A small but maze-like affair inside the great Raffles pyramid, the Raffles Spa is a haven of earthy tones, soft cotton and polished wood floors. The welcome is friendly and proactive, and not sneering as some more expensive spas can be.
Eve Lom’s signature cleanser has earned legendary status in the beauty arena – at one point Vogue declared its balm to be ‘probably the best cleanser in the world’. They’re setting the bar high – so by the time I’m lying on the heated treatment bed, I’m expecting something pretty darn special.
Step by step
Following a short consultation with my therapist, during which I shamefacedly admit to having not exfoliated for more than a month, I hop onto the bed and slink under a warm sheet. Once the bed has been adjusted by the touch of a few buttons (who knew there was a more comfortable position than simply lying flat?), the cleansing process starts using the famous balm. But it’s the next stage – the application of a paraffin wax mask – that I’m more intrigued by. Layer after layer of warm wax is applied (if you’ve ever dipped your finger in a recently blown-out candle, you’ll have some idea of how peculiar this feels) until my communication with the therapist becomes inhibited by the stiff, cool wax holding my face in place. The mask is slowly peeled off, opening my pores, then my therapist attacks blackheads before performing an acupressure massage on my face, chest and arms. After another mask, this time cool, which leaves the air heavy with the scent of eucalyptus and menthol, an ice-cold compress is applied to my face and chest to close the pores, followed by an eye cream and moisturiser designed for dry, thin skin.
Immediately afterwards my skin looks even and clear – the lack of scrub during the facial means there’s no blotchy redness. Several days later, the results are still visible and my skin feels more hydrated than it has in weeks.
• As there’s no scrub, this facial is suitable if you’re suffering from irritated skin or mild sunburn. • The paraffin wax mask is a great way to lift off a layer of dirt and dead skin without any discomfort. • Not only is it super cleansing, but the cream applied afterwards provides deep moisturising.
• The initial cleanser feels quite heavy on the skin, almost like having liquid fat applied to your face. • If you’re squeamish about having your fingers squeezed during massage, this might not be for you.
Elche This spa is best known for its superb facials, including Elche’s No.1 cleansing treatment – highly recommended. Dhs795 for 120 minutes. Jumeirah Beach Road (04 349 4942).
Spa Zen Looking for something anti-ageing? Give this spa’s Pearl Caviar facial a go for firming and lifting. Dhs1,200 for 90 minutes. Radisson Royal Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 308 0531).