Arabic Coffee Awakener
There’s no stimulant that works as well as the coffee bean. The Arabic Coffee Reviver Massage, I was told, is just what my skin and body required to give it that much-needed caffeine boost, as coffee grounds are natural exfoliators and help reduce cellulite.
In line with its sister spa at the JW Marriott Marquis, the Saray Spa at Marriott Al Jaddaf is opulent and luxurious, but with a subtler vibe. Once I changed into my robe, my therapist Leonor recommended I start with a 10-minute steam in the sauna to open up pores for exfoliation.
The treatment room had a relaxed ambience with candlelight and the wafting scent of lavender. The Black Arabic Coffee and Dead Sea Salts exfoliation coarse mix with its distinctive aroma enlivened me during a 20-minute scrub from top to toe, which Leonor said induces a burnished glow.
Next came a Dead Sea Mud and Black Arabic Coffee full body mask. I was wrapped up in clayey, moisturising comfort and while lying back to allow it to set for the next 25 minutes, I felt myself drift off into a blissful snooze.
I woke up to the therapist’s soothing tones asking me to gently get up and shower away the mask. Once squeaky clean and refreshed, I settled down for a 45-minute heavenly scalp and body massage that left me in a surreal state of feeling relaxed, but recharged and ready for anything.
Trust me, ditch your morning coffee and save your money to spend on this wonder treatment instead.
Saray Spa Marriott Hotel, Al Jaddaf
Duration 90 minutes
Call 04 317 7777 or email email@example.com
Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial
Trooping into the serene, understated luxury of the Balinese Mandara Spa on the third floor of the H Hotel, I felt a little sceptical. The Elemis Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift Facial came with a big claim (albeit a clinically proven one). I read it reduces wrinkles by up to 94 per cent and improves skin firmness by up to 57 per cent in one treatment. Yes, one! And it doesn’t involve needles or knives. I was willing to call its bluff.
However, once I was relaxing on a leather recliner in the softly lit treatment room, my questioning mind switched off, just like that.
My therapist Ari began with a gentle but firm hand massage on my neck, temples and cheeks. This treatment uses Elemis Pro-Collagen products bursting with the rejuvenating marine wonders of brown algae (Padina Pavonica) and the electrical energy of quartz minerals and red coral that both rejuvenate and hydrate thirsty skin and are all designed to wipe out crow’s feet, lines and years of sun damage.
Massage over, and it felt like the clock had turned back 10 years. Even friends and family commented on my mermaid-like marine radiance, and I could comfortably go without make-up for a few days afterwards and still looked radiant and flawless!
Combining the best of scientific research and age-old Balinese massage techniques, this is one of the best facials I’ve ever had. Factor it in for times when you want to add a bit of wow factor to your life.
Mandara Spa H Hotel Dubai
Duration 90 minutes
Call 04 501 8270 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Pure Lift Facial/Diamond Multi-sensorial Facial
When the words “facial, Ritz-Carlton and diamonds,” are uttered in the same sentence, you can expect to feel a burst of excitement, right?
And it’s all sparkles at The Ritz-Carlton’s spa with the Diamond Multi-sensorial Facial that will cure your skin’s ailments with a dose of diamond dust.
My smiley therapist Imso soon appeared and led me to the treatment room. I sat sipping a cool glass of cranberry juice, cocooned in a soft white gown while Imso scrutinised my skin to identify problem areas and asked all about my usual skincare routine.
My wash-and-go approach raised an eyebrow. She then explained she’d be using Natura Bisse’s Diamond Collection (the Spanish skincare range adored by both Oprah and the Friday team), made up of a medley of active ingredients, such as Artemia salina (a plankton extract) and developed to infuse my skin with energy, to regenerate and protect against cellular ageing.
I was told I could expect a needle-free cosmetic lift to my face – adios baggy eyes, slack jawline and furrowed forehead, hello plumper skin with improved elasticity. Perfect.
Imso then gave my face a thorough cleanse and followed this with a relaxing myofacial and aroma massage using shiatsu (meaning ‘finger pressure’ in Japanese) techniques.
To create a lifting effect and penetrate the deepest layers of the skin to repair damaged DNA, an intensely cold cryo-lifting mask was applied. It tingled, but Imso assured me this meant the tightening properties were working hard to hone facial contours and help freeze the ageing process.
Afterwards my skin felt and gleamed like a diamond in the sky!
The Ritz-Carlton Spa The Ritz-Carlton DIFC
Duration 90 minutes
Call 04 372 2777 or email email@example.com
Tucked away in the hectic Business Bay area, The Oberoi Hotel is a haven of luxury and tranquillity. The Oberoi Spa more so – with its serene Ayurveda-inspired interiors and wide range of treatments, it is currently the only 24-hour spa in the UAE and offers treatments in five categories that include Revitalising body therapies and the Face and Touch therapies.
