THE DESIGNER DAD'S SECRET WEAPON
Elemis IQ facial, Cleopatra’s Spa, Wafi Dubai
There are a few ways of telling I’m a father. There are the bags under my eyes from lack of sleep, worry lines and general unkempt look that comes from having a little girl who demands I read her Barbie stories back to back and a 10-year-old son who wants to try out his latest wrestling moves on me.
So the idea of a facial was like winning a lucky draw. One that promised to make me look younger was an ever bigger bonus. In fact, I’d have been happy just to lie in a darkened room with soft music playing while someone took on my fatherly duties for an hour.
But Cleopatra’s Spa Dubai offered so much more.
It’s in the Pyramids Health & Leisure, Wafi, and is the ultimate in luxury. As the name suggests, it’s inspired by the ancient Egyptian queen and there are giant gold mummies guarding the spa along with a rose-petal-strewn walkway.
The treatment room was more understated and I couldn’t wait for my dad make-over. I’m Italian so have olive skin, which I didn’t think had been damaged too much by my days entertaining the kids on the beach. I chose the Elemis Skin IQ facial, which promised to boost tired, stressed and dehydrated skin. My male therapist looked at my face and decided my skin was all three – but he said that the treatment would combat the effects of the sun, a hectic lifestyle and even shaving so often.
So to the soothing sound of music, he used Elemis products to cleanse my skin and then steamed it. Then came the horrible bit – the extraction – where he removed my blackheads and unblocked my pores. Luckily the steam had made it much easier so it didn’t hurt.
After that I drifted off while the therapist massaged my face.
I could just about hear him telling me how each product, with fancy names like Time Defence Wrinkle Delay, would help battle my crow’s feet and Eye Reviver would brighten my dark circles. They both felt good, and when the facial was over my skin looked different. It was cleaner, visibly plumped up, and almost looked polished.
My wife and even my children asked me what I’d had done, and I just smiled. A dad has to have some secrets, right? Cleopatra’s is mine!
Details: Dh550 for 75 minutes
Contact: 04 324 7700; email@example.com; www.wafi.com
THE STRESSED OUT POP'S SMOOTHER
Muscle Release massage, The Spa, The Address Marina
The Spa at The Address Dubai Marina is one of those oases of calm that are a common feature of the luxury hotel scene. For me, like most other fathers in the UAE I assume, it was an opportunity to escape the bustle and noise of the city and refresh myself with one of the range of treatments that appealed most.
On entering I was greeted by a friendly receptionist offering a detox drink while I waited for my therapist. The combination of soft chairs, dark woods, muted lighting and scents of sandalwood and lemon all contributed to the overall air of relaxation and retreat.
It looked like a very sophisticated sanctuary, such as you might find tucked away in Thailand. Guests have the opportunity to use the well-appointed facilities before and after their session, which include a changing room with showers and a good selection of toiletries, a sauna and steam room and relaxation area featuring loungers, tea, water and newspapers.
Therapy sessions take place in one of the 11 treatment rooms and include a consultation with the therapist before you begin. I opted for the Muscle Release treatment, which consisted of around 50 minutes of deep-tissue massage, delivered on an incredibly soft and comfortable massage table.
The male therapist was very attentive, checking that the pressure of the treatment was comfortable and working hard on my upper back – the troublesome area we’d identified before. At various points in the session, pillows would appear to support my legs, arms and head, depending on the area
of focus at that point.
Finally, the treatment ended and I left feeling as though I was floating, such was the effect of both the massage and the spa itself.
With incredibly friendly staff, a range of treatment options and separate facilities for men and women, The Spa is highly recommended as a cure for those uniquely Dubai stresses and strains.
Details: Dh450 (50 minutes), Dh645 (80 minutes), Dh860 (110 minutes)
Contact: Call 04 436 7424; or email firstname.lastname@example.org
THE MODERN MAN'S MASSAGE
Real Aromatherapy Massage, Meydan Beach Spa, The Walk, JBR
I chose the Real Aromatherapy Massage at Meydan Beach Spa not because of the essential oils (which I could take or leave), but because it focuses on back, scalp, neck, shoulders and – somewhat randomly – feet, all areas that tend to ache after a week at work. Actually, as it turns out, it’s more of a whole-body massage than you might assume, but at 90 minutes long, I wasn’t going to nitpick too much, figuring they’d get to the sore spots eventually.
The facilities are all brand new and designed especially for the spa – which means that the treatment rooms are a nice size with great bathrooms and special soothing lighting built into the wall.
The treatment begins with choosing what scent you want to use from the menu (being unimaginative I went with the first one on offer – White Tea), then you lie back and let the therapist get to work. I’d like to describe every aspect of the treatment in detail, but the truth is that I think I fell asleep for a large part of the first half – the perils of being a father of two! I remember the oils being applied, but the rest is a bit of a blur as I drifted in and out of daydreams (I may even have snored).
Eventually it was time to wake up and turn over and then it was time to get up. I can give no higher compliment than I honestly thought it was only halfway through my allotted time, even though my watch told me otherwise. A hot drink (to cleanse the insides) and a shower later and I felt like a totally new man.
