In March, I checked into The Chedi Muscat in Oman (www.ghmhotels.com; from OMR222, about £343) – with reservations. “Going on 12 years old… we’ll see,” was my thinking. Nothing delights like exceeded expectations, though, and The Chedi Muscat did that at almost every turn. Not to say it’s perfect: it doesn’t, for instance, have the country’s dreamiest beach (Six Senses Zighy Bay’s probably takes that award). But the face it puts forward is close to immaculate. Walls are pristine white, hedges manicured, walkways swept – all part of one of the most architecturally and spatially satisfying property designs I’ve seen. The maître d’ at The Beach Restaurant has been manning his post for years, and it shows: warmth and perfectionism are dispensed in equal measure – a service ethos that the majority of the staff seem to aspire to. The Japanese and Malaysian dishes at the Long Pool Cabana are absurdly good, and the rooms are perfectly configured, with his-hers wardrobes and basins in the deluxe ones, and some terraces facing meticulously lit pools that burble and glow at night.