Duqm Floating Hotel, the first of its kind in Oman, sounds amazing and looks pretty good in pictures, but one might not be so impressed with the place after staying there. I posted these pics Nov. 8th but am only adding comments now on Dec. 5th. This blog post is getting a lot of attention and as one of my friends who also went there told me, “You need to give your complete review on that place because as it is, it seems you are promoting the place with the nice pics.” He’s right and so I better tell you about the good, the bad, and the ugly about Oman’s “only floating hotel”
This is the front desk on the Aloha Deck.
Because we were 3 adults and 2 kids (1 child & 1 infant to be exact), we opted for the “luxury suite”. What got us interested in this hotel was an ad promising a luxury suite for 50 rials, standard for 35 and a basic for 30. That did come with breakfast and dinner I must add. They also included a “free massage” for each night but then we learned that they have only 1 male masseuse (my wife is not comfortable with that!) and it’s the poor Filipino guy who works as the barber who was assigned to do massages as well! He really didn’t seem happy about it at all when he was telling my wife. When I called, the receptionist told me that it’s 50 rials per person! One of the only hotels in Oman I’ve ever heard charging per person rather than per room! On top of that, they charge me another 10 rials for my 2 year old son! Do the math folks. We paid 160 rials + 17% taxes per night and we stayed for 2 nights. I don’t mind paying decent money for a place if the price matches the facilities but this “dream like boat” seemed more worthy of 3-star prices than the prices we were charged!
There’s not a whole lot to do in Duqm in case you didn’t know it and it is a LONG ride from Muscat. I explored the Duqm Rock Garden and one afternoon we went to the Oryx Santuary. The best experience was Ras al Markaz but it was amazing we ever found the place considering the horrible directions we were given which led us on a 2-hour wild goosechase. On their website they promote “local Duqm attactions” (which is a big reason I went!) but then nobody on the floating hotel had a clue where these attractions were!!!
You will not find any pics of toilets in any of the brochures/ads/website pics for Duqm Hotel Veronica with good reason. All the toilets are like the one you see above – and this was the “luxury room”…Another major surprise for us was that they turned the hot water off. When we called reception to find our what the problem was, they told us that they turn the hot water off from 6pm to 6am. Would have been nice to know that!
Although it may not look like much, we enjoyed the food and the restaurant on board. No complaints from us regarding food whatsoever!
They have a pretty decent dinner buffet if there are enough guests on board.
Not only was the food pretty good; all the staff we interacted with were very friendly and helpful. (Except when it came to giving directions to the “local attractions”! )
The onboard pool makes me laugh. Better to laugh than cry! It kind of looks pretty good in a pic, doesn’t it?! It is in the hull of the ship and had very murky, cloudy water like it is never cleaned and it was lukewarm at best. As much as everyone in our family loves pools, we were not getting inside that! Imagine paying more than 180 rials a night with the promise of a pool to realize that you’ve been had. To make matters worse, even if I had been brave enough to get more than my foot into that cold water, there were no clean towels around at all. I realized why – the poor barber/masseuse also acts as “pool boy” and doesn’t have time to manage/clean the pool!
Another big selling point to the boat is their theatre. My wife and I enjoyed watching a movie one evening.
Hotel Veronica looks quite good at night! I do have to warn single women and anyone with a wife and kids though…Alcohol is a big selling point on the boat. Labourers come on board to get drunk each evening and even sailors from other ships visiting the harbor. I think it’s a real recipe for disaster that they allow these men (some who may have not seen a woman in months!) to wander wherever they please around the ship smelling like alcohol. They were wandering up and down the corridors pretending to take pics but they were eyeing the passengers and some almost got a taste of Andy-in-Oman justice when I saw them glancing a little too long at my wife. I’m telling you that this is an accident just waiting to happen. The ship has to decide if they want to be a “decent family hotel” or a place for lonely men to get drunk. I don’t believe they can do both in the longrun.
Well, that’s my 2 cents about the Duqm Floating Hotel Veronica. I really think they had better bring their prices down to a realistic level if they wish to do well in the longrun. Sure, ignorant people (like myself) may come down once and get milked at prices way beyond even some of the best 5-star hotels in Muscat or Dubai, but when people realize that they didn’t get their money’s worth, they are going to feel cheated, as I did and still do. If you are the type that likes the idea of coming down to Duqm alone or maybe with a friend and getting drunk out of your mind, then it’s just the place for you! (But why not just do that in Muscat/Nizwa/Salalah or wherever you are?!) Duqm may be promoted as an up and coming place time and time again by Oman Tourism and other agencies, but it really is not much to see in the middle of nowhere and I think it’ll be many years before Duqm is worthy of a second trip. I recommend staying at the Duqm Tourist Hotel (I’ll post pics/prices when I can) or camping nearby and just visiting the Duqm Floating Hotel if you really want to see it. Better to visit and pay for lunch than book a room and be majorly disappointed as we were. I have plenty more I could say, but I think I’ve already said more than enough!