Get super silky skin and a flawless face this Diwali with these relaxing and rejuvenating spa sensations
Take your pick from our tried and tested pampering treats and indulge in some me-time.
The delicious de-stresser
After several months of a hectic work schedule I was in desperate need of some me-time to rejuvenate myself, so I signed up for some serious pampering at De La Mer Day Spa. Located in the upmarket Jumeirah area, De La Mer has a beautiful landscaped garden, a pool, jacuzzi and sauna, and an impressive spa menu offering everything from manicures to massages.
After a consultation with my therapist, I settled for a soothing honey and sesame seed body scrub and destressing deep-tissue massage. I was whisked up a flight of stairs to the treatment room – with time to take in the tastefully decorated surroundings along the way – where I was welcomed by aromatic smells and soft soothing music, which set the tone for the pampering session to come.
All products used at De La Mer are organic, my therapist told me, and my treatment began with a scrub made from black and white sesame seeds, pure honey, clove powder, rice and warm milk. Light and non-oily, the scrub smelt spicy and good enough to eat – which, considering its natural ingredients, wasn’t surprising!
After 30 minutes of skin sloughing, I showered the scrub off, and my skin felt so smooth, it had clearly soaked up all of the softening and toning ingredients.
But the best was yet to come. For the next hour I lay down, enjoying the deep-tissue massage that I was told is especially helpful for people like me who are constantly pressed for time and stressed out. The ingredients used were Elemis instant refreshing gel and Musclease active body oil, which were rubbed into my body to soothe and relieve muscle tension. My therapist told me that my back muscles were particularly tense, probably due to stress and hunching over my computer. It also turns out wearing high heels every day had taken its toll on my feet. But in the expert hands of my therapist, knots in my back, shoulders, feet and all over my body were gently but firmly kneaded away.
When the hour-long session of bliss eventually ended, I unwound further in the relaxation room, where I was given a detoxifying ginger tea, which burst with spicy flavour.
After a relaxing two hours spent at the De La Mer Day Spa, I left feeling great in every way – a lot more relaxed and rejuvenated, with silky soft, vibrant skin. And the effectiveness of that solesaving massage meant that, two weeks later, I was still walking with a spring in my step. Details: Honey and Black Sesame Scrub and massage at De La Mer Day Spa, Jumeirah Beach Road. Dh550 for 90 minutes, call 04 328 2775.
The dry-skin drencher
Living in the desert, we all need to make a special effort to keep our skin hydrated, and I opted for the Intense Nourishment Treatment at the Westin Mina Seyahi’s Heavenly Spa to help me regain skin suppleness and softness.
Nestled along the Arabian Sea, The Westin offers sprawling views of the sea and creates the perfect calming environment for pampering. An elevator ride to the second floor took me to The Heavenly Spa’s sleek reception area.
Since I was 30 minutes early I kicked off my visit with a sauna session, which is good for detoxifying the body and relaxing the mind. After eight minutes in the hot room I began to sweat, but persevered, having been told that the heat increases blood flow to the skin, supplying essential nutrients to the tissues and improving its quality. After a further 10 minutes, having decided all the pollutants beneath my skin had been released, I showered and relaxed in the jacuzzi until my therapist came to fetch me.
She escorted me to the treatment room, where the pampering began with a warm foot bath, followed by a foot and hand exfoliation with an enriching body scrub. With the dead skin cells removed, an intensive skin treatment oil was applied to my cuticles and to the dry skin on my hands and feet. Next, I climbed up on the treatment bed for a full-body exfoliation using the enriching body scrub again, which I was told is packed with antioxidants and helps to reduce cellulite. When I rinsed off the granules in the shower, my skin felt soft.
Back on the table, my therapist slathered Aromatherapy Associates’ Enrich Body Serum, Enrich Body Oil and an aromatherapy mud all over my skin, and then put on the wrap. As it held me in a tight hug, my skin soaked up nourishment from the vanilla, shea butter and coconut oil, while the ylang ylang and jasmine relaxed me and made me feel uplifted. At the same time I enjoyed a soothing scalp massage. The rhythmic motions of my therapist’s kneading hands, the subtle scent of coconut oil and patchouli, and the soft flicker of candlelight lulled me into a serene state of mind. Then the Aromatherapy Base Mud was removed from my hands and feet, and the body wrap came off. My treatment ended with effleurage (light skimming) massage strokes. Total bliss.
At the end my skin felt smooth, supple and wholly revitilised.
Details: Intense Nourishment Treatment, Heavenly Spa, The Westin Dubai Mina Seyahi Beach Resort & Marina. Dh595 for 90 minutes. Call 04 5117 901.
The head-and shoulders rejuvenator
After spending a busy week at work, I decided some pampering was in order and booked an appointment at Safar Spa in the global-exploration-themed MÖvenpick Ibn Battuta Gate Hotel.
When I asked the concierge where Safar Spa was located, he told me it was in Zanzibar. A lump rose on my throat. As I opened my mouth to give him a piece of my mind, the penny dropped. I thanked him and made my way to the wing dedicated to Zanzibar, passing through floors named after other places that the great 14th-century explorer Ibn Batutta visited during his travels.
