Don’t underestimate the importance of the year 1847. Not only was Alexander Bell, the telephone inventor, born that year, but English inventor William Henson patented one of the world’s first safety razors. The Dubai spa chain bases its name on the latter. Though 1847’s barbers prefer to kick it old-school with big metal chairs and a shave administered with a rather intimidating-looking blade. Still, baby-smooth cheeks are well worth the adrenaline, and the hot facial massage and pore cleansing that followed left us feeling relaxed, and possibly looking a bit younger. Afterwards we went for the executive manicure treatment, which involved two specialists working in unison while we donned a comfy heated shoulder pad and switched through TV channels. It was so decadent, we almost felt guilty. Almost.
Grosevnor House, Dubai Marina (04 399 8989). Open 9am-10pm daily. Treatments from Dhs50 (traditional shave). Other locations: Jumeirah Emirates Towers (04 330 1847); Jumeirah Beach Residence (04 437 0252). A shave is Dhs115 and the executive manicure is Dhs150.
Sensasia Urban Men’s Spa5/5
No pain, no gain is often the adage of a decent massage and never was this truer than the knot-destroying, deep-tissue body pummelling that Sensasia’s therapists offer. If it weren’t for the slightly awkward location of this pleasantly masculine spa, which sits on the trunk of Palm Jumeirah, it really would stand up us as the city’s best men-only spot. Decked out in blacks, jade greens and a profusion of Buddha statues, Sensasia tries to fuse a Far East spa aesthetic with something a little more manly. The deft (usually Thai) therapists pull no punches, so be prepared for a few eye-twitching moments. We finished our treatment with an invigorating blackhead-extracting facial.
The Beach Club 1 Al Nafura, Shoreline Apartments, The Palm Jumeirah (04 422 7115). Massages start at Dhs310.
The Gentleman’s Spa3/5
The decor betrays a slightly antiquated idea of what constitutes masculinity. An epic, 300-esque soundtrack and sculptures of bounding stallions make for a rather manly and Arabesque concept of luxury. Still, there is something endearing about the old-world charm this mansion-like villa tries to emulate. And, really, it’s not the interior design that makes the spa, so much as the treatments, and where those are concerned we have no complaints. The signature sea salt body-scrub and massage combo is exceptional. A professional, to-the-point and a relaxing sense of privacy throughout only heightened our sense of relaxation.
Beach Road, Umm Suqeim (04 395 5015). Signature combo is Dhs750. Massages start at Dhs490.
Urban Male Lounge2/5
Call us sticklers, but this barber shop- cum-‘urban spa’ could do with a re-think. While their signature massage, a fusion of hot stones therapy, Swedish and Thai massage is deep, effective and gives you a marvellous loose-limbed feeling, the whole thing feels rather ad-hoc. Because there were no changing rooms or showers our gear had to hang around in the room and, as a result, we left the spa feeling a little oily. The absence of throw-away cotton briefs also left us feeling a little odd, especially in the presence of our female therapist. Still, we couldn’t quibble about the quality of treatment, our massage was excellent, but it’s clear the place needs a bit more thought put into it.
DIFC (04 425 0350). Open 10am-9pm daily. Massages start at 330. Discounts of 15 to 25 per cent available all month.
The annoyingly named Man/Age has a complete grooming package, which we found useful – as previously our idea of male grooming was a dip in the ocean. Now that we’ve discovered Man/Age, there’s a chance we might become regulars. Sure, the cut and shave were a bit pricier than our usual Karama hideaway, but both were so worth it. On the hair front, our barber succeeded where many have failed, and the shave included a soothing face mask and energetic head and back massage. We followed up our treatment with a traditional Balinese massage, which proved a little rough for our liking, though we admit a more masculine chap might have no qualms with the pummelling.
Rimal 1, Jumeirah Beach Residence (04 435 5780). Open 10am-10pm daily. Dhs50 for a classic shave, Dhs150 for an ultimate shave, Dhs80 for haircut, Dhs320 for massage. Other locations: Arjaan, Dubai Media City (04 437 0868).