“Odyssey” at Oman Dive Center. Never Again!

In the past, I’ve written a positive review of the Oman Dive Center and their restaurant there.  Well, until they change their parking policy and attitude towards customers, I never intend on ever returning to that money hungry, tourist-milking establishment again.  They know nothing about customer service.

Service has been slow on previous visits, but we waited like 20 minutes and no one came to serve us or even give us a menu.  Even after I went into the kitchen and asked for 2 menus at table 21, they took another 10 minutes to get it to us.  The write-up in “Time Out Muscat” got it right when they wrote, “Time stands still…at least it does for the staff, who can be spotted strolling leisurely around the beachfront chatting to patrons.”  Not only was service extremely slow, there was a serious fly problem.  Another thing I noticed at the Dive Center on this visit.  The beach is horrible during lowtide. So many rocks and then such a thick mud that very few even bothered swimming at that time.

The fish & chips at Odyssey (RO 4.5 if I remember correctly) was actually a very good meal.  Another plus is that tax was not added to the bill but inclusive in the price.  All of these pluses do not balance out the nonsense we went through on leaving though.

On leaving “Odyssey”, I went to the receptionist to get our parking ticket signed (as I’ve done on numerous occasions).  Normally any parking prices are waived if you have a quick (less than 30 minute) lunch.  The Omani woman told me that the new policy states that each person must spend at least 15 rials at the restaurant to avoid any parking fee.  If you spend less, the parking charge is 4 rials per person.  Rubbish!  By the way, there is plenty of parking space at the Dive Center and there really is no need for such a policy except for simply milking tourists for every dollar they can.  I told her that the man at the gate told me nothing about such a policy and there is not a sign warning anyone entering about such a ridiculous policy.  I also told her that I have been there before several times and no such policy existed.  She rudely told me that they charge people 4 rials per person for parking and there is nothing else to say about the matter.  Excuse me? per person? Shouldn’t that be per car?!  So if there are 6 people in the car I should have paid 24 rials for a quick 30-minute fly-infested lunch?!  The best way to send them the right message is by not returning.  In the future, I will bring all friends/visitors to the much better Blue Marlin Restaurant at Marina Bandar.

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44 responses to ““Odyssey” at Oman Dive Center. Never Again!

  1. Oh wow! That’s the crappiest service I’ve heard of anywhere !! :S Not to mention outrageous

  2. I meant to ask earlier , will you be in Muscat in the second half of December? I’m getting home on the 13th and will be there till the 30th so if you’re not on holiday at that point , I figured we could meet up sometime :D

    • Antony,
      Yes, I’ll be in Muscat during the whole month of December. Give me a shout when you get in town. It’d be nice to meet up. :-)

  3. Andy, it’s true. This so called ‘tourism’ non-sense is an just over the top means to rip apart tourist’s pockets.

    ‘Tourism’ for Oman just translates to ‘ripping apart pockets of travelers, travelers that we welcome and travelers who have heavy, heavy pockets’.

    It’s nothing more. Thinly veiled. I’ve had tourists tell me how utterly expensive everything is here.

    • I agree that it can be expensive here but not every place is out to empty your pockets. The Sidab Marine and Science Aquarium at the Marina, for example, allowed free entrance during the National Day Holiday and they even handed out the nicest free posters to guests as well! Thank God not every establisment is like the Oman Dive Center, or people would not make return trips to the Sultanate, which we know plenty do. :-) Thanks for the comment.

  4. If those prices are true then they will lose most of their local business – anyone who is not going diving is probably not going to spend that much on lunch per head. Pity, the food and atmosphere is nice (no fly problem a few weeks ago).

    We lost the parking ticket thing once and were held to ransom for the old 2 OMR carpark exit fee. I guess it pays for the carpark guy to sit outside his hut in the shade all day long.

    • Slimster,
      Exactly! No one wants to spend 20 rials on lunch and then another 4 or 8 for parking. The fact that they want to charge per person for parking and not per car tells me they only want to suck as much money as they can from people. Thanks for giving your 2 cents worth! :-)

  5. I agree. The people running this place are very rude and have a definite “milk-the-tourist” attitude. We were there once with our twins (4 years old at the time) who have a severe dairy allergy. There is a sign saying that you cannot bring your own food. Because of this we went straight to the manager and explained the situation and also showed her the epipens (emergency medication) we have for our children to underline how serious their allergy is. We told the manager that my husband and I would be eating at the restaurant and that we were willing to pay a bit extra even though the kids weren’t eating.The snooty manager just wouldn’t let us in with the kids’ food saying she also has food allergies and that she can eat at their restaurant too so it’s perfectly safe! She said she was willing to put our children’s life at risk (no kidding!) so she could keep up the policy of people not bringing in their own food!
    The location of the place is perfect but I will never go there again unless they changes their staff and their bizarre policy!

    • Anon,
      Wow! Can’t believe they treated you that way even with your taking the time to explain it to the manager! Thanks for sharing your story with us. Must be difficult traveling with your kids when they have such severe allergies. Interesting blog (www.travelallergy.blogspot.com)! Stay safe out there and all the best to you and the family! :-)

  6. Worst staff ever. Especially Nicolas who ignored us for ten minutes because he was too busy chatting to another waiter. When we decided to leave he just laughed.

  7. Good, honest review. I’ve had bad experiences there too. I think you should use foreign for tourist; obviously expats, as well as tourists, and no doubt locals, are being fleeced there.

    • Thanks for taking the time to share your experience as well. Yes, I am sure they are fleecing anyone who walks through their gates.

  8. Poor service in Oman… tsk, who could imagine?

    • Now, now. Be nice & fair! :-) There are plenty of places with great service in Oman. It’s the odd exception like the Dive Center that really gets under my skin.

