Every city boasts get-away-from-it-all spots. In London there’s Hyde Park, while a stroll along La Seine does the job in Paris. If you find yourself in Iceland, a quick jaunt to the piping hot geezers works wonders on mind, body and soul. But aside from our pristine beach fronts – which struggle to pull in the punters in plus 50˚C – Dubai’s Zen spots are generally limited to five-star establishments.
Cue The Monarch Hotel’s Mandara Spa in all its chi-fuelled glory. There’s the tranquil Jacuzzi and steam room – all set against calming neutral hues – while the sauna nestles in an enclave of marine-inspired tiles and wafts of eucalyptus, and that’s before you hit the raft of de-stressing treatments.
Time Out and our spa-loving comrade (we’ll call her Spa Bunny, or SB for short) opted for a ‘couples’ room, which equates to two beds, two rose petal-strewn bowls and two eager masseuses just waiting to iron out any nooks and crannies.
It’s at this point that we should mention silence is of the essence in this tranquil hub. If you’re looking to jump from reality for a couple of hours, discussing the merits of ‘Ajay’s relationship with Sarah in accounts’ is not the way to ease yourself away from any traffic-related angst. But if you want to relax in the company of a dear pal – sans chit chat – then relaxation is coming your way.
While SB opted for a warm stone massage, Time Out dabbled with the ancient Ayurvedic shiro dhara treatment. The former involved warm rocks being gently moved across SB’s blissed-out frame, while the latter had our body drenched in aromatic oils, leaving us looking more McDonald’s employee than divine goddess, but relaxed all the same. The only disturbance was the foghorn breathing of SB as the rocks lulled her into a deep slumber, leaving us splayed out on the bed in a zombified state, sporadically chuckling into the flumpy towels.
Both treatments are supposed to cleanse the emotions and, as we stretched out – armed with Evian sprays and jugs of iced water – overlooking a bizarre mix of The Monarch’s infinity pool and a hulking great crane, there was a tearful hour or so that wound up with us concluding that Ajay and Sarah are definitely meant to be.