Not even migraine can put a damper to a great massage experience at Cristal Spa at the recently opened Cristal Salam Hotel in Abu Dhabi.

I was about to cancel my 9pm appointment at the spa when the massage therapist coaxed me into changing my mind. "I'm having a serious bout of migraine," I explained. "All the more reason to go for it, " she said.

So with a throbbing head, I made my way to the "spa sanctuary in the heart of the city." Not a bad choice, I would soon find out. A smiling therapist greeted me at the counter, explaining the choices of an aromatheraphy massage, a Balinese massage, and a Thai massage. The therapist recommended the aromatheraphy massage.

I was led to the massage centre, tucked away in the hotel's 9th floor. Each massage room features uncluttered interior design, with relaxing hues of beige, and a built-in shower room for added comfort. The setting automatically put me into relax mode.

After my senses have absorbed the surroundings, I quickly settled into the massage bed. Shortly later, the therapist made a quiet knock on the door before entering the room. I instantly knew I was in expert hands.

The massage was soothing. I could feel my stress falling away at each stroke. The pressure was just right and the therapist knew exactly when, where and how to massage the pressure points. The massage was also fluid, smoothly transitioning from one area to the next. The therapist made sure her hands never broke contact with my skin. Shifting positions, she was never loud and was always unintrusive, which I found all the more relaxing. 

The essential oils used were also pleasing to the senses, and did not leave me feeling icky when the massage was over.

I'd have to say it's not often that a massage impresses me, but this one was a crystal clear winner.

Fact file

Aromatheraphy massage: Dh290
Cristal Spa
Cristal Salam Hotel
8th Street, Tourist Club Area, Abu Dhabi
Tel: 02 659 7666