From ocean-view treatment rooms at the Burj Al Arab to faultless facials in JLT
Jenny Hewett and Holly Sands
From ocean-view treatment rooms at the Burj Al Arab to faultless facials in JLT, we round up the city’s best spas and their must-try treatments.
In a city where pampering is second-nature, Dubai easily has one of the most diverse grooming portfolios in the world, with high-end and shoestring budgets both covered. In one month alone, Talise Spa at Madinat Jumeirah goes though more than 20 litres of organic massage oil according to spa director Stephan Wagner, while popular pampering pit-stop Tips & Toes performs mani-pedis on more than 43,000 women. Here at Time Out, we’re just as obsessed with finding the perfect massage or flawless facial as the next person and have spent many hours testing the city’s most luxurious and renowned spas to bring you this list of must-try treatments.
Relaxation Senso Wellness Centre This Asian-themed spa is one of few that caters to nine-to-fivers in Dubai Media City and offers everything from shiatsu to Ayurvedic massage. Just like us, the spa swears by Dermalogica products when it comes to facials, but it’s the delicious Mango Passion Fruit Body treatment we’re going back for. The treatment starts off with a scrub, before you’re wrapped in sweet-smelling passion fruit yoghurt and treated to a head massage and it’s washed off and rich mango moisturiser is applied. Dhs350 for an hour. Radisson Blu, Dubai Media City (04 366 9111).
Spa Cordon This ladies-only day spa prides itself on offering organic products, and five-star treatments without the hotel spa price tag. While the treatment menu will spoil you for choice, try the apothecary mani-pedi to get a real idea of just how much further the services at this spa go. Every treatment has an ‘opening’ and ‘closing’ ritual, such as a back and shoulder massage, and clients get to choose their own bath bombs for hands and feet. There’s also a vegan spa collection. Dhs285 for perfect mani-pedi, basic mani-pedis from Dhs155. Ladies only. Sky Gardens, DIFC, www.spacordon.com (04 421 3424).
Mandara Spa This Balinese spa’s dimly lit digs are illuminated by little more than the glow of candles, making it one of the most calming we’ve set foot in. There’s a large Jacuzzi, steam and sauna and a purpose-built Thai massage room. Spoil yourself (or another) with the Ultimate Indulgence package, which includes a lavender body wash, body scrub and a floral bath massage incorporating elements of Balinese, Hawaiian, Shiatsu, Swedish and Thai techniques. Finish off with a facial before you’re set on your pampered way. Dhs1,830 for two hours and 25 minutes. The H Hotel, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 501 8888).
The Spa, The Palace This luxurious Arabia-inspired spa offers Oriental treatments and its facilities are impressive, with a hammam slab, two bath houses, monsoon showers, Jacuzzis and a hydrospa bathtub all within its premises. The luxe three-hour gents-only King’s Ritual kicks off with a relaxing body wrap, wellbeing massage and it ends with a facial. Dhs1,340 for three hours. The Palace Downtown Dubai (04 428 7941).
The Oberoi Spa Understated and elegant, this 24-hour luxury Indian spa offers Ayurvedic and holistic-inspired treatments, which touch on all aspects of wellbeing. A beautiful infinity pool is as far as the spa facilities go, with tea and refreshments served in individual rooms after treatments. Opt for the padabhyanga, which focuses on the feet and lower legs and promotes sleep, or the shirodhara, which involves the use of warm oils dripping on the forehead to balance health in the body and mind. Dhs1,200 for two hours. The Oberoi, Business Bay (04 444 1444).
Conrad Spa One of the most contemporary spas in the city, at reception a blue-light water feature cascades down two narrowly spaced walls, playing tricks on the eye that the space is never ending. Inside, ergonomically designed relaxation beds await pampered femmes and a steam room and sauna lead into a Jacuzzi area with underwater beds. Choosing the right treatment here is key. Opt for the luscious Perfectly Rested two-hour massage, which includes a body serum and aromatherapy massage with attention to the scalp and face. Perfect for jet-lagged Dubaians. Dhs920 for two hours. Conrad Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 444 7444).
Talise Spa This stunning sanctuary is made up of desert-hued self-contained treatment rooms that are woven among the lush grounds of the Madinat Jumeirah and Al Qasr hotel. There’s a private outdoor pool where you can unwind with a book, but we highly recommend signing up for the lava shell massage first. It involves self-heating seashells, which are used in a number of ways on different parts of the body to melt away tension. Dhs625 for 60 minutes. Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim (04 366 6818).
Armani/Spa Disembark the elevator on the third floor of the Burj Khalifa and enter this sci-fi-like land of pampered bliss. The colour scheme is much like the rest of Armani Hotel, muted neutrals attack every wall, nook and cranny and guests are treated to their very own pair of smoking slippers à la Armani himself. The energising travel massage is the only way we know how to cure jet lag and includes a body brush with jade oil. Dhs680 for 80 minutes. Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3888).
