Get royally pampered in the city’s most decadent hammam, says Holly Sands
When Jumeirah Zabeel Saray opened its sprawling spa and hammam back in 2012, Dubai had never seen anything quite like it. Three years later, we’re still waiting for a rival that’s anywhere near as palatial.
Divided into separate male and female spas, guests are encouraged to arrive far more in advance than the usual 20 minutes before their treatment, and for good reason. As well as the usual steam rooms and saunas, the spa has snow rooms and mineral-rich salt water thalassotherapy pools, plus heated stone beds to relax on. You’ll find all the usual facials, scrubs and rubs here, but what you’re really here for is the gleaming, entirely marble Turkish hammam. A 40-minute traditional Turkish treatment will get you the thorough, head-to-toe exfoliation for which the ancient baths that inspired this treatment have been famed for centuries, but for the full Talise experience, go for the Royal Ottoman.
For this 60-minute treatment, guests are escorted to the steam room before their session properly begins, to encourage their pores to open and start the process of releasing toxins. Next, it’s off to the hammam, a decadent, high-ceilinged and surprisingly communal affair (as real Turkish baths are, though obviously men and women are still kept separate), where after lying down on the central, heated marble slab, guests are vigorously relieved of dry, dead skin using a kese mitt and a frothing, foaming and skin-hydrating olive oil soap. Where the Royal Ottoman differs from the Turkish treatment is in the next step – a deep-nourishing masque that’s applied and left to do its epidermis-soothing work, while a facial is performed.
Afterwards, guests can take their newly super-smooth bodies and slither over to the indoor poolside majlis-style seating for a refreshing cup of tea and a handful of blood sugar-boosting dates – a good way to get some energy back after letting it all melt off into the marble. If you have just one spa treatment in Dubai, let it be here. Royal Ottoman Dhs565 for 60 minutes. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (04 453 0456).