Muscat Express Hotel: The Best Budget Hotel in Muscat, Oman

After Oman Air canceled my original flight schedule, I ended up having to stay a little longer in Muscat to explore the city for a bit. I thought it was a blessing in disguise, although I had to spend extra for a hotel in Muscat, Oman.

Thankfully, the price ranges for accommodations in Oman are pretty reasonable, and it's not hard to find a budget-friendly hotel in Muscat. After some consideration, I decided to book a room at Muscat Express Hotel in Al Ghubrah.

In this post, I'm going to share a complete review of Muscat Express Hotel, as well as some insights about choosing the best area to stay in Muscat during your layover in Oman's capital city. So, let's dive in!

4 Best Areas to Stay in Muscat, Oman

Muttrah is an ideal place to stay in Muscat due to its historic charm, bustling souks, and proximity to attractions like the Corniche and Muttrah Fort. Here are my top picks for best hotels in Mutrah!

Ruwi offers a central location with easy access to commercial hubs, markets, and a range of dining options, making it convenient for both business and leisure travelers.

Al Ghubrah boasts a mix of residential tranquility and modern amenities, including shopping malls and parks.

Seeb offers a peaceful coastal setting. Although it's a bit far from the city center, the area is close to Muscat International Airport and some beautiful beaches in Muscat.

Where to Stay in Muscat, Oman

Muscat is a big city, and it can be pretty tricky to decide which area is the best for an overnight stay in Oman. 

Whether you're a transit passenger looking for a place to stay during your layover in Muscat or you have enough time to explore Muscat for a day or two, you can consider these areas for your stay in Muscat: 

  • Seeb is the best choice if you need accommodation close to Muscat International Airport. The airport in Muscat is located around the coastal area of the city, and you can visit some beautiful beaches in Muscat that are only around a 10 to 15-minute drive from the airport. 
  • Al Ghubrah is located in the city center, around 15 kilometers from Muscat International Airport. It's more like a residential area, but some of the must-visit places in Muscat, such as Sultan Qaboos Grand Mosque and Royal Opera House, aren't too far from here. You can find some hotels in Al Ghubrah with cheaper night rates than other areas in Muscat. On top of that, there are so many budget-friendly restaurants and tea shops around this area. 
  • Ruwi is where most government offices and international business centers are located in Muscat. Situated around 30 kilometers from Muscat International Airport, the area is located somewhere between Al Ghubrah and Muttrah. Due to its location, which has good access to public transport and a lot of hotels, Ruwi is also pretty popular for travelers staying in Muscat. 
  • Muttrah is within walking distance of places to visit in Muscat. From the beautiful corniche to strolling around the waterfront and wandering around the traditional Arab souq, as well as its historic charm, there's no question why Muttrah is the best area to stay in Muscat!

I knew from the beginning when I did my research about what to do during a layover in Muscat that Muttrah is hands down the best area to stay in Oman's capital city. 

However, I got quite price-sensitive when I ended up having to stay for 2 nights in Muscat. Quite frankly, the night rates for a 2-night stay at most hotels in Muttrah were quite steep. 

As a result, I decided to stay at Muscat Express Hotel instead. 

  • Hotel: Muscat Express Hotel
  • Cash withdrawal: I use a Wise VISA card for cash withdrawals when traveling, and I couldn't withdraw money in some ATMs at Muscat International Airport. The ATM that eventually worked for me to withdraw money was the HSBC ATM. 
  • Tour: Muscat Private City Highlights
  • Transport: You can use the public bus in Muscat and pay for your bus ticket in cash. If you prefer getting around by taxi, consider installing Otaxi app on your phone. Alternatively, you can also rent a car and check the price here
  • SIM Card: Compared to purchasing a SIM card at Muscat International Airport for 8 OMR (around $20 USD) with a validity of 7 days, you can get an Airalo e-sim starting at as low as $4.5 USD instead.
  • Travel insurance: Get yourself covered with SafetyWing, where you can also purchase add-ons for extreme travel and electronic theft insurance. 

Why Muscat Express Hotel is the Best Option for a Budget-Friendly Hotel in Muscat, Oman

Located in Al Ghubrah, it's a sweet spot if you want to stay somewhere a little bit far away from the tourist area but close enough to explore some of the most popular sites in Muscat. 

I booked a room at Muscat Express Hotel through Agoda. It has a stellar review on Agoda, and that was the main reason why I ended up booking the hotel. It's pretty decent for a budget hotel in Muscat, and I don't have too much money to spend for my accommodation there. 

For a 2-night stay at Muscat Express Hotel, I paid IDR 1,013,462 (around $65 USD) in total for a Standard Room with a king bed. If you're looking for a cheap hotel in Muscat with top-notch services and location, I'd definitely recommend Muscat Express Hotel in a heartbeat! 

The location is close to everything you need during your stay in Muscat, from budget-friendly restaurants to cheap but delicious tea shops. 

