On most days, Abdullah sits at the reception, waiting for guests to come in. While he owns Hissen al Misfah or Castle of Misfah, there is not a hint of conceit in his demeanour. Anyone who comes in, he welcomes with a firm handshake and a smile. Even those who are only hoping to catch a 360-degree view of Misfat al Abriyeen visible from the rooftop restaurant of his property are welcomed in the same manner.
Those who have entered the “castle’s” door notice him first and his warm hospitality. Collectively, those who have met Abdullah described him as friendly, very welcoming and helpful.
We met Abdullah first in December of 2018. Then, he shared that it was always his dream to rebuild. What is now Hissen al Misfah has always been his home — a place where he grew up with his siblings. But with time, old age has taken its toll and resulted in some parts of the house to collapse — just like a lot of the mud houses now surrounding the property.
The influx of tourists to Misfat al Abriyeen got him into thinking and the result is a cosy hospitality centre with air-conditioned rooms, rooftop restaurant with a view and balconies that allow guests to revel on the verdant and lush gardens of the area.
Abdullah’s stories, of which he is always ready to share, had entertained many of his guests and he has become the best ambassador for what Omani hospitality is like.
A dream view
Visiting Hissen al Misfah this Eid holiday, Amirah Sol was one of the many who was happy to see something immersive as the castle.
“Other than the view, it offers everyone an opportunity to experience what a traditional Omani house is like,” she said.
She particularly loved the rooms with bathroom and balcony which she commented that although small, are cosy and looked inviting.
“Misfat al Abriyeen is all about the green gardens. From the balcony, you can see what this place is known for. How the brown of the old mud houses mixing with the lushness of the plants in the garden is a refreshing experience,” she said.
“I’ll definitely come back and stay a little longer,” she said.
Other guests were also just as enthralled. Stefan, who was visiting Oman from Romania, shared online that he particularly like how it’s a new place to stay but with an Omani twist.
“Everything is new and clean. We enjoyed a good breakfast and a great view from the rooftop terrace,” he said.
Several guests also commended how, despite its remote location, the castle and the surrounding gardens provide an ideal outdoor experience complimenting at the same time the “lovely trekking path” as well as the historic village.
“If you want a dream view over Misfah, it’s this guesthouse. We enjoyed every minute, may it be from one of the terraces or from our room,” commented one visitor online.
More to come
Hissen al Misfah is not the only guesthouse in Misfat al Abriyeen. The Misfah Old House has been, for a long time, the go-to place for many travellers to the area.
There are currently more guesthouses being built all over Misfat, all trying to be different but still respectful and lending voice to the Omani way of life.
Manah native Almutasim shared that Misfat al Abriyeen is more than just the garden.
“The people are very traditional in their way of life. Many of them still own the farm surrounding the area, but lots of the work now are being handed to expat labour workers,” he said.
“I’d been coming here since I was small since this is just about an hour’s drive from my place. All the things people see in Misfat today, the villagers have one or two stories to tell. You can visit the bee shop which is quite enlightening and the nearby tower, although entering it is restricted, offers a great hiking path,” he said.
“The snake road towards Misfat, that reminded me a lot about my place back home,” shared Amirah who always go home to her home country of the Philippines.
“Oman is fascinatingly awesome. And it’s a big country with so many things to see and enjoy. Misfat was, without a doubt, a worthy place to spend the Eid holidays,” she said.