There’s no getting away from the fact that Armani/SPA is a little gloomier than the average beauty venue. I understand the chic/designer/minimalist intention, and appreciate that it’s in keeping with the rest of the hotel, but it only serves to make the spa feel a little cold. On the upside, a warm reception from the staff makes the atmosphere more welcoming.
I’m trying a 60-minute relaxing neck, back and shoulder massage, followed by a 30-minute signature facial treatment, both from the Mu collection: according to the spa brochure, these are designed to ‘create moments of stillness, peace and relaxation’. The massage uses bois de rose oil with jasmine to calm and relax, while the face treatment will apparently soothe my emotions and hydrate any dry skin.
Step by step
After a speedy consultation to confirm any allergies and preferences (during which I enjoy a refreshing ginger and lemongrass juice), I’m walked through to the private changing area connected to my treatment room. Once ready, it’s face down on the table for a relaxing back, neck and shoulder massage. My therapist is clearly a practised hand at this, and within minutes the long, deep strokes have sent me into a near trance. It’s over too soon for my weary body, but once I turn over for my face treatment using Crema Nera products, it’s hard to continue feeling disappointed. It’s the first time I’ve had smoothed volcanic stones used to stimulate the lymph nodes, and the experience is surprisingly soothing. Mercifully, this isn’t an epic, OTT facial, and instead of the excessive application and removal of innumerable creams and exfoliants, there are only three or four applied, and my skin feels rejuvenated instead of stripped.
Existing tension in my shoulders has been dramatically reduced by the 30-minute massage, and my skin is noticeably clearer after a few days.
• It claims to relax, and this treatment stays true to its word – one of the best we’ve experienced. • My skin feels moisturised for days, not hours, after the facial.
• In terms of design, some of the treatment rooms feel a little like bunkers. • How the showers work is an absolute mystery, even to the most competent of souls.
Retreat Spa is currently offering a phytomer facial with a massage of your choice. Dhs500 for 90 minutes. Grosvenor House, Dubai Marina (04 399 8888)
SensAsia Express is offering a free 30-minute complexion analysis when you book any facial at its Mall of the Emirates branch. Facials from Dhs165. Mall of the Emirates (04 345 9228).
Eternal MedSpa has just introduced an add-on facelift massage, designed to tighten lax skin and enhance the skin’s ability to absorb moisturisers. Dhs250. Jumeirah Beach Road (04 344 0008).