I opted for the spa’s signature Balinese massage for optimum relaxation from the Touch category, and escorting me to the snug treatment room, my therapist Ina allowed me to choose from three aromatherapy oils, wafting each under my nose. I plumped for the relaxing lavender oil.
Ina explained the massage involved acupressure, a typical ancient Balinese massage technique. Every knot in my body vanished thanks to Ina’s firm hand (ask for added pressure and you get it!) and her skills in reflexology and skin-rolling procedures also stimulated the flow of qi energy to recharge and rejuvenate. I found myself rejoicing that I had two arms and legs for her to work on!
As the treatment focuses solely on the healing aspects of massage without any body masks or scrubs, it is a perfectly intense remedy to send tension running for the hills.
My post-massage pot of ginger tea dolloped with honey slowly soothed me into getting myself vertical again!
The Oberoi Spa The Oberoi Dubai
Price Dh400 for 1 hour and Dh700 for 90 minutes
Call 04 444 1410 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Stress away Ayurvedic treatment
Like any well-heeled spa connoisseur I will confirm nothing beats a traditional Ayurvedic treatment for rebooting wellness levels. Experts at The Softouch Spa, Kempinski Hotel, adjoining Mall of the Emirates, specialise in the ancient practice of Ayurveda, which is native to the Indian subcontinent and a form of alternative medicine.
First I had a consultation with Ayurvedic doctor Dr Shylaja Pillai, who helped determine my dosha (body constitution), which she declared was a combination of Kapha and Pitta (earth and fire) – prone to stress. Correct!
Dr Pillai recommended the Stress Away Signature Treatment that involves three procedures – Abyangam, Elakkizhi and Shirodhara – performed over 30-minute segments.
In a softly lit room, with instrumental Bollywood music as my pampering soundtrack, Deepa, my therapist, began the treatment with Abyangam, a traditional full-body massage with long strokes across all the muscles using Karpooradi (camphor) oil.
In the second procedure, Elakkizhi, Deepa used pouches filled with a mixture of powdered herbs, rock salt and lemon dipped in herbal oil to massage my body and improve circulation. In the last one, Shirodhara, a warm, consistent flow of Ksheera bala herbal oil was poured on my forehead, specifically on the ‘third eye’, which left me truly calm and rejuvenated from top to toe.
Softouch Spa Kempinski Hotel, Mall of the Emirates
Duration 90 minutes
Call 04 409 5909 or visit www.softouchspa.com
The Cure Facial
Let’s face it (sorry), at Friday we’ll try any amount of facial scrubbing, buffing and exfoliating in the quest to eradicate much-loathed blackheads, saggy jowls and crow’s feet. Exactly why I signed up for a deep-cleansing facial reassuringly named The Cure by Natura Bisse. Who is offering this cure, you ask? The Spa at the Address Marina, which is one of my favourite spas in Dubai, for its opulence, urban-cool vibe, expert staff and exemplary amenities (the lavish changing rooms are lovely enough to stay in all day!).
After the ritual welcome wheat grass drink (which I loved!) the cheerful therapist, Amy, guided me to a cosy treatment room, and once I was comfortably lying down she started with a deep cleanser and enzyme-fuelled foamy mask to prep my skin for an extraction.
I have a love-hate affair with extractions. I tried to switch off as my therapist began manually attacking blackheads, swooping and gouging like a bird of prey. It was a little unpleasant, but desperate beauty needs call for thorough hands, and it was over quickly enough.
The glycol-peeling exfoliation then squeezed out more grime and dirt from my pores while moisturising and soothing my skin, which not only looked clean but felt freed of sand, grime and general city residue. And unlike run-of-the-mill procedures that leave pores open and sore, my face looked smooth and flawless, albeit a little tender to the touch.
The Spa The Address Downtown Marina
Duration 75 minutes
Call 04 436 7424 or email email@example.com
Hawaiian Lomi Lomi Massage
Stepping into the lavish Rixos spa, I was immediately transported to the regal Ottoman empire of yore, with the plush gilded chairs, lanterns, drapes made from luxurious fabrics and marble floors completing the illusion.
This Summer Delight package offers a 60-minute hot stone massage or a Lomi Lomi massage, accompanied by a 30-minute rejuvenating facial. I picked the Lomi Lomi massage – secretly hoping the therapeutic treatment would instantly give me the wellness of a Hawaiian holiday.
Using warm lavender oil mixed with grapeseed oil, I was then given an intensive back, neck and shoulder massage – bliss!