Al Ghubrah is definitely a great location if you want to stay in a residential area. If anything, staying at Muscat Express Hotel reminded me of the surrounding areas from my apartment when I lived in Saudi Arabia years ago. 

Although it's relatively far from areas like Ruwi and Muttrah, the public transportation in Muscat helps a lot. You can find several bus stops around Al Ghubrah not too far from Muscat Express Hotel, and it's really easy to get around Muscat on a budget using the public bus. 

Even if you plan to rent a car in Muscat, Muscat Express Hotel also provides a spacious parking space, which makes it even more convenient to stay for your layover in Muscat. 

How to Get to Muscat Express Hotel From Muscat International Airport

I was actually considering booking a private transfer from Muscat International Airport since my ETA in Muscat was around 8 PM. 

In fact, I already got in touch with a driver in Muscat that I connected through Travel to Oman Group on Facebook. But he canceled at the last minute, so I decided to wing it and find out how to get to the hotel by public transport by the time I reached Muscat International Airport. 

You can take a public bus from Muscat International Airport pretty easily; just go to the Ground Floor, where you can see the sign “Bus Stop” at the airport. You can also ask people at the airport to give you the right directions to the bus station. 

The bus to Ruwi departs from Muscat International Airport every hour. When I arrived in Muscat and got to the bus stop at the airport, there was only one bus on standby and it was the one that I took to go to Al Ghubrah. It's bus number A1, and it's also the same bus with Ruwi as the final stop from the airport. 

You can pay the bus in cash for 500 baisha or 0.5 OMR (around $1.3 USD). I'm not sure if they accept electronic payment, but I paid in cash for all the bus rides that I had in Muscat. 

Since Al Ghubrah is located exactly between Muscat International Airport and Ruwi, you will need to communicate with the driver that you need to stop at Al Ghubrah bus stop. Try to take a seat close to the driver if you can. 

When I took the airport bus in Muscat, it was almost empty since it was only me and the other passenger, who was also quite helpful in directing me where to stop in Al Ghubrah. 

Muscat Express Hotel is around 1.5 kilometers from the bus top at Al Ghubrah. Not too far from the bus stop, you can find a taxi parking area where you can basically grab a cab to wherever you need to go. Mind you, the sidewalk to get to the parking area isn't really pedestrian-friendly. 

Another downside is that if you grab a taxi from this parking area, you need to haggle the price to make sure your taxi ride is worth paying for. I took the taxi there, and it cost me 3 OMR (around $7.8 USD) for a taxi ride that took less than 5 minutes. 

If you choose taxi as your main transport to get around Muscat, I'd highly recommend installing Otaxi app on your phone instead to avoid getting scammed. 

I kinda regret spending the money for the taxi ride once I arrived at the hotel, but I learned my lesson so I walked to the bus stop the next day. It took me around 20 minutes by foot from Muscat Express Hotel to Al Ghubrah bus stop. 

Review: Muscat Express Hotel in Muscat, Oman

I have to say, Muscat Express Hotel exceeded my expectations in so many ways. I don't know much about other good hotels in Muscat, but I can vouch for Muscat Express Hotel as one of the best budget hotels in Oman based on my experience. 

Despite being one of the most budget-friendly hotels in Muscat, I've had a great experience of staying at their hotel. So, here's my take on Muscat Express Hotel as a place to stay during my short layover in Muscat, Oman!

Muscat Express Hotel in Muscat, Oman.
Muscat Express Hotel in Muscat, Oman.

Location & Price

I booked their Standard Room with a King Bed for less than $40 USD per night, and honestly I was super impressed by the property, location, facilities, and the hospitality of the staff at Muscat Express Hotel. 

The location in Al Ghubrah may not be the first option when considering a place to stay in Muscat, but Muscat Express Hotel has a strategic location. It's surrounded by many budget-friendly restaurants in Muscat, coffee shops, and minimarkets. 

As it's pretty easy to get around Muscat with public transport, you can always rely on the public bus as the bus stop in Al Ghubrah is not too far from the hotel too. 

Check-In Process

What impressed me the most was probably their staff's hospitality. They're super friendly and helpful when asked for guidance about traveling around the city. 

I arrived at the hotel at around 10 PM local time, and it took only around 5 minutes for the receptionist to check me in. When I checked out, the other staff member was helpful, and he politely asked me not to forget to write a review on Agoda. Which I did, gladly. 

Standard Room with King Bed

Standard room with King Bed at Muscat Express Hotel in Oman.
Standard room with King Bed at Muscat Express Hotel in Oman.

While my first impression of Muscat Express Hotel was quite great with their location and staff hospitality, I was even happier when I entered my hotel room the first time. 

Mind you, it's supposed to be a standard room for a 3-star hotel in Muscat, but the room is far better than some 5-star hotel rooms where I used to stay during layovers when I was a flight attendant! 

The fact that it comes with a king bed makes it super comfy to stay for a solo traveler like me. There's also a single sofa in the corner where I had my meals after having to take out the leftovers when I had my dinner in the Bengali restaurant nearby. 

