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There’s something about spas that can be intimidating — even stuffy. But Raffles Spa, located in Raffles Hotel near Wafi City, feels pleasantly nonthreatening. With its non-judgemental staff, wooden decor and cosy rooms, the space is comforting and discrete.

This summer, they’re offering two specials: the Raffles Indulgence package, which is a 60-minute massage or facial with afternoon tea (Dh399), and the Absolute Relaxation Massage, a 60-minute massage treatment (Dh459).

I decided to go in for the massage on its own, as I had hurt my neck just a few days prior due to terrible posture and sleeping habits. At the spa, I was welcomed with a choice of beverage and a small tour of the place, including the changing rooms, a Jacuzzi, steam rooms and a sauna, all of which I had the choice to use (I didn’t, but it was a nice thought).

I was also assigned a locker with a robe, slippers, disposable garments, a bottle of water, and space to leave both wet and dry clothing. After a quick change, I filled out a form disclosing any relevant medical history, and circled on a diagram the specific areas I wanted my technician to focus on.

In the past — at various spas and salons around Dubai — I’ve had trouble articulating my concerns to technicians, to the point where I’ve avoided it completely. It’s bizarrely hard for me to specify the amount of pressure that I can handle — not too strong, because I have virtually no threshold for pain, but not featherlight, either, because a massage should ultimately feel like a massage.

Thankfully, despite my tendency to both ramble and underexplain myself, my technician was understanding and easy to talk to, and I was able to clarify all my worries before we began. She checked in with me a few times during the treatment, and the temperature, lighting and music (yay, nature sounds) were left up to my discretion.

After the massage, I was advised to keep the oil on for at least another hour, because my neck and shoulders were particularly stiff. Go figure. The aromatic oils felt light and non-greasy, though, so I ended up keeping them on all day.

I didn’t go for the Fashion Afternoon Tea afterwards (the idea of tiny sandwiches didn’t gel well with my recent decision to consume less sugars), but I was told that they could cater to different dietary needs, so it may be worth a look if you’re willing and able to indulge in a full day at the spa.

What we liked: The staff were friendly and the spa wasn’t too intimidating.

What we didn’t like: It’s a matter of preference, but hour-long massages feel like they end too quickly.

Go for: A relaxing day off.

Details: Dh399 for Raffles Indulgence (massage or facial plus afternoon tea), Dh459 for Absolute Relaxation Massage (60-minute massage). Until August 31, Raffles Spa is offering one complementary treatment with every full-priced treatment purchased. This summer offer is available Sundays to Thursdays, between 10am and 3pm.