the resort’s Restaurant, partly because they like the air-conditioning at the end of the day, but mostly for the variety, for what’s light and what’s fresh. “When you spend 14 days in a row at a resort, you have to pay attention to what you eat everyday,” says Rudy. In other words, you have to pace yourself.
With 160 rooms and suites, across six different categories of luxury, the Weerheyms always stay in a suite. Go big or go home is the idea. Their Chedi Club Suite sprawls over 67 square metres. Sometimes, they drink in views of the Hajar Mountains, sometimes the waters of the resort’s pools or ponds. The accommodation, says Rudy, is “an all-important element.” They like that as many as 15 pieces of laundry per day are handled by The Chedi; that their fresh fruit stores are replenished daily; and that they can watch the sunrise and set from a private terrace. “It’s very romantic,” say this couple who’ve been married 34 years, and who are already counting the days to their next installment of Arabian Nights.
Text by Duncan Forgan for GHM Journeys.
Featured image: Said Al Amri, deputy general manager of the Chedi Muscat, dines at the Chedi Pool Cabana with Rudy and Edith Weerheym.