The pleasant aroma and the therapist’s firm strokes lulled me into a semi-conscious state of relaxation. I woke up just in time for the facial using Thalgo products, containing algae to hydrate, soften and restore my skin’s natural elasticity. My therapist, Made, then used light steam to unplug clogged pores, followed by a five-minute scrub and hot cloth cleanse. A refreshing toner was applied with a gentle facial massage, followed by a hydrating mask and then a neck and shoulder massage.
The treat was topped off with a coat of hydrating and illuminating moisturiser. Value. For. Money.
The Rixos Royal Spa at Rixos, The Palm Dubai
Price Dh490 (offer valid until September)
Duration 90 minutes
Call 04 457 5415 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Lava Hot Shell Massage
I always thought a hot stone massage was the go-to treatment to fix stress-related aches and painful desk-induced knots. But hello, said a friend of mine, stones are like the ombré of the hair world, or to you and me – old news.
Now I’m told it’s all about hot lava shell massages – the new spa fad in town that’s out to replace its stony cousin. And so as an intrepid spa maven I headed to Kalm Holistic Beauty, Palm Jumeirah’s favourite beauty salon (with a spa concept) to see what the fuss was about. I’d ignored the lava part, only weighing up the wisdom of my decision once therapist Jenny had me lying down on the treatment bed. How badly scorched was I going to get?
Jenny started off by placing pebble-smooth tiger clam shells – imported all the way from the Philippines – on my back. I waited for a searing sensation to hit me but felt only a relaxing warmth that soaked into my skin as the therapist kneaded away the knots and every ounce of stress from my body.
The shells, she informed me, are filled with small heated sachets of minerals, sea kelp and algae mixed with salt water and essential oils. It reacts with the shells’ calcium carbonate to release a natural heat along with ions that tighten and firm up your skin.
An hour later, sore legs, shoulders and deep muscle twinges were a thing of the past.
I left feeling rejuvenated, loose-limbed and really noticed the smoothness of my skin – firm, soft and warm – as if I’d just returned from a relaxing day at the beach.
Kalm Holistic Beauty Riva Beach Club, Palm Island Jumeirah
Price Dh280 full body
Duration 60 minutes Call 04 451 9988 or visit www.kalmbeauty.com
Milk and Honey Immersion
Milk and honey? This has to be the scrummiest spa treatment in town. It took me to the Saray Spa and Health Club at JW Marriott Marquis for the first time and oh, what a place! Tucked behind carved ornate doors, this is a haven of Arabic and Oriental opulence and channels the traditional caravanserais (roadside inns) along the silk route.
I felt like a princess about to step into a tub full of milk à la Cleopatra. Entering the elegant candle-lit therapy room, the absence of a milk-filled bathtub might curdle spirits, but the gorgeous treatment room was wonderfully calming.
Beginning with a full body scrub of oatmeal and black seed oil, my skin was buffed to a polished glow.
Therapist Marciel then poured a warm concoction of milk, honey and rose oil over my body, deftly massaging the nourishing mixture into my skin.
The acupressure and the mouth-watering maple-syrupy fragrance calm and soothe so well, don’t be surprised if you fall into a deep sleep as the natural anti-ageing and firming enzymes of the milk and honey work their magic. After showering, the treatment got even better, with hot stones dipped in rose oil placed at pressure points across my back. The deep, relaxing massage this was followed by was heavenly and I could feel the stress and toxins dissolve from my body with every stroke.
Like all good things, this 105-minute, 5,000-year-old treatment eventually drew to an end, but not before it made me feel just like the royals of ancient times. Bliss.
The Saray Spa JW Marriott Marquis
Duration 105 minutes
Call 04 414 6754 or email email@example.com
Rodial Venom Freeze Facial
Chrysalis Spa at Damac Maison hotel is our coveted find. All gold, black and white and glitzy – it’s on-trend opulence at its best.
The spa treatments are in line with this modern vibe with eclectic offerings. My interest piqued, I threw caution to the wind by booking the latest must-try – a Rodial Venom Freeze facial.
Using Rodial products, (the skincare brand with a faithful all-star following – Angelina Jolie and Beyoncé included) the facial takes the Chinese Proverb ‘fight poison with poison’ literally by fighting toxins in the skin that accelerate ageing with, yes, snake venom.
The products from the Glamoxy snake collection contain synthetic ingredients inspired by the temple-viper snake’s venom, my therapist Adyta explained. With a face inhalation, rigorous cleansing, toning and exfoliation, Adyta expertly ironed out my crinkles, gently massaging as she went.
The snake venom serum and mask that came next didn’t sting, only leaving a slightly cold sensation across my face – a small price for newly fresh, plump skin that defied my numerical age. Now where’s my ID?
Chrysalis Spa Damac Maison, near The Dubai Mall
Duration 60 minutes
Call 04 270 0777 or email firstname.lastname@example.org