How to relax in Dubai

Life can be stressful. Find zen in Dubai with these chilled ideas

Active life, Activelife
Day passes

Atlantis The Palm
An aromatherapy massage, a salt scrub, lunch and beach access all rolled into one single deal – even you could relax with this one. Especially when that massage and scrub are conducted at the impressive ShuiQi Spa at Atlantis The Palm. Lunch at Nasimi and Royal Beach access are superior ways to stretch out the day.
Dhs550 (Sun-Thu), Dhs650 (Fri-Sat). Daily 10am-10pm. ShuiQi Spa, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, (04 426 1698).

InterContinental Dubai Festival City
The hotel’s new day pass deal offers access to one of the city’s finest swimming pools (seriously, it is glass-bottomed and looks across the Creek). The deal offers 20 percent off at the pool bar, a Dhs100 spa voucher and a Mediterranean buffet lunch over at Zaytoun restaruant in the Crowne Plaza Dubai Festival City. Sold.
Dhs350. Daily 10am-7pm. InterContinental Dubai Festival City, (04 701 1256).

Park Hyatt Dubai
Get a minimum group of four ladies together and relax in unison by the Park Hyatt pools. This comprehensive Ladies Day Out package day out includes a poolside lunch, use of the facilities, a 60-minute spa treatment and plenty of sitting around chatting. Who said relaxing had to be solitary?
Dhs570 per person (minimun four guests). Daily 9am-10pm. Amara Spa, Park Hyatt Dubai, Deira, (04 602 1234).

The Island, The World islands
It’s a lot easier to relax when your sun lounger is on a private island off the coast. The first development to open on The World islands, The Island is literally the most secluded beach spot in Dubai and the comfy loungers, gentle breeze and, well, not much else really, make it an ideal retreat for solitude hunters.
Dhs200. Daily 10am-11pm. The Island, The World islands, (050 617 6507).

Spa deals

This hands-free spa treatment is said to recreate the feeling of being in the womb and is a sensory space for a holistic experience. With low humming music, a vibrating bed, mood-enhancing light show and relaxing aromas, it can induce a sense of calm in even the most agitated of souls.
From Dhs225. Daily 9am-10pm. Talise Spa, Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, (04 366 6818).

Cryotherapy sessions
Chilling out can be a cold business. Especially if you step into a cryotherapy chamber at CRYO to be blasted with air as cold as -140°C. It might not sound like it, but cryotherapy promises to actually do reduce stress, boost sleep and even help you resist the onset of fatigue.
Sat-Thu, 9am-9pm; Fri, 10am-8pm. Cryo, Dubai Ladies Club, Jumeirah, (04 342 7858).

Floatation therapy
Nothing says relaxation like being shut in a dark, water-filled pod and left alone. Seriously. As strange as they sound, floatation pods actually work. A sense of weightlessness and total calm overcomes you inside the temperature-controlled tanks and salt water keeps you afloat.
From Dhs350. Daily 10am-10pm. Point Zero Floatation Center, Sky Gardens, DIFC, (04 457 9991).

Gents’ night
Men can elbow their way in on the relaxation trend with a new weekly gent’s night at Anantara Spa. The Tuesday Refresher combines 45 minutes in the Turkish hammam, a neck, back and shoulder massage and then chill-out time in the crystal stone room, at the ice fountain and in a herbal bath. Plus, there are chilled refreshments and healthy snacks to finish.
Dhs399. Tue 5pm-10pm. Anantara The Palm Dubai Resort, Palm Jumeirah, (04 567 8888).

Lomi Lomi massage in the desert
Out in the desert, silence is the greatest asset. Luxury resort Al Maha is surrounded on all sides by mile after mile of empty sand dunes and that adds to the solitude and refined luxury of Timeless Spa. A massage such as a Hawaiian Lomi Lomi treatment uses warm oil and varied massage techniques to evoke a feeling of deep relaxation.
Dhs450. Daily 8am-8pm. Timeless Spa, Al Maha, a Luxury Collection Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Dubai–Al Ain Road, (04 832 9900).

