Can an hour and a half in the spa really help to firm up those jiggly bits? If you want to minimise the wobble before hitting the beach, we’ve tried three of the most promising-sounding treatments in town.
Anti-cellulite treatment at The Address
The claim: This treatment promises to banish cellulite (‘hydrating and smoothing the skin’) and plenty of other stuff, including ‘improving your metabolism and energy levels’.

The experience: After five minutes in the steam and sauna rooms, the treatment begins with body brushing to wake up my skin. Next comes a deep-tissue detox massage targeting stubborn areas of cellulite, which luckily isn’t deep enough to be painful. I’m then wrapped in freshwater mud to tone the skin – thankfully I don’t feel chilly – while I’m given a foot reflex pressure massage to encourage toxin release. Then we get to the slapping. All over my thighs. It hurts so much I have to clench my teeth not to shout. I’ll admit, I feel silly. But it only lasts a few (long!) minutes, before it’s back to massaging.

The results: I smell of, among other scents, pink grapefruit, sweet orange and green rosemary – the aroma lifts my mood and energy levels and I feel perky, yet sleepy (it’s 9.30pm). I’m expecting bruises, but don’t find any. While it’s difficult to tell if this one-off made a difference, the treatment is so thorough that regular visits probably would (they recommend ten). Becky Lucas
Dhs450 for 50 minutes. The Spa, The Address Dubai Marina (04 436 7424).

Body sculpting therapy at SensAsia
The claim: Apparently this will increase circulation and clear out any toxins, as well as help firm problem areas and break down fat cells and cellulite. It also promises to aid a sluggish digestive system.

The experience: After a thorough consultation with the therapist, we decide to focus the treatment on my upper thighs. She uses a bristly cactus brush over my entire body to increase circulation, then begins kneading away on my legs with firm pressure. This increases into hard repetitive smacking over the same area (the only painful part of the treatment) – before the numbness sets in you may find yourself tensing and grinding your teeth. Once that’s over, the therapist then applies a fennel and birch peel-off mask to my thighs and wraps me in a plastic sheet and towel to soak up any fluid retention and toxins. While this mask works its magic, the therapist moves up to my stomach and asks me to take deep breaths while she applies reflexology to pressure points (apparently to awaken the digestive system). A pleasant scalp massage ends the treatment, before the therapist removes the mask.

The results: Immediately after the treatment I feel very relaxed, but it’s not until the next day that I notice my thighs are noticeably smoother and firmer. Jenny Hewett
Dhs540 for 75 minutes (eight sessions recommended for results). SensAsia Spa, Emirates Golf Club (04 417 9820).

Get Skinny treatment at Talise Spa
The claim: The whole process is designed to stimulate circulation, encourage the removal of toxins that cause cellulite and leave your skin feeling ‘toned and lustrous’.

The experience: The treatment begins with dry body brushing, and though the bristles are coarse (this is the circulation-stimulating part) it’s not as harsh as you might expect. Next, a seaweed body mask is applied all over, before being left to work its magic while I enjoy a head massage. After a rinse under the shower, a contouring gel is massaged all over to firm and moisturise.

The results: Immediately after the treatment, my thighs feel firmer, and a quick look in the mirror the morning after helps dispel any scepticism. I’m still feeling the results up to a week later, and am convinced it’s the best treatment I’ve tried so far. My therapist, Wanpen, has also suggested a firming cream to help maintain the effects, and recommends I start doing some home body-brushing before getting in the shower to help prevent cellulite. Holly Sands
Dhs519 for 60 minutes. Talise Spa, Madinat Jumeirah (04 366 6818).