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The venue: The newly opened Sensasia Stories spa is tucked away in the Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates and is a beautiful space that transports you away from the city but doesn’t put you too far from a shopping trip — it connects right to Mall of the Emirates. The spa has that magical quality where it seems like it would be really compact, but once you’re inside has as grand feel to it. It’s a cosy space, with atmospheric and modern grey interiors that feel warm and inviting. There are three male treatment rooms and three rooms for women, and despite it being a smaller facility, there’s enough space and luxuriousness to make it feel like a solid spa experience. The treatment rooms are all brand new, well equipped and carefully decorated. Nothing is too over the top or loud in appearance, which lends to a calmer ambience.

The treatment: The beauty of Sensasia Stories spa is that you can customise your massage experience to a very precise degree. I was given a sheet with many different options to pick from — this included the length of the treatment, various oils and fragrances, how much pressure the massage therapist should use, the type of massage, and add-ons such as targeted neck treatments and more. The treatment I customised included acupressure and regular massage techniques.

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What we liked: Those worried about COVID-19 can be assured that every part of the experience followed the correct guidelines. Your shoes are taken and put into a plastic bag right in the spa lobby, before you enter the facility. The therapist was thorough about washing and sanitising her hands multiple times, and all the surfaces in the rooms are cleaned frequently. I felt very safe and taken care of.

The massage itself was intense in the best way; the therapist’s expert hands kneaded away all the stress in my shoulders in no time and she often (but not too often) gently checked in with me to make sure I was feeling comfortable. I was surprised by how she knew exactly where I need a little extra care, especially in spots that were sore due to bad posture when sitting at the computer for hours. Another thing I appreciated was how smooth and seamless the process was from arriving to the time I left. Even though it’s a recently opened facility, they were spot on about every aspect.

Go for: A luxurious escape from the city, without leaving the city.

The details: Prices vary based on customisations.