Massage and afternoon tea
A pampering session at a spa combined with a lazy afternoon tea is the perfect combination of relaxing activities as far as we’re concerned. Designed for groups of female friends, the excellent promotion at Saray Spa in the JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai features a 30-minute back massage followed by a reflexology session. You’ll then be invited to enjoy afternoon tea at La Farine Café, and all is included in the price.
Dhs300. Sun-Thu 9am-10pm; Fri-Sat 9am-11pm. Saray Spa, JW Marriott Marquis Hotel Dubai, Business Bay, (04 414 0001).

Relaxation massage
Being the furthest hotel out on the very tip of the west crescent of the Palm Jumeirah makes One&Only The Palm one of the most secluded spots in the city. The Imperial Relaxing Massage is formulated to offer optimum relaxation. You’ll be wrapped in an “anti-stress cocoon” and the multisensory experience promises to leave you feeling calm, relaxed and thoroughly invigorated.
Dhs360. Daily. 10am-9pm. Guerlain Spa, One&Only The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, (04 440 1040).

The Dubai Dream
To snooze or not to snooze, that is the question with many spa treatments. The Dubai Dream treatment at Iridium Spa in The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor City, however, takes the pressure off by not expecting you to stay awake throughout. Inspired by the Greek personification of sleep, Hypnos, it encourages deep restfulness. First, an aromatherapy bath calms the mind and body, then you're served relaxation tea while sleep-enhancing spray is spritzed across your linen before a bespoke massage.
Dhs830. Daily 9am-9pm. Iridium Spa, The St. Regis Dubai Al Habtoor City, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 435 5500).

Wellness Retreats

Balance your mind on happiness island
Abu Dhabi yogi Sasha Quince is hosting a wellness retreat at The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort in April. The package includes meals and various yoga activities, including moonlight, beach and sunset sessions.
Dhs3,650 (two nights, half board). April 20-22. The St. Regis Resort Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi, (050 349 2336).

Experience privilege with Privilee
Relaxation can be stressful on your bank account. Especially if you want to do your recuperating at the premium end of the market. Privilee, a provider of discounted pampering privileges, will settle those worries with its cut-price deals at many of the city’s most luxurious spots. Privilee’s partnerships with The St. Regis and Westin brands, as well as Waldorf Astoria Dubai Palm Jumeirah and more, mean you’re spoiled for choice.
From Dhs5,988 per year. (04 554 7820).

Experience calm at Alma Retreat
One hundred percent organic diets, themed retreats, balancing meditation classes and inspiring desert yoga classes are all part of the package at this new Ras Al Khaimah Retreat. Pick your retreat based on themes of the heart, mind or body and stay in a luxury tent to escape the thrum of city life.
From Dhs3,300 per person. Alma Retreat, Ras Al Khaimah, (054 327 0408).

Yoga and meditation

Full moon yoga
Fairmont The Palm does wellness very well. Its spa is a superb little corner of zen in an otherwise busy city. Best of the many calming activities, however, are the monthly full moon yoga sessions. The guided meditations last around 90 minutes, with different themes each time.
Dhs75. Monthly on the day of the full moon. 8pm-10pm. Fairmont The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, (04 457 3545).

Gong meditation
Heart & Soul spa in Al Barari is the closest you’ll get to a Balinese retreat within the city. The lush greenery makes it an oasis of calm, a feeling only enhanced by the guided meditations and relaxing therapies. The frequent gong meditations are deeply relaxing and use spiritual techniques and altered breathing patterns to enhance your calm.
Dhs100. Wed Mar 8, 7.30pm-8-30pm. Heart & Soul Spa, Al Barari, (04 320 7350).