After a short consultation, I was on the massage table in a dimly lit treatment room filled with refreshing melodic music.
My therapist wasted no time – she slicked her palms with essential oils and got to work on my back, focusing on my lumbar region.
She worked on a group of muscles and pressure points, locating the knots with her fingers and dislodging them.
Then she moved on to the problem area – my shoulders, which felt as heavy as if I were carrying the weight of the whole world on them. My therapist rubbed, stroked and pressed on the
The sand and tea exfoliator
The Ahasees spa at the Grand Hyatt was a calm oasis when I walked in. After a short consultation my therapist took me to the treatment room, which was dimly lit. The fragrant, soothing aroma of the spices filled the room, it felt almost like walking into a pantry.
The treatment began with a foot ritual. My feet were soaked in cool water. After towel-drying, essential oils were gently massaged on to them. This was followed by a Dubai Sand and Tea Polish. Containing black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger and honey, the scrub exfoliates and removes dirt and dead skin cells. In addition, using a product that contains the antioxidant-rich tea in combination with exfoliating agents allows ingredients to penetrate the skin. I enjoyed the tingling sensation of the scrub as my therapist applied just the right amount of pressure. After 30 minutes, I was told to shower, but I didn’t want to because the scent of the products was so appealing. I only agreed when my therapist told me that there was more in store.
Next up, I moved on to the massage table for the Ahasees Signature AntiOxidant Tea Massage, which began with a dry-brushing ritual to stimulate the lymphatic system, enhance oxygen circulation and slough away dry skin.
While drinking tea can disrupt sleep patterns, I learnt that topical application doesn’t. In fact the hydrating black tea balm detoxifies and soothes the skin. It also acts as a natural anti-oxidant to reverse the damage caused by free radicals.
My therapist used long strokes, palm pressure and kneading to eliminate toxins and reduce retention. My skin felt soft and supple and gone was the knee pain that had recently been bothering me.
I felt relaxed but found myself having to deal with another problem – hunger pangs triggered by the spicy aroma that wafted through the air throughout the pampering. I reclined on the lounger in the relaxation area, then my stomach began grumbling.
I ditched the fluffy robe and made a beeline for Iz Indian restaurant (www.restaurants.dubai.hyatt.com) to fuel up on naan and chicken biryani for a very tasty end to a soothing spicefilled experience that left all my senses satisfied. Details: Ahasees Dubai Sand and Tea Signature Package, Ahasees spa, Grand Hyatt Dubai. Dh650 for 90 minutes. Call 04 317 2335.
The organic facial pick-me-up
In Dubai we’re spoilt by a spectrum of spas. There are the sparkling-butstuffy ones, where you feel your mere presence might contaminate the surroundings; there are the slightly rough-around-the edges ones, where you feel exactly the opposite; and there are those rare gems where the right mixture of ambience, friendliness and expertise means you know you’re going to become a regular. Elche Natural Beauty Salon is one of the latter.
Tucked in a quiet road in Jumeirah, Elche is based in a pretty villa fronted by a shady garden. The family-run spa prides itself on using wholly organic ingredients from its own Hungarianborn Elche range, and it’s clear from even the briefest of interactions that all members of staff know a lot about the various healing properties of the brand’s natural botanicals.
On my visit, I was greeted by a heady waft of fresh, fruity fragrances as I took in the tranquil surroundings: all natural wood, rattan and textured rugs, for a whimsical moment I could have sworn I was gliding into a peaceful forest glade.
It was another story in the treatment room, however, where a comfortable but clinical bed and some seriously high-tech-looking machines reiterated the fact that Elche’s beauty therapists really have to know their stuff.
After a cleanse and skin analysis, my therapist recommended the Elche No 1 Deep Cleansing facial. In classic spa style, the lights were then dimmed and music tinkled in the background, but unlike any facial I’ve had before, the therapist explained at every step what she was doing and why it would help – an added layer that assured me I was in expert hands (a good thing when those high-tech machines came into play!), and meant that I got a lot more out of the experience than usual.
Beginning with a peeling fruit pulp treatment to remove dead skin cells, next up was a hot paprika mask to boost blood circulation and detoxify. I was warned it might sting and, sure enough, by the time the 20 minutes was up my face was burning with the sort of painless-but-tingling heat that I haven’t felt since I used to blush profusely as a school girl, and I was very glad to be cooled down and calmed by the soothing rose hip toner. A massage with a softening thermal moisturiser came next, followed by my first run-in with the room’s hightech equipment – an electronic wand attached to a bulky bit of tech called the ‘softening machine’ – to open the pores.
Pores duly opened, next came the (gentle) hand extraction, followed by a swipe of antibacterial toner and another gadgety step using a ‘high frequency machine’ to sterilize and close the pores, which were then further tightened with a cool sour cherry gel mask. This was followed by yet another gadget – the ‘deep hydrating machine’ – and another soothing mask to nourish and refresh.
When it was all over, a glance in the mirror showed a brighter-eyed, tighterskinned and far more perky-looking me than usual. And, after such a relaxing experience, I felt it too. Details: Elche No.1 Deep Cleansing Facial at Elche Salon, Jumeirah. Dh850 for two hours. Call 04 349 4942/5952.