Whether it's outlandish luxury or value for money you’re after, couple's spa pampering is where it’s at for Valentine’s Day this year. Spoil your loved one and enjoy some romantic duo down time or split the cost with a friend for a completely platonic horizontal catch-up. Here, we get all loved-up and put some of the most luxurious offerings to the test to see if they’ve got what it takes in the romance stakes.
Valentine’s Journey at Amara Spa The experience: Amara's impressively spacious spa suites are situated in a private courtyard, providing some welcome added seclusion. To help set the scene, guests can choose a soundtrack for their treatments (if you hate panpipes, three hours with them might just push you over the edge) and Mediterranean proves to be a wise choice.
Following the opening foot ritual, couples are ushered back inside where a heady coffee and cardamom scrub is applied all over. After washing off the residue in the outdoor shower under the night sky, an equally aromatic rose water and sandalwood concoction is then applied and guests are left to marinate while enjoying a short head massage. After an intense full-body Hawaiian and Balinese massage the therapists prime your dials with a 30-minute facial before you tuck into a five-star meal (we recommend the Thai beef salad and lemon sorbet for dessert) by the pool. 5/5 Was Dhs3,000 now Dhs2,100 for 180 minutes. Until February 28. Amara Spa, Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira (04 602 1234).
Cupid’s Chocolate Body Ritual at Club Olympus Spa The experience: Guests are shown to the treatment room by the spa's therapists, who explain the process of the treatment on the way. It all begins with a scrub – thorough, but not too harsh – which fills the room with an aroma of dark chocolate.
After showering the residue off, next you're lathered in a chocolate lotion enriched with shea butter and Mediterranean clay and wrapped in plastic sheets (this can be a little cold, so do ask to have the thermostat turned up). Another shower later, a soothing cocoa and sweet almond oil massage rounds the treatment off. In all, it's a messy experience, but you'll be so relaxed you might not even notice. 3/5 Dhs769 per couple, Dhs440 per person. Until February 28, Club Olympus Spa & Fitness, Hyatt Regency Dubai, Deira (04 209 6802).
Valentine's Offer at ShuiQi Spa The experience: Carried out in Atlantis The Palm's relaxing and surprisingly tasteful underwater-themed spa, this special package for two features a 60-minute full-body massage in the royal spa suite, followed by a dip in the Jacuzzi and a chilled glass of bubbles.
Guests are led into separate male and female changing and relaxation areas before being escorted along a trickling water-lined corridor to the royal suite. In this grand yet cosy room, a foot soak is performed before the excellent therapists set to work performing a Swedish massage, using a combination of oils designed to be both relaxing and uplifting. After an enjoyable and not-too-lengthy hour, it's time to hop into the tub for a 20-minute soak with your other half, bubbly in hand. For those who are partial to more epic indulgence, ShuiQi's three-hour Atlantis Couple's Indulgence features a full body massage, coffee body scrub, mini facial, Jacuzzi soak and a glass of bubbly for Dhs3,360 per person.
5/5 Dhs1,020 per couple. Until February 28. ShuiQi Spa, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 426 2000).
Luxury Togetherness at Talise Ottoman Spa The experience: Jumeirah Zabeel Saray's spa has a special couple's floor, devoted to mutual appreciation of wellness. It's certainly an impressive place. Turkish wood and marble has been imported for the interior in each couple's therapy room, complete with Jacuzzi and a centralised hammam.
What you get here is a decent 50-minute massage, to music. And it's a pretty all-encompassing treatment. If you have a big sporting event coming up, the therapists do an excellent job focussing on key areas in preparation. Afterwards, you get to languish in your own private Jacuzzi – or take a dip in the hammam, where you can lie on heated marble beds. Dates, strawberries and a glass of bubbly complete the experience. Expect to emerge from this treatment revived and zen-like.
3/5 Dhs1,495 for 90 minutes until February 28. Talise Ottoman Spa, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (04 453 0000)
The Parisian Escape at So Spa The experience: This 90-minute massage and facial treatment at the Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa promises, 'a complete experience starting with body exfoliation, an original aroma massage and a flash facial to rejuvenate your skin. Indulge in a sparkling beverage and delicious treat for a wonderful escape à la Paris.' And on most counts it delivers. You and your partner have the option of kicking off proceedings with a private Jacuzzi session in a room next to the treatment room (a relaxing, tranquil start to the session, which was slightly let down by a faulty ceiling light that flashed for half of the allocated 30 minutes).
Then it's next door for the main show, starting with a foot soak in coconut milk (to moisturise) and peppermint oil (to cleanse). Next up is the full body massage. It starts with a gentle, soothing dry body brushing session to assist in detoxification followed by the aromatherapy massage. A request for strong pressure seemed like a great idea to relieve weary Time Out limbs – but if you don't like occasionally grimacing at the sheer intensity of the massage, we suggest you ask for medium pressure. But opting for the no-pain-no-gain philosophy certainly works. Our limbs felt loosened and relaxed afterwards. The flash facial uses Anne Semonin products to soften and hydrate skin. It made a dramatic difference to our cheeks and we looked fresh-faced after. Faulty lights aside, our only real gripe was with the beverage and 'treat' offered after. It turned out to be sparkling date juice and one Patchi chocolate each. At this price per couple, we were hoping to feel more special.
3/5 Dhs1,700 per couple. Private whirlpool cabana Dhs350 per couple for 30 mins. Sofitel Dubai The Palm Resort & Spa, Palm Jumeirah. Until February 28. (04 455 6677).