Three spas open in one week? Sounds like a job for Time Out
The treatment: Light Legs It’s hard not to be seduced by the Sanctuary Spa in the new Pullman Hotel. Majestic and grand, everything about the operation oozes class: located on the 24th floor with a skyline view, the spa is quiet and oh-so-relaxing. Service is warm and genuine, and it’s rare to find a rooftop spa as spacious as this. We try the ‘Light Legs’ treatment, which is every bit as rewarding as the description promises: our legs are pampered with oils, massaged thoroughly from toes to thighs and then towelled with a mint tonic, providing a fresh, tingly sensation. The pressure is firm without being uncomfortable, and at times we happily drift away. While the treatment lasts only 45 minutes, we feel as though we’ve had a leg transplant: we hop off the bed springy, light and energised, never imagining that a leg and foot massage could have such a dramatic effect on our whole body. The spa is complemented by a gorgeous infinity pool and a state-of-the-art gym. Add a relaxation area that looks more like a smart airport lounge and, all in all, we’re impressed. The 45-minute Light Legs treatment costs Dhs250. Other treatments include a wide range of massages and spa treats. Pullman Hotel, Al Barsha (04 337 2000).
Under the Sea
The treatment: Fish pedicure (yes, that’s the one where fish nibble your feet) This spa has one main focus – fish. Decorated in shades of ocean blue, you’ll feel as though you’re walking into an aquarium or a tropical fish shop, but don’t let this dissuade you. Two rows of surgical-style cubicles line the store, and inside are custom-made chairs with tanks of fish at the base; we’re asked to remove our trousers and are given a dressing gown. Hovering over the tank, we’re a little sceptical, with visions of piranhas gnawing our legs to the bone, but the attentive therapist puts our mind at ease. ‘Unlike some of the fish in Asia, these garra rufa don’t have teeth and will just softly nibble, taking off any rough skin, while also improving circulation,’ she explains. ‘These are the highest standard of fish and we change them for every customer. They won’t be used again for 24 hours.’ We slowly dip our feet into the tank of garra rufa and fish immediately swim over like bees to honey, getting to work nibbling tiny little chunks of flesh. While it’s ticklish at first, we soon get used to the therapeutic, rhythmic sensation. The fish are also thought to cure skin ailments, as their saliva includes an enzyme called dithranol (used in a lot of beauty products) – one treatment per week is recommended. Our soft feet are then treated to a full pedicure and leg mask treatment, although we’re surprised by the price of the treatment – this costs about Dhs250 more than a standard pedicure. Dhs350 for 25 minutes in the tank and a spa pedicure. Other treatments include waxing, chocolate manicures, henna and Thai massage. Jumeirah Beach Park Plaza (04 342 7766).
La Contour Spa
The treatment: La Grand Classique facial The spa is housed in an apartment, which gives guests the impression of ‘coming home’ – a home with plush sofas, a mini rock waterfall and enough incense that you can smell it out in the corridor. Skin therapist Diane starts by looking at our skin under ultraviolet light and then a huge magnifying glass, and within minutes she tells us about our eating and lifestyle habits with surprising accuracy. She’s quick with recommendations on how to fix specific issues. It’s like we’re in a skin clinic and, thankfully, in the hands of a seasoned expert. After meticulously getting rid of blackheads, our skin is exfoliated and then soothed with a calming spritz of emulsifying liquids – it’s as though beautifully scented sprinklers are at work on our face. The treatment continues with plant-based soft gel peels that are ideal for sensitive skin, more emulsion and then a purifying mask. There are a fair number of steps involved, and for each one, Diane uses her prior analysis to blend a concoction of different goos that work best for our skin. The facial ends with a relaxing face, décolletage and upper back massage. The only factor that puts a dampener on the experience is the thin walls of the treatment room – we can hear the conversations outside our room in annoying detail. Still, we walk away feeling like we got so much more than a great facial, thanks to Diane’s knowledge, attention to detail and handy tips. The 90-minute Le Grande Classique facial is Dhs350. Other treatments include Thalasso body therapies and tailored weight-loss treatments such as LPG. Apartment 1901, Tiffany Tower, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 447 3626).