Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Resort

Australian Monitor is distributed in over 75 countries around the world and is serviced by nine warehouses on four continents. Just one example of this distribution is the Shangri-La Barr Al Jissah Spa and Resort complex in Muscat, Oman.

Rising costs and congestion in Dubai have opened the door for nearby cities such as Quatar, Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Muscat to increase tourists to the area. With its location on the Indian/Arabian Ocean, its quiet roads, less hectic lifestyle and ocean breezes, the Oman capital city of Muscat retains the essence and mystique of Arabia.

Following two years' construction work, Shangri-La's Barr Al Jissah Resort and Spa has recently opened, putting the Sultanate firmly on the map. With flights from many cities in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East, getting to the Sultanate has never been easier, and visa-on-arrival facilities are now available to citizens of more than 60 countries.
The resort comprises three lavish hotels - Al Husn (The Castle), Al Bandar (The Coastal City or Sea Port) and Al Waha (The Oasis). The buildings and interior design elements of each reflect the splendor of Oman's architectural heritage, representing the castles that dominate a diverse landscape, the coastal cities that reflect a rich maritime history and oasis settlements that demonstrate human adaptation to a varied environment.

Set in 124 acres of landscaped gardens, it comprises 640 guest rooms, six main restaurants, seven casual dining outlets and pool bars, three lobby lounges, two bars, a nightclub, an Omani Heritage Village, a Marina, a Diving Centre and a 1,000-seat, open-air amphitheatre.

To date, US$210m has been spent by the Shangri-La group on the project, which is currently entering Phase Two, with the addition of 72 villas and further restaurants. The developer's faith in Oman becoming a popular destination is further demonstrated by the huge running costs and the 1,200 full-time staff required - the monthly electricity bill alone is US$200,000. Before the project could commence in April 2004, a 6km highway had to be built from the main road to the resort.

General contractor Carillion Always appointed various subcontractors following a series of public tenders, with Oman International Electronics & Trading landing the SMATV and audio installation. Hitesh Bhimani was responsible for the tender, which required hours spent producing AutoCAD plans and ray traces at standing and seating positions for each speaker proposed for the project. Subsequently appointed project manager for the construction phase, he spent two years working closely with the local subsidiary for the Atkins Group in its role as consultant.

Ceiling heights vary throughout the complex, but the background music is kept at a constant level offering seamless transitions as the ceiling speakers have been tapped at various power ratings. The background music for the entrance foyer of Al Waha is controlled in the office, where an Australian Monitor AMIS 250 mixer-amplifier offers paging and music sources from a PC, MP3 or an integrated Australian Monitor BGM-2 CD player.

The music levels in the Surf Cafe have been increased to compensate for the higher ambience generated by the younger guests, pool table and LCD televisions. The 10 ceiling speakers are all powered by an Australian Monitor AMIS 250 mixer-amplifier.

The outdoor dining area is divided into four zones using an Australian Monitor ZRM4 Zone Routing Mixer, while an Australian Monitor AMIS TX8000 eight channel mixer allows the outdoor speakers to be controlled or even muted in the pool area as required.

Australian Monitor AMIS 30, 120 and 250 mixer amplifiers and Australian Monitor BGM-2 CD players have been installed throughout the public areas of the resort. PCs provide alternative background music sources, and create a uniformity of programming, despite the differences in music.

The meeting and banqueting facilities include the 1,056m2 Barr Al Jissah Ballroom, and its large pre-function area that can accommodate up to 850 guests. The resort also offers eight function rooms covering more than 360m2. The thickly carpeted ballroom can be partitioned into three sections, each measuring approximately 13m by 22m.

The control room at the rear houses three Australian Monitor TX8000 preamplifiers and an Australian Monitor AMIS ZM3 zone mixer, which allows remote selection of four stereo sources to each of the three zones or, when the ballroom is configured as one large function room, provides a single PA system. 'The mixer-amplifiers manufactured by Australian Monitor offer many more features for the same spend,' says Mr Bhimani. 'There are other inputs in addition to the microphone option, RCA and XLR connections, and a VCA remote volume control, so any conventional player can be connected to the unit.' The adjacent meeting rooms can be linked to Ballroom C, allowing privacy or an additional extension to the ballroom for VIP guests. Five of the seven meeting rooms are based on a design that incorporates an Australian Monitor AMIS 120 mixer-amplifier and four ceiling speakers, an input for a microphone and a Draper projection screen. The reception area has eight speakers powered by an Australian Monitor AMIS 250 and linked to an Australian Monitor BGM-2 CD player installed in arched recesses.

The Al Husn, meanwhile, includes the Shahrazad Moroccan restaurant, the Silver Lounge cigar lounge, Mahhara private beach bar and Al Muheet pool bar and restaurant. Named after the first Omani ship to sail to America, the Sultanah restaurant serves international cuisine and has been designed to resemble a ship at the dockside. For its sound system, an Australian Monitor AMIS 250 is linked to a PC and provides background music to the eight outdoor and nine indoor speakers. This area has also been powered by four Australian Monitor AMIS Amplifiers.

Prakash Viswanathan was glowing in his praise of the audio equipment under his jurisdiction: "There are only four engineers employed here and between us we have to cover three hotels and all the outlets. However, most of our daily work requires us to manage the meeting and ballroom areas, where functions are in a continual flow. Each client needs to brief us with their exact AV requirements, before we set-up and host the function to the letter, so the resort needs to be free of problems, or it takes us away from our daily priorities. With the equipment installed throughout the resort, our wishes have been granted. To date, we simply need to service the equipment and educate facility managers and other users on how to get the most out of their equipment. The Australian Monitor AMIS products are extremely user friendly.

Oman International Electronics & Trading has been excellent at supporting us," he continues. "Whenever I have a question, I know that Hitesh will be able to give me an answer straight away. They all know exactly what they have done and usually know in advance what we need - as they knew during the installation phase which areas had been overlooked in terms of background music and prepared the cabling points."

Omani resort is just one piece in a growing jigsaw that currently includes 50 resorts around the world, to become 90 within three years.