Summer in the city got you down? Go pamper yourself
1 The Chedi Muscat: Plonked on the Gulf of Oman and just a short hop, skip and flight (45 minutes to be exact) from Dubai, this five-star sanctuary is just what the doctor ordered. While a stay at The Chedi doesn’t come cheap, you get what you pay for. After lounging around the pool all day on a padded double bed, head to The Chedi’s sumptuous spa for arguably the best Balinese massage in the Gulf. For a few days of total rest and recuperation, The Chedi comes up trumps every time. Al Khuwair, Muscat (+968 24 524 400; www.ghm.hotels.com). Rooms from Dhs1,899, with breakfast. 90 minute Balinese massage Dhs439.
2 Bab Al Shams: It’s hard to believe that Bab Al Shams is in Dubai. With rolling dunes and wandering camels, it feels decidedly and blissfully remote. If escaping Dubai’s clutches for a day hasn’t already chilled you out, the Satori Spa’s Desert Indulgence treatment will push you firmly (or lightly, if you prefer less energetic massages) into a blissed-out sense of calm. Three indulgent hours of the spa’s best treatments and the opportunity to lounge by the resort’s pool are enough to relieve even the most jangled nerves. Bab Al Shams (04 809 6100). Room rates vary, but start at around Dhs833. Desert Indulgence Dhs950.
3 Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa: Sometimes, a getaway really demands getting away. The Hilton Luxor Resort & Spa, situated directly on the banks of the Nile, is one of the most relaxing escapes we can imagine. Not only are the views breathtaking, but the spa is extraordinary. To really luxuriate, we recommend booking a special spa suite. These rooms come equipped with a private Jacuzzi and include a daily full-length spa treatment. New Karnak, Luxor (+20 95 239 999). Spa suites from Dhs1,300.
4 Khatt Springs Hotel and Spa: Nestled down the road from the steaming Khatt Springs, the Khatt Springs Hotel and Spa specialises in curative treatments. In addition to traditional mudpacks and massages, the spa also offers a few more mystical treatments, such as precious stone therapy. Al Jazeera Road, opposite RAK Ceramics (07 244 8777). Rooms from Dhs249. Precious stone therapy Dhs350.
5 Hilton Resort & Spa: This Ras Al Khaimah-based resort has two big draws: the kilometre-long stretch of private beach, and the spa. After a day spent waterskiing or windsurfing, check in for a Swedish massage or one of the signature Indian oil treatments. We especially like the sound of the ‘four-hand synchronous massage’, which involves two masseuses doing their thing for an entire hour. Ras Al Khaimah (07 228 8888). Rooms from Dhs700. Massages from Dhs300.
6 Six Senses Hideaway: Hideaway is right. This exclusive resort is tucked away in an area so remote that guests arrive via paraglider (no joke). Of course, you could also enter the hotel by boat or by 4x4 (which weaves through precarious mountain roads). Thankfully, luggage arrives separately by car. Accommodation takes the form of individual chalets fashioned out of the local stone, with wooden beams, barasti roofs and outdoor showers. Outside of paragliding and sun lounging, however, there isn’t much to do other than take up residence in the resort’s fantastic spa (the holistic massage is particularly good). Though pricey, Six Senses is probably one of the most relaxing holidays you can have so close to Dubai. Zighy Bay (+968 26 735 555). Rooms from Dhs3,900. Holistic massage Dhs427.50.
7 Imar Spa: Just 45 minutes’ drive from Dubai, Imar is no ordinary spa – it’s a luxury five-star venue boasting a beach, a top class gym, a café, and bedrooms as opulently Arabic as you could wish for. The treatment list is a mile long, but if you fancy something a little different try the utterly relaxing and invigorating aromaplasty facial. Umm Al Quwain (06 766 4440). Rooms from Dhs550. Aromaplasty facial Dhs300.