  9. Last time we were there it took them 45 minutes to bring us our order. It wasn’t anything fancy. Just a burger. 45 freaking minutes. Considering that we literally grabbed the waiter as soon as we sat down and got the menu off the little stand ourselves…They do take forever!

  10. they let a man drown in their pool on a busy friday afternoon not long ago. Instead of shutting the place down they kept the party going. Sick bastards.

  11. As to the 4 rial charge, I suppose they are trying to limit the number of people that come in at the weekends. I went there two weeks ago, on a Friday afternoon, and it was packed. I had to park outside the gate. They never told us it was the parking charge – it’s the use of the beach charge. The entry fee during the week is 2 rials, and you can waive it back if you don’t use the beach. I can understand the use of the beach fee – it’s a private beach after all and they need some money to maintain the facilities.
    No excuses for the restaurant though.

    • Belma,
      The Omani woman told me clearly that it was a PARKING FEE. We did not use the beach at all and they know that (not that they care). They are not “trying to limit the number of people”. If so, they would have a notice board informing people of their ridiculous policy at the gate. They just want to suck as much money out of people as they can. The new policy, the annoying lady at the counter informed me, is that you MUST SPEND 15 RIALS/PERSON TO WAIVE THE PARKING FEE. That is all I need to know. I will definitely not be returning anytime soon!

  12. Same experience. 45 minute wait for “camel burger”. Which tasted….just like a normal cheap high-flour-content burger. We won’t be going again.. A real shame because we went about 3 years ago an it was good.

    • It is a shame as it wasn’t bad when I was there a year ago. I won’t be going again either! (Unless there is a charge in management/policy/attitude.)

  13. Well, I don’t know then. We used to go there often and were never told there was a parking fee. We were told many months ago that we had to spend 15 rials per person to waive the ‘use of the beach fee’. It’s very unprofessional of them to tell different stuff to different people.
    I was never impressed with the restaurant anyway.

  14. Belma,
    Yes, EXTREMELY unprofessional of them to tell different stuff to different people! Even worse to tell nothing to people entering the gate, and then to hit them with a fee on the way out. They need to put their ridiculous policy (whatever it is!) on a billboard posted at the front gate so people can know what they’re getting into.

  15. Very interesting reading. We stopped going to the ODC about a year and half ago.
    Similiar experience with restaurant and service and attitude of waiters/ mangeress.
    My wife was pregnant and she ordered a salad for herself, together with rest of the meal including drinks for every one.
    The service was poor and the meal late. However, when it arrived the salad had an insect crawling in it. My wife complained they took away the salad. After some time I went in to the bar / kitchen area and caught them swapping the salad onto another plate (no idea where the insect was). We complained to the manageress who didn’t think that was a problem and perfectly acceptable (despite wife being pregnant) and by the way can you keep your voice down !!! – Never been back & don’t intend to.

  16. odc its good location for a making outdoor party but here you go event people don’t ever think to do party in odc they setup a very funny rules which the mind can never take it too bad for having such a nice beach with crazy rules .

  17. Pingback: parting shots of my sons in muscat & their odyssey back to the u.s.a. « a nomad in the land of nizwa

  18. Aweful treatment at the restaurant , guests serving their tables there own menus , RUDE nonchalent waiters who actually give you dirty looks , when taking the order , point at you one by one asking each guest , ” what do you want “, storms off and food never arrives after 45mins , we walked out , went to pay for our drinks and the food arrived passing the bar, looking like the fried items ( Fish and chips ) were cooked in oil a week old!! Happy we told them too stick it !!! One can admire the venues beauty only for so long !!! DONE with this Place !! Good bye dive centre !!!

    • Sorry to hear but it comes as no surprise. Odyssey should definitely be given “the slowest service award”. Maybe that’s a new category Oman-2-Day could hand out at their restaurant review bash every year! ;-)

  19. Kerry-Lynn Bouman

    very sad to hear that, one of my favourite places in Oman! (have been going there for four years and stayed there half a dozen times)

  20. Kerry-Lynn,
    It is sad indeed as the location is perfect. Nevertheless I will never support a place with such terrible management and policies that only seek profit rather than any inkling of customer service. I would rather pay double at a less desirable location than support such a place, as a matter of principle.

  21. Yes Andy , I totally agree and as a hospitality professional , visit after visit can almost be wonderful due to the setting of the place , and I will do what you say and visit Shangri-la next door, pay a little more and not leave feeling like you have been ripped off, treated like garbage and eated 2 /10 food !! NO THANKS !!!! . I recommend this place as a spot for students of hospitality to see how not to behave/ work !

  22. Anon,
    That’s a great idea. A spot for students of the hospitality industry to see how NOT to do business! ;-) Maybe I should bring this up to the director of NHI (National Hospitality Institute) as a possible fieldtrip, haha!

  23. HAHAHAHA !!! Andy thats so Funny was just thinking of E mailing NHI , but if you think about , “what goes around comes around and I just rather not waste my time and I am sure a municipality visit would also be good , as I even saw a guest complaining in the reception that the bread had mould on it and once again the Dive centre manager just told them to report it to the restaurant manager , Is there no GENERAL MANAGER in that place??

  24. Yes, a man (or company or government) shall reap what they sow!

  25. Totally agree with the disgusting attitude of the place. Food is mediocre at best. The beach is full of cigarette butts. NEVER AGAIN !!!

  26. I was planning to spend the last 2 days in Muscat (after the tour in Oman) at the beach and considered the ODC for some snorkelling. I am changing my mind now. Does anybody know if maybe the management has changed meanwhile? Any improvement?
    (Do you recommend the Capital Yacht Center to spend the 2 days?)
    Thank you

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