So Spa A radiant green feature wall covered in living plants lines the entrance to this stunning Polynesian-themed spa on Palm Jumeirah. The spa’s facilities include 28 treatment rooms, outdoor massage cabanas for Tahitian treatments, an infinity pool and a couple’s hydro pool. Try the Under the Rain Experience, which involves colour therapy massage and detoxification while under a warm shower. Dhs850 for 80 minutes. Sofitel The Palm, Palm Jumeirah (04 455 6677).
Luxury Spa, Love chocolate? For a perfect post-shopping pit stop, book yourself into the Luxury Spa for the ‘chocolate lover’s dream’. The treatment starts with a cocoa-esque full-body exfoliation, followed by an invigorating chocolate oil skin massage and body mask. Just don’t blame us if you feel the urge to demolish a family-sized bar of the good stuff immediately afterwards. Dhs800 for 90 minutes. Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates, Al Barsha, www.kempinski.com (04 409 5909).
Assawan Spa While it is hard to say if the 18th floor spa facilities are up to the standards you would demand of a seven star hotel, it is clear that the treatment rooms are some of the brightest in the city, with floor-to-ceiling windows and views out to the Palm and Arabian Gulf. There’s an indoor pool fit for royalty, decorated with imposing marbled columns, as well as a massive Rolex adorning in the wall in the shower room. For a local treat, try the Arabian Journey, which involves a fine desert sand scrub and a relaxing massage using patchouli-scented argan oil. Dhs995 for 85 minutes. Burj Al Arab, Umm Suqeim (04 301 7365).
ShuQi Spa A trip to Atlantis The Palm doesn’t always mean underwater adventures or a session at Dubai’s liveliest brunch. For the ultimate zen afternoon, grab your other half and check out the stunning spa situated beneath this enormous hotel. We love the couples’ treatments here. For the ultimate afternoon, luxuriate with the four-hour Japanese Ritual with Shiseido products. The treatment kicks off with a rose petal foot bath, following by a Japanese body bathing ritual, a full-body Qi massage, a ‘future solution LX facial ceremony’ for her and a ‘time fighting facial’ for him. Round the whole thing off with a selection of sushi and Japanese green tea. How very sophisticated. Dhs4,480 per couple for four hours. Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, www.atlantisthepalm.com(04 426 1020).
The Spa, The Address Dubai Mall Shop ’till you drop then flop onto one of the treatment beds at this thoroughly relaxing spa, which sits just metres away from the world’s largest mall. Skip the usual suspects and try the Philippine hilot massage for a brand of relaxation that originates all the way from the Asian nation. Therapists seek out blockages and imbalances in the body’s energy channels before performing an intense, deep-tissue massage using coconut oil. From Dhs565 for 60 minutes. The Address Dubai Mall, Downtown Dubai, www.theaddress.com (04 438 8025).
Exfoliation Turkuaz House This double story villa on Al Wasl Road only swung its doors open last year, but it’s already a firm favourite of Time Out. An elegant sitting room in teal and grey occupies one side with a good-sized hair salon on the other. Upstairs in small, heated white marble rooms is where the hammam treatments get underway and it’s the closest thing we’ve found to the real deal in this city. You’ll love the extra details, such as the rose water face spritz while you wait for your apple tea. Dhs275 for 60 minutes. Ladies only. Villa 1053, Al Wasl Road, Umm Suqeim 2 (04 380 8703).
Saray Spa Arabic elements dominate this spacious spa in Business Bay, home to the city’s only Dead Sea floatation pool, a hammam and treatments themed on the region. For something unique, book in for the Saray Signature Dead Sea Journey, which involves a dead sea salt scrub, body mask using mud from the Dead Sea, a soak in the floatation pool and a relaxing massage. Dhs865 for 75 minutes. JW Marriott Marquis, Business Bay (04 414 6754).
The Purple Sanctuary Formerly Thai Privilege Spa, The Purple Sanctuary still offers all the treatments that made it so worth visiting in the first place. A standalone villa spa open only to ladies and situated on Al Wasl Road, head here to try the signature skin beauty rejuvenator, which promises a glowing complexion from head to toe. The spa’s own tamarind scrub provides a natural, non-chemical body exfoliation, and after a quick shower is followed up with a hydrating aloe vera and oil body massage and aloe vera face massage. Dhs500 for two hours. Ladies only. 1047, Al Wasl Road, Jumeirah, www.thepurplesanctuary.com (04 348 9679).
Ahasees Spa A beautiful, calming spa with a very peaceful wooden relaxation lounge, the treatments here are inspired by the emirate’s heritage – themes include pearl and sea and gold and frankincense. We love the Dubai sand and tea ritual – an hour-long desert sand, cardamom and black tea scrub that leaves your whole body silky smooth. Dhs420 for 60 minutes. Grand Hyatt Dubai, Oud Metha, www.dubai.grand.hyatt.com (04 317 2335).