Rooftop yoga
Yoga doesn’t have to be all mountain mysticism and seaside retreats. Get your stretch on at this session hosted by Talise Spa in partnership with Urban Yoga, under the stars, on the top of Emirates Towers, facing Dubai’s ultra-modern skyline. Bring your mat and try a different style of the discipline in an incredible setting.
From Dhs50 (members), from Dhs85 (non-members). Check the website for updated schedule. Talise Fitness, Jumeirah Emirates Towers, Sheikh Zayed Road, (04 319 8660) Urban Yoga: (04 369 7882).

Sunset yoga
As the sun sets behind the Burj Al Arab it is hard to think of a more spectacular location for al fresco yoga than the Madinat Jumeirah's Talise Spa. Daily sessions are led by experienced yogis happy to welcome all abilities.
From Dhs90. Daily at sunset. Talise Spa, Al Qasr, Madinat Jumeirah, Umm Suqeim, (04 366 6818).

Underwater yoga
It takes a location as stunning as The Lost Chambers Aquarium in Atlantis The Palm to do this name justice. You won’t get wet. Instead you’ll be led through stretches and poses in front of the glass as 65,000 marine creatures swim by and wonder what exactly what it is you’re doing.
Dhs120. Fri 8am-9am. The Lost Chambers Aquarium, Atlantis The Palm, Palm Jumeirah, (04 426 2626).

Yoga in the park
Adding to the chilled-out spaces in which you can practise yoga is Al Barsha Pond Park. As well as being outdoors on the grass, it’s also free. Bonus. Lakshya Yoga instructors teach hatha, and the classes are open to all levels of ability.
Free. Sat 5.30pm-6.30pm. Al Barsha Pond Park,

Something different

Art and grape at Media One Hotel
We Love Art is a community group that sits somewhere between art therapy and painting classes and stands out as a zen activity provider with original and engaging ideas. You can sign up for art lessons or corporate art sessions. What we really love, though, are the paint and grape nights at Media One Hotel. With guided lessons by an expert tutor, and with a couple of glasses of grape along the way, you have three hours to recreate a masterpiece, which you can take home.
Dhs369. Tue 7.30pm-10.30pm. Media One Hotel, Dubai Media City, (056 769 1995).

The easiest round of golf you’ll ever play
Sometimes we just need to hit things. Something that won’t hit back. Something that won’t frustrate you even more. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club’s new Par 3 course is extremely relaxing. For s start you get to walk around a gorgeous course. But every green comes with giant 15-inch holes meaning you won’t frustrate your calm away by three-putting every hole. Well, you might – but it’s a lot harder to do. Play and Dine deals combine a round and a meal for a perfectly reasonable Dhs120. Golf has never been so chill.
Dhs120. Daily 7am-10pm. Dubai Creek Golf & Yacht Club, Deira, (04 205 4666).

The peaceful power of pets
In various parts of the world, dogs are used to calm prisoners on death row, kids and old people. Even if you don’t fit into any of those demographics, a walk with a dog (you get to pat them and stroke them too) is still something that can help your body and mind. Plus, it really helps out a local dog rescue organisation, so it’s a selfless act for extra at-one-with-the-universe points.
K9 Friends, (04 887 8739).

Hide in a pod (cast)

Jeff Bridges Sleeping Tapes
Jeff “The Dude” Bridges lazily talks to you as the stirring strings and echoing tones usually reserved for a spa soundtrack lull you to sleep. The most bizarre concept and efficient snooze-inducer you’ll have in your collection. May cause weird dreams.
Download at

Sleep With Me
Bedtime stories for grown-ups might not be anything new, but what sets Drew Ackerman’s brilliant podcast aside is that the tales, which meander and barely unravel in these insomnia-busting recordings, are told with the sole intention of sending you to sleep. On the surface it appears rambling and pointless, but this might actually be genius.
Download at

Deep Energy 2.0
If the spoken word is going to be too much of a distraction to stop you drifting off, there are hundreds of thousands of hours of ambient music gently tinkling through the ether. Jim Butler’s Deep Energy 2.0 podcast has racked up millions of downloads and more than 60 episodes of minimal music and relaxing sounds.
Download at

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