There’s a spot on my back, created by hours and hours of hunching while staring at a computer, that now feels like a golf ball has been surgically implanted into it. So going off to get a massage at Iridium Spa, The St Regis Dubai, Al Habtoor Polo Resort & Club, seemed almost medicinal.
Little did I realise how far from the city proper the resort lies. After a bumbling route, I ended up in a sprawling space with a golf course and stables for majestic mares and stallions. The lush green, against a backdrop of what looks like an ocean of sand, is an inviting getaway.
Stephanie, my massage therapist, was all smiles and ushered me into a room with a view of the greens — this is a couple’s treatment room — and then off we went for a tiny tour of the facilities (a sauna room, a shower area that adjusts water pressure according to sound) before showing me to the changing area with lockers. Once I had divested myself of my belongings and was appropriately kitted out in a robe and fuzzy slippers, we padded down to the room she had prepared for me. I picked the spa’s speciality treatment: The Equestrian Journey.
Here, in a bowl of lavender-scented warm water, my feet were soaked before I was made to smell a variety of oils. The blend used on a client is ‘bespoke’. Your nose determines the scent you want. Mine was a cocktail of lavender and patchouli oil.
Next I was shown to the pre-heated bed and covered in a cosy duvet. Thus lulled half to sleep I was in for a rude awakening: A full body brushing. It may be good for exfoliation, but the stiff bristles of the implement are not conducive to relaxation.
After this spot of darkness, however, Stephanie took to kneading my tired knots into submission with techniques that ranged from Swedish to Thai, to the spa’s signature techniques; dubbed walk, trot, canter and gallop, the therapist’s fingers mimic the movement of horses. The ball of pain was dismissed, slowly, over the next 60 minutes, leaving my stiff body a little more limber and the neck a tad straighter. The tea and nibbles in the lounge area post the massage only added to the feeling of luxury.
All in all, it’s just what the doctor ordered
What we didn’t like: The exfoliation is an acquired taste.
Go for: A treat for your muscles. Stay for the horses.
The details: The 90-minute Equestrian Journey costs Dh890.