Amara Spa Perhaps best known for its impressive couples’ treatments with private outdoor showers, Amara is also worth visiting for the reflexology and Indian head massage treatment, which aims to revive energy levels. Also try the back sculpture treatment for men – particularly good for those who undergo regular waxing. The treatment includes cleansing and toning, an extraction, intense shoulder and back massage followed by a mask and finally the application of a skin-balancing serum. Reflexology and Indian head massage Dhs540, back sculpture Dhs500 (both 60 minutes). Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira, www.dubai.park.hyatt.com (04 602 1234).
Elixir Spa Fancy a treatment that’s good enough to eat? Head to this Dubai Marina hotel’s spa where you can buff away dry, dead skin with the 60-minute June Jacobs pumpkin polish. Expect to leave here with smooth, silky and super-hydrated skin. Dhs400 for 60 minutes. Habtoor Grand Beach Resort & Spa, Dubai Marina, www.grandjumeirah.habtoorhotels.com (04 399 5000).
Firming and soothing SensAsia Urban Spa Far Eastern influences and illuminations of purple and green dominate this dark-wood oasis of calm, which has outlets dotted across the city. Therapists are passionate and knowledgeable about the products used and the spas are well-managed. For a beach-worthy posterior, the Bootcamp for Butts is an absolute must – it’s tailored entirely for your rear, involves an almost unbearably tingly peel, Mama Mio tightening products and exfoliation, but the results are really incredible. Dhs515 for 60 minutes. Various locations including Emirates Golf Club, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 417 9820).
Zen the spa Head to this simple, relaxing spa in the heart of Deira to get busting stubborn cellulite. The VOYA body wrap and slimming massage uses organic products to help eliminate toxins that cause that dreaded orange peel look. Ingredients in the wrap include seaweed, which is rich in antioxidents, as well as organic ginger and cinnamon. Dhs650 for two hours. Al Ghurair Rayhaan by Rotana, Deira, www.rotana.com (04 293 3000).
One&Only Spa Overdone it in the sun on the beach? If you’re in the JBR or Marina neck of the woods, head straight to the Royal Mirage’s super serene spa (which also has its own hammam) for the after-sun cooling wrap, which promises intense hydration for sun-exposed skin. While you’re wrapped up, the therapist will perform a gentle (promise!) facial cleanse and massage to soothe your face and scalp, before applying a cooling balm to the skin once you’ve washed off your wrap residue. Dhs280 for 25 minutes. One&Only Royal Mirage, Al Sufouh Road, www.royalmirage.oneandonlyresorts.com (04 315 2140).
Facials ESSA Beauty This boutique salon in Jumeirah Lakes Towers specialises in facials – and they’re some of the very best in Dubai. Salon owner and expert facialist Lydia from the UK has won numerous awards for her talents in the arena, and prides herself on giving clients a thorough skin consultation before deciding on the type of facial and products to use (the salon stocks a full range of Dermalogica and Elemis products). From Dhs290-510. Lake level, Cluster G, Jumeirah Lakes Towers, www.essabeauty.com (04 374 4288).
Talise Ottoman Spa The plush facilities at the Middle East’s biggest spa are worthy of royalty and the treatments don’t disappoint either. The dedicated hammam area is particularly stunning, with a massive Turkish-style communal bubbling bathing pool and exquisitely decorated arched domes on the ceiling, which glow like sun lights. The spa offers luxurious Margy’s Prestige Collagen facials, which involve an extremely thorough steaming and extraction process that leaves your skin clear and glowing. Dhs789 for 90 minutes. Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah (04 453 0456).
Raffles Spa Head to Dubai’s only pyramid-shaped hotel for solid gold pampering. Raffles Spa at the Raffles Dubai offers a 90-minute Egyptian gold facial, which combines a series of mind-boggling technologies with 24 karat gold in a bid to provide spa-goers with glowing skin – even after the precious metal comes off. Dhs1,899. Raffles Dubai, Oud Metha, www.raffles.com (04 314 9870).
At-home pampering Why leave the house when the therapists can come to you? Try one of these three services.
Home Spa Offers everything from sports massage to reflexology and pre-and-post natal treatments all within the comfort of your own home. They even bring a massage bed and music. From Dhs350 for an hour treatment. Locations across Dubai, www.home-spa-dubai.com (04 452 0001).
Feel Pink This budget-friendly option is based in Al Barsha and does home visits for those looking for a simple back, foot, or head and shoulder massage. From Dhs95 for 30 minutes. Ladies only. Locations across Dubai, www.feelpink.ae (04 368 8663).
Chez Toi Enjoy everything from a 30-minute scalp and neck massage to full-body Swedish, Thai or hot stone massages. From Dhs240. Ladies only. Locations across Dubai, www.cheztoibeauty.com (04 369 5338).