Spa re­views

Get su­per silky skin and a flaw­less face this Di­wali with th­ese re­lax­ing and re­ju­ve­nat­ing spa sen­sa­tions

Friday - - Contents -

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.restau­­ 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.

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