The oils didn’t leave me sticky or overly aromatic and I didn’t feel like I’d been pummelled into submission.
While some spas have relaxation rooms where you can sit after your treatment and talk awkwardly to other guests or read a magazine, Meydan Beach doesn’t, which works for me as I prefer heading straight out rather than hanging around.
The best thing about having the longer massage is that you get time to unwind and think through things rather than anticipating the end. And it’s time that you don’t get in your everyday routine as work and home demands mean that you are too busy to make plans other than on the fly. So not only did I walk out of there feeling totally relaxed physically, but also mentally a whole lot calmer.
Details: Dh650 for 90 minutes or Dh475 for a 60-minute treatment
Contact: 04 333 777; email email@example.com; or visit www.meydanbeach.com
THE WHOLE DAD'S DEAL
The Father’s Day Package, Ahasees Spa and Club, Grand Hyatt Dubai
I was looking for a treatment that would totally relax me and make me forget the stresses and tensions of today’s modern-day life. There are treatments that simply relax you, and there are those that take you to another place altogether… And the Father’s Day Package from Ahasees Spa & Club at the Grand Hyatt Dubai certainly did the latter!
The staff at Ahasees go down to the most minor of details to make sure that the experience is the best. I could choose the type of music that was played in the background, I was asked about any allergies and I could even choose the kind of tea I liked after my treatment.
My experience began with a traditional Foot Ritual. Then it was time for The Golden Rich Massage, which is designed to release muscular tension using strong pressure and strokes from the therapist’s palms, elbows and forearms.
The therapist used oils containing sandalwood – to cool and rejuvenate – patchouli, which heals and softens the skin and frankincense to calm and sooth the senses. Sublime!
As if that wasn’t enough, they also massaged a gold-enriched balm, which my therapist explained had anti-ageing benefits, into my skin.
The massage started from the back and moved on to the shoulders, neck, legs and hands. I totally succumbed to the kneading and pummelling, which was firm but didn’t hurt.
Next came the facial, which was extremely relaxing after such a vigorous massage. The main purpose of the facial was to protect the skin against the harsh effects of daily wear and tear.
The facial started with a deep cleanse, which helps the skin get rid of impurities and takes out the dead skin cells. This was followed by an exfoliation to remove congestion and application of a toner, which calms the skin and helps it retain its moisture, making it look clean and radiant.
The facial ended with the application of a moisture mask, which was totally natural and made from fruits and flowers. This helps the skin have an improved texture and increases blood circulation.
I enjoyed both the treatments at Ahasees. While the massage ironed out all the knots in my back and shoulders, the facial totally relaxed me.
Post treatment my body felt more flexible and the soreness in my neck and shoulders seemed to have lessened. I felt more energised and the facial made my face seem clearer and toned.
Details: Dh699 (Fathers’ Day special – normally Dh900)
Contact: 04 317 2333; or email firstname.lastname@example.org
THE RELUCTANT PA'S PAMPERING
VitaMan Signature De-stress Facial, Balance Wellness Spa
I was told that Balance Wellness Spa’s VitaMan Signature De-Stress Facial treatment combines effective masculine products to cleanse and rejuvenate your skin with VitaMan’s unique male-specific massage techniques to de-stress the shoulder, neck and jaw areas.
The always-smiling therapist, Mithun Raj, assured me that it would make my skin glow. I took this hard sell cynically. But then he ushered me into the softly lit therapy room done up in warm brow hues, with relaxing oriental music setting the mood.
I refused the offer of some ginger tea; I just wanted to get this over with. I was then asked to relax on a stone recliner with a heated collar around my shoulders. I refused.
Then I was taken into the massage room and asked to sit with my feet planted in a bowl of warm water. “This is the way we used to welcome guests in ancient India,” the ever affable Mithun informed me. He massaged my feet for a few minutes and, sceptical though I was, I have to admit that I was beginning to relax.
Next I stretched out on the comfy bed and Mithun got to work, his mellow voice describing the various phases of the facial. “This is essentially a deep-cleansing and exfoliation treatment,” he said.
First it was steaming time, and Mithun applied the steamer to my face for a few minutes.
Pores unclogged, he spread cleansing milk, composed of rose essence, coconut milk, and argan (tree) oil. After removing it, my face was exfoliated with a scrub made of honey, red sand and rose extract.
“All from the Himalayas,” Mithun said. He used to work at a spa in the Himalayan foothills so he should know. Then came a massage with a cream of sage and pfaffia – essentially a Vitamin E concentrate – followed by a clay face mask.
Next it was skin-tightening time with a toner made of rosewater “from the Himalayas”, naturally. The treatment ended with a moisturising white lily cream.
I must confess I fell asleep at one point during the treatment. Talk about being relaxed! Mithun had to wake me up to show me the results: glowing skin and better than that, a totally relaxed mind.
After the treatment I was invited to relax on a heated stone recliner with a lovely ginger and honey tea. This time I accepted. They obviously don’t believe in rushing things at this spa. Highly recommended.
Details: Dh250 for 60 minutes
Contact: 04 384 7010; email email@example.com; or visit www.balance-wellness-centre.com