Body & mind

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).

04 270 7777 Jumeirah

Inspired by the pearl industry of this city, The Pearl Spa at Four Seasons Resort Dubai in Jumeirah definitely lives up to its name.

This luxuriously modern and inventive spa offers some of the best skincare and body treatments in town.

There are 10 treatment rooms, as well as a steam and sauna room, rain shower spots, a heated whirlpool and an ice fountain spot. All body treatments and facials use Natura Bissé, Sodashi and Dr Burgener products. Other signature treatments connect to Dubai traditions, incorporating crushed pearls, camel milk and desert sand for body scrubs, while hammam rituals feature classic ghassoul clay treatments.

04 320 7350 Meydan

Many hands make light work, as the old saying goes. So it’s unsurprising that Heart & Soul Spa’s Six Hands Signature has the unique ability to make you feel like you’re floating as you leave, following 90 minutes of pure relaxation.

The spa is a rarity in itself. There’s no boisterous hotel lobby to navigate, no crammed elevator to share with dressed-up dinner-bound guests, and no noisy chatter drifting into your treatment room. It’s the benefit, of course, of being in Al Barari, Dubai’s greenest little pocket of space, set back from Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road and hidden behind an imposing line of trees. Less “urban oasis”, more actual oasis.

Heart & Soul Spa lies beyond the garden centre, residential developments and The Farm restaurant. Flora lines the walkway and packs the surrounding spaces so much so that rooms are bathed in a light sprinkle of green shades; it’s about as peaceful a place as you can find west of Emirates Road.

Already feeling rather zen, the robes crank up the indulgence; we’re not exaggerating when we say they’re as soft and warm as the hug your parents give you when visiting your homeland after a little-too-long away in Dubai.

The treatment itself is an extension of the traditional aromatherapy massage, all soft in touch and high on sensory stimulation, especially smell. Performing what feels like a dance across your whole body, the three therapists barely miss a beat, co-ordinating their strokes and pressure with all the timing of a troupe of ballerinas. It’s a curious feeling, certainly an unfamiliar one, but with so many focus points, our mind is able to wander off to a happy place more readily than if we were following just one pair of hands on the same spot.

While the likes of a gold-flake body wrap or diamond facial – both available in Dubai – might seem more indulgent on paper, they are, only in name. What better, really, than the delicate competition for your attention from six hands?
Dhs1,050. Heart & Soul Spa, Al Barari, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road, (04 320 7350).

*This advertorial first appeared in Time Out Dubai’s Spa&Wellbeing Signature Series 2016 pullout.

Tell us a little about your spa.
Heart & Soul is a spa and wellness destination for guests looking to de-stress and rediscover physical and mental harmony in a serene and natural environment. The spa’s philosophy is to restore, rejuvenate and revive using the soothing power of touch combined by carefully selected products for the best natural results. Heart & Soul is all about getting back to nature and teaching our guests to relax, unwind and achieve balance.

What facilities do you offer?
The spa has separate levels for men and women, exclusively-appointed treatment rooms, private suites, a dedicated children’s salon, designated nail and hair care sections, and an infrared sauna, hammam and steam room as well as indoor and outdoor relaxation areas.

What services do you offer?
Heart & Soul offers a variety of massages, award-winning facials, relaxing body treatments, grooming services, hammam rituals, and hair and nail treatments.

Tell us a little about your staff.
Heart & Soul is headed by our spa general manager, Maria Haggo. From the moment you enter the spa, our passionate team of certified specialists are there to cater to your individual needs. Our experienced and diverse staff come from all over the world including Asia, Africa and Europe, and have a wide range of experience in the five-star spa and beauty industry. We have male staff for the male spa and female staff for the female spa.

Do you offer anything unusual or novel?
We focus on providing our guests a full range of spa, beauty and wellness services. We offer a 6 Hands H&S signature massage and a Healing Harp Therapy Massage, both of which are exclusive to Heart & Soul. The Healing Harp Therapy Massage involves a skilled spa therapist massaging away tension from your body, while our harpist plays healing harp frequencies that will be absorbed by the body, creating balance and good energy flow, allowing you to unwind completely, relax deeper and receive your massage treatment more fully. The Healing Harp Therapy Massage can be paired with any 60-minute massage at Heart & Soul. We also offer our guests a chance to access wellness education through regular workshops and engaging classes, which include meditation, healing, energy work, art, dance and nutrition, to name a few. We offer a range of speciality products from Forlle’d (exclusive to Heart & Soul in Dubai), Child’s Farm and Little Bu (natural, non-toxic products for children).

What is your most popular treatment?
Massage is always the most popular treatment, so we make sure that we do that exceptionally well. Our new Oxygen facial by Forlle’d is a close second. It is ideal for healing and reviving the skin, boosting antioxidants, and for anti-ageing purposes. The results-oriented facial reduces the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, helps uneven skin look brighter, and restores moisture balance while enhancing overall hydration. The main ingredient is hyaluronic acid. Forlle’d, a paraben-free, scientifically advanced skincare range from Japan, has globally patented complexes of hyaluronic acid that are 600 to 4,000 times smaller than ordinary molecules, meaning it penetrates deep into the skin to rehydrate and revitalise from within.

Do you offer any holistic or ayurvedic treatments?
Yes. Our spa packages focus on physical, emotional, and spiritual elements to create a holistic experience.

The Details
Male or female: The spa has separate levels for men and women and dedicated children’s salons.