There's a small desk in the corner that I could use for work. The only downside is that the desk was too small for my laptop, but other than that I had nothing to complain about. The Wi-Fi connection was pretty decent, but I had to use my travel adapter since Oman uses a G-type electricity socket like the UK.

Quick tip: Pretty much like Saudi Arabia and some other Arab countries, most video call features are banned in Oman. You may need to use a VPN if you need to use video call features during your stay in Oman. I'd recommend NordVPN for this. 

I didn't try tools like Zoom or Google Meet, but I can confirm that video call features don't work without VPNs for apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, and Skype. 

Muscat Express Hotel also provides complimentary teabags and coffee sachets with a teapot in the room. Since I stayed for 2 nights, they also refilled the complimentary bottled water so I got 4 during my stay. The only downside is that their mini fridge didn't seem to work in my room then. 

Even the bathroom is quite spacious, and the hot water works pretty well in my room too. Not that I needed it, but it can be something to consider if you need hot water in your accommodation in Oman. 

Basic toiletries like a toothbrush and a small tube of toothpaste with amenities like shampoo, shower gel, and conditioner are also provided. 

As a guest, I was really satisfied with the standard room. So satisfied to the point that I started wondering if that was the standard room where I stayed. I genuinely started wondering how good the room could be if I booked the Suite there. 

Hospitality & Other Facilities

Apart from hotel rooms, they also provide extra facilities, including restaurants, a coffee shop, and a gym. 

Since I was traveling during Ramadhan, the restaurant and coffee shop were closed during the day. I'm not sure if they open at all during Ramadhan, but I didn't get to see it open during my stay there. 

But it wasn't an issue since the hotel location is close to various restaurants, so I just went out to grab some meals from the nearby eateries during my stay. However, keep in mind that during Ramadhan, just like the majority of Arab countries, most restaurants in Oman are closed during the daytime. 

As for the gym, I didn't use the facility but from the photos that I saw on their Agoda page, the gym doesn't look that bad either. 

What stands out for me is really the hospitality, since all the staff that I met during my stay at Muscat Express Hotel, their hospitality is top-notch. They're friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable about ways to explore the city. I'd definitely recommend staying at Muscat Express Hotel in a heartbeat because of that! 

Final Verdict: Staying at Muscat Express Hotel during a Layover in Muscat, Oman

If you're looking for a good hotel in Muscat to stay in during your trip to Oman, you should definitely consider Muscat Express Hotel. 

While you may be able to find some cheaper accommodation on Airbnb or even Agoda Homes, I personally think staying in a hotel is a better option for a short stay like I had in Muscat. Muscat Express Hotel exceeded all my expectations about budget-friendly hotels in Muscat! 

If you're not sure where to stay in Muscat and are considering staying in a less touristy area that's not too far from the famous sites in Oman's capital city, Al Ghubrah can be a great option. You can find a lot of cheap hotels in Al Ghubrah, and I can vouch that Muscat Express Hotel is the best value hotel when it comes to location, night rate, and facilities! 

The king bed in the standard room at Muscat Express Hotel.
The king bed in the standard room at Muscat Express Hotel.

Here are some pros and cons that I want to highlight about Muscat Express Hotel in Muscat, Oman! 


  • Muscat Express Hotel is an affordable hotel situated close to Muscat city center. When I confirmed my hotel booking in Muscat, I paid less than $40 USD per night. 
  • Considering I stayed at their Standard Room, I have to say that their room is top-notch. I can even say that their Standard Room is much better than some 5-star hotels where I stayed for layovers during my time as a flight attendant! 
  • It has a spacious parking space, which can be an ideal option if you plan to rent a car in Muscat. 
  • The bus stop in Al Ghubrah area is only around 20 minutes walking, so it's also a great accommodation if you plan to explore Muscat by public transport. 
  • The hotel is surrounded by so many budget-friendly restaurants and some coffee shops. 
  • The hotel's staff is super attentive and helpful, and the receptionist desk is on standby 24/7. 


  • The location in Al Ghubrah is not exactly in Muscat city center. You may want to consider staying at one of the hotels or hotel apartments in Ruwi or Muttrah if that's what you're looking for. 
  • The mini fridge in my room didn't seem to work well when I stayed there. 
  • The desk is a little bit too small for remote working. 

So, that's my take on the Muscat Express Hotel. I'm sure there must be some other best-rated hotels in Muscat, whether they're located in Al Ghubrah, Ruwi, Muttrah, or even airport hotels in Muscat around Seeb area.

Have you been to Muscat? Could you recommend any hotels in Muscat where you stayed and enjoyed? Share in the comment below, and cheerio!

marya the beautraveler author profile
Marya The BeauTraveler

I am the founder and main editor at The BeauTraveler. I spent 4 years working in the aviation industry but ironically got to travel more right after quitting the industry in 2015. Born and raised in Indonesia, I started working remotely in 2017, and while I stay at home most of the time, I also regularly spend 2-3 months living a semi-digital nomad life elsewhere every year.


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