Middle East Grand Tour: Dubai to Muscat in Maserati Grecale SUVs

Flying might be faster, but a road trip around the UAE and Oman gives you more scope to look around

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The concept of a grand tour in motoring terms brings to mind summer trips around the Mediterranean in dapper vehicles, staying in luxury hotels and viewing the finest sights in whatever country you happen to stop off in.

Such a trip doesn’t have to be regionally confined to Europe though. This is the kind of journey you could make wherever you can find the sights – not least the Middle East.

And, should you decide to do such a thing in, say, the UAE and Oman, you could do worse than making the trip in Maserati’s compact SUV the Grecale.

With this in mind, The Ritz-Carlton organised its own take on the classic experience comprising all the elements above.

The co-ordinators made what they had in mind, officially calling the event the Grand Tour.

It consisted of a trip from Dubai to Muscat, taking in the region’s most fun roads to drive on while discovering the best of what the region had to offer en route.

The Grecale range, comprising the GT, Modena and Trofeo, make for solid choices as grand tourers in the classic sense.

Each is fancy enough to attract a few glances, but not too over the top in a supercar style.

Crucially, the trio all have the same comfortable and roomy interior, with enough power to eat up the kilometres as you head in search of your next destination.

All-wheel-drive is standard across the range – useful if you have to head over a few bumps, which is always possible on a trip of this sort – but while the GT and the Modena rattle along nicely with 4-cylinder 2-litre engines, Maserati has cranked up the Trofeo with a V6 3-litre unit that reduces the 0-100kph time down to 3.8 seconds and ups the top speed to 285kph.

Not that grand touring is about speed and power, of course.

Suffice to say that rolling into the two Ritz-Carlton venues situated in Dubai, the brand’s most northerly outlet in Ras Al Khaimah and finally the biggest of the quartet in Muscat, does not make you want to hurry.

Hotel chains generally retain a uniform feel among their various outlets, but, aside from the extreme efforts made to give visitors a luxury experience, Ritz-Carlton’s four Grand Tour venues stand out for having a very different appeal for customers.

The Ritz-Carlton, DIFC hotel sits within one of the city’s most bustling financial districts and is one for those who like to be at the centre of things.

The emirate’s other venue, The Ritz-Carlton Dubai, is in the Marina District and offers a more beach-orientated and less hectic experience.

The Ritz-Carlton Ras Al Khaimah, Al Wadi Desert is one for lovers of the outdoors, being situated within a nature resort.

Meanwhile, Al Bustan Palace in Muscat stands as an unquestionably visually spectacular destination, being housed in a building that was, indeed, once a palace.

The route between these hotels takes in some of the region’s most visually dramatic terrain, giving a proper sense of what the region has to offer.

Taking a trip like this makes you realise that, while flying is faster, taking a little more time and pulling in anywhere you fancy in a fun set of wheels ticks a lot of boxes as well.

As we said, a grand tour is not just for Europe, after all.

Updated: March 16, 2024, 7:34 AM