Treatment rooms: There are a total of 20 treatment rooms: one hair salon (ladies), two nail salons
(ladies and gentlemen), one relaxation room, six ladies’ treatment rooms, four men’s treatment rooms, one VIP room (including barber, massage and nail stations), two hammam rooms (Turkish and Moroccan), one Thai traditional massage room, one barber salon, and one outdoor treatment room
with a plunge pool.

Cheapest treatment: Jessica Classic Hand Treatment for Dhs80.

Most expensive treatment:
6 Hands Heart & Soul signature massage, 90 minutes for Dhs1,050, and the Sodashi samadara ultimate age-defying facial for Dhs1,100.

04 888 3282 Downtown Dubai

It’s a lot to live up to, being the spa in the world’s most iconic building, not to mention carrying the name of a legendary designer. There could have been temptation to really push the boat out and overdo it, but Armani/Spa is, perhaps surprisingly, simple. And brilliantly effective.

It starts with the stylish design. Sleek, smooth and neutral. Corridors feel Kubrickian, like an underground lair – James Bond, not Dr. Evil. There’s barely an edge, kink or handle anywhere from the moment you exit the elevator. Doors slide, pools are infinite and almost all fixtures are flush to the surface.

Dimly lit and cavernous, the spa is built around a simple, soothing water feature that looks a bit like a Jacuzzi. As well as sauna and steam rooms, it contains Terme, a sequential shower experience that begins with an ice rub and moves on to heavy hot water, rain and humidity. It’s wonderfully refreshing.

There’s also a gym, compact but with the latest technology equipment, should you really wish to earn your treatment first.

Treatments are also the basics done better. There are three main pillars – Mu (stillness), Libertà (freedom) and Fluidità (fluidity) – offering variations on the facial, massage, wrap and scrub. Words like “hydrating”, “rejuvenating” and “revitalising” are about as fluffy as the whole experience gets, but the simplicity of it all is, ironically, rather “refreshing”. Treatment rooms hold all the design elements of the rest of the spa, and the arched roof creates a comfortable pod-like environment. And then there’s the beds, with their sink-in duvet surface and a head rest that actually cushions your forehead to prevent the sinus pressure typical of other spas.

We opt for the Signature Facial and Collection Massage – both delivered expertly and without the need for constant reassurance, our therapist instead using the reaction of our body to amend pressure; the little details adding up to a mightily effective experience.

Signature Facial: Dhs600 (60 minutes), Collection Massage: Dhs520 (50 minutes). Armani/Spa, Armani Hotel Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Downtown Dubai (04 888 3282).

*This advertorial first appeared in Time Out Dubai’s Spa&Wellbeing Signature Series 2016 pullout.

Tell us a little about the spa.

Armani/SPA is an oasis of peace and tranquillity in the heart of Dubai that provides in-house guests and the local market with unique spaces and outstanding service for individually personalised treatments, personal fitness, sequential thermal bathing, creative “SPA” cuisine or simply private and social relaxation areas. Unlike other competitors, we offer a personalised “Spa Time” concept.

What facilities do you offer?
Sauna, steam room, laconia, gym and swimming pool.

What services do you offer?
Massage, body treatments, facial, waxing, manicure and pedicure.

Tell us a little about your staff.
Our staff are highly experienced and some of the best trained in the Dubai spa industry. Booking at Armani/SPA guarantees excellent therapists and welcoming staff, who greet you as if you are arriving into Giorgio Armani’s personal home.

Do you offer anything unusual or novel?
Guests simply need to book the amount of time they would like to spend in the spa rather than the specific treatment. Once arriving at the spa, each guest at the Armani/SPA receives a personal consultation from the spa professional to develop a bespoke sensory experience designed by Armani. Armani/SPA Massages use bespoke, exclusive Armani oils, which work on different results: relaxation, muscle tension release or energising.

What is your most popular treatment?
Our bespoke massage treatments.

Do you offer any holistic or ayurvedic treatments?
Our treatments are all holistic and based on the guests’ needs. However, there are no ayurveda treatments.

Signature treatment
Armani/SPA Signature Collection Massage (60 minutes): A fusion of Japanese shiatsu, Thai, traditional and acupressure techniques are applied to the body, which is comfortably wrapped in luxurious Armani black silk.

The Details
Male of Female: Both

List your treatment rooms: Eight

Cheapest treatment: Manicure or pedicure (Dhs300)

Most expensive treatment: Full-day package (Dhs2,800)

04 567 8140 Palm Jumeirah

Anantara Spa’s new hammam is located on its own dedicated floor – a maze of opulent treatment rooms and relaxation areas with starry marble floors, trickling fountains and heavy red drapes. The development of this new spa area – and more specifically, the staff’s training – has been overseen by an on-site hammam expert who has brought his knowledge over from Istanbul. The results of this are clear: therapists are clearly well-practised and experienced, not to mention discreet and friendly.

The treatment begins with a milk foot bath, during which you’re also presented with a selection of oils to choose from for your post-cleanse massage. From there, you’ll be led to a beautiful marble hammam room, lined with pillars, stone basins and copper trays of jugs, scrubs, soaps and soft peshtemals. The space is big enough for two, so friends and couples can book the experience together, giving it the community feel of a genuine Turkish hammam – though be aware that as it’s a communal area, your hammam-mate may be someone you don’t know.

The elaborate process that follows – exfoliations, lathers and hair masks –includes a rub-down with a billowing torba (a soapy silk pillowcase) that doesn’t feel unlike being engulfed by bubbles.

By the time you’re given a final rinse you’ll be feeling incredibly clean and relaxed, so it’s a good thing that from here it’s on to the relaxation area to be cosily tