Vineetha Menon tries a Spice Of Life therapy in Dubai
The Taj name is synonymous with being one the finest five-star hotels in India, and their Jiva spas are known for their unique, blissful treatments. The Taj Palace Hotel Dubai spa, however, offers a different menu, tailored to clients from the region. There are a total six treatment rooms (three for women and three for men), but it’s still a relatively small space.
It’s said to add ‘spice to our lives’ with a warm spicy salt scrub to exfoliate and detoxify, and a body massage with spice oil to stimulate the senses and improve mental clarity and memory. I’m intrigued.
Step by step
They first ask if I’ve got very sensitive skin as the spice salts can be quite harsh, but I don’t, so we carry on. After draining my complimentary cup of ginger tea, I disrobe to step into their sauna, designed to look like a wooden shack complete with the crackle of hot coal. It’s charming, but before I get too comfortable, I move on to the steam room where I’m enveloped in a heady eucalyptus aroma and lots of heat. A quick shower later and I’m guided to my private treatment room. It’s romantic and inviting: the walls are a deep cherry red with candles and petals arranged all over the room.
The therapist starts off by applying the salt scrub, complete with the goodness of cardamom, cloves, myrrh and other ingredients that wouldn’t feel out of place in a curry. The texture is relaxing, and thankfully the therapist avoids scrubbing too hard. It’s then all rinsed off in a Jacuzzi bathtub that’s filled with lots of rose petals and bubbling water. Unfortunately, the water temperature was lower than expected – this, I’m told, is because sometimes the heat from the spices makes clients want to dip into cool water. Not me.
I pat dry and then hop on the table again, this time for a full hour’s massage with spice oil that’s meant to stimulate the senses and improve mental clarity. The therapist uses Balinese and Swedish massage techniques so there’s quite a bit of pulling, tugging and kneading. Problem areas such as my back and shoulders get that tough Swedish love, but I much prefer the languid Asian strokes on my legs and feet.
• The massage is good, with just the right amount of pressure. • Staff are friendly and eager to keep you comfortable. • Products used are some of the best, with absolutely no reaction noticed and quick absorption, even with the massage oil.
• The treatment rooms are a few degrees colder than desired. • The bath is in the open so it can be an awkward soak, but the lights are thankfully dimmed quite low. • Spa guests can use the sauna, steam room and shower facilities, but the pool is sadly off-limits. • The aroma of both the scrub and massage oil were subtle – I’m used to scents being a key factor in the overall spa experience.
After the session, my back felt free of knots and tension and I felt so relaxed I couldn’t stop yawning. By all means, go for the spice of life, and if it’s not as hot as you’d like, let them know. 4/5