The Al Misfah Heritage Castle is one of the oldest ancient stone houses in Misfat Al Abriyeen in Al Hamra about 250 km away from the Governorate of Muscat. To preserve the heritage and culture, it was turned into an inn receiving tourists all year round. As testament to its historical significance, one of the rooms in the castle, the first to be ever built dates back to 400 years ago and is currently referred to as the Dark Room.
The castle also has great geographical importance built near the Rogan Castle said to have been constructed before Islam came to the country. Strategic in its location, it is considered the highest point in the village overlooking the charming panoramic view of its gardens and nearby mountains.
While massive changes have been taking place in Misfat Al Abriyeen, the inhabitants are very keen on preserving the aesthetics and authenticity of the village working with authorities to provide the needed upgrade but staying true to the sustainability and historical importance of the place.
One of the latest ventures in the village is the transformation of the roof deck of the Al Misfah Castle into a coffee shop.
“This cafe was established through a partnership between the owners of Misfah Castle and Hussain al Sawaei, the owner of the Halwa Coffee cafe’’, shared Zahran al Abri, the owner of the Inn.
“We chose this brand specifically as it is 100% Omani, presenting Omani identity and authenticity in a modern and contemporary form which suits the nature and the heritage of Misfat Al Abriyeen”, he added.
The rise of coffee shops has become a trend across the wilayat and in Misfat Al Abriyeen alone, this is perhaps the second most notable coffee shop rising in recent date.
As the trend continues, many of the business owners are becoming more creative with their ideas and products and the game has become all about the unique experiences they provide to their guests.
For the Halwa Coffee Cafe at the castle, the location was the primary selling point where one can enjoy a good coffee while watching the view from the top but also spend a delightful moment while watching the sunset.
According to Hussain, the Misfat Al Abriyeen branch is the fourth in their portfolio having established the brand already in locations like Al Khoudh and Al Manouma.
He affirmed that the Misfat Al Abriyeen location provides a different aesthetic but one that plays well with their brand as Halwa Coffee is their way of promoting a local brand and bring it to the consciousness of international guests.
“Halwa Coffee was born out of this curiosity of why coffee brands were always imported to the country. For us, what we wanted to do is create a local brand which has the potential of growing global’’, he said.
Hussain added, “The Omani hospitality has always been tied to coffee. Kahwa and dates are a big part of our welcoming tradition and it is this very tradition that we want to shine through’’, he said.
“Our vision is to grow the brand to become global. That comes with the mission of delivering beverages and snacks with Arabic taste perfectly tied with the hospitality and beauty of Omani culture’’, Hussain added.
“The secret behind the brand is that we make coffee drinks mixed with halwa to attain a certain unique flavour. When we introduced our halwa coffee, it has become a best seller and we’ve proved this as the Misfat al Abriyeen branch is our fourth one’’, he shared.
Halwa Coffee offers a wide variety of food and drink options to dine in or take away, including sweets, coffees, cold drinks, ice cream and daily specials. The visitor can enjoy having his selected type of drinks and food on the upper floor of the café which is an open area, overlooking the historic old houses of al Misfah and also can view the whole village of al Hamra.
“We expect the number of visitors will grow in the coming days of winter when the atmosphere becomes cooler. Omani people, in particular, love the cold weather, and the Omani coffee is the forever companion of all times”, Zahran shared.
The town of Misfat al Abriyeen is one of the beautiful archaeological villages in the Wilayat of Al Hamra. It is located in the midst of the central mountain of the Wilayat of Al Hamra, which is part of the extension of the Al Hajar Mountains. It is about five kilometres away from the centre of the wilayat through a paved road that cuts through a mountain range. The lightest vehicles can reach the village via a paved and easy road.