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The venue: The Spa at the Palace Downtown in Dubai offers a serene, dimly-lit ambience and is partially inspired by North African remedies.

The treatment: One Desert Journey is a 105-minute treatment featuring a scrub followed by a massage.

What we liked: The fact that the pain pays off. Exfoliation is a sometimes feared, always necessary step towards smooth, clean, healthy skin.

To exfoliate is to rub a granular substance on your body — pretty harshly — and more or less scratch the dead skin cells off. It leaves your skin smooth for days, despite how temporarily uncomfortable it can be.

During the One Desert Journey treatment, you’ll soak your feet in rose-petal water and a creamy coconut concoction. A desert sand and salt scrub is then vigorously worked over your legs, arms, back and front. You’ll feel the telltale sting that it’s doing its job.

The Palace’s massage therapist, Ana, is well-equipped to put her clients at ease and is very communicative. If the exfoliation is too heavy, she’d be happy to oblige a gentler pressure. But if you want your skin to be buttery soft afterwards, it’s worth going full-throttle.

Besides, just on the other side of said exfoliation is a warm shower, and just on the other side of that is a soothing massage.

During said massage, a heated-up ‘oussada’ cushion with coriander and a ‘khemoussa’ pouch with Moroccan mint are used. Cushions and pouches may seem impersonal, but they actually add a textural bliss to the treatment. The cosy temperature alone may put you to sleep, and that’s a lot coming from someone who finds it difficult to turn their noisy brain off, no matter how soothing the atmosphere.

(We recommend savouring the welcome drink upon arrival, by the way — celery, cucumber, ginger and green apple deliciousness.)

What we didn’t like: Not much. The treatment is heavy on the pocket, but lasts for 105 minutes. It’s definitely immersive, and you will hopefully feel the effect of it for days.

Go for: Smooth skin and less stress. Make sure you stick around afterwards to enjoy a tea in the relaxation room, with a hot neck pillow for company.

The details: Dh998 for One Desert Journey treatment; located at The Spa at the Palace Downtown, Dubai; and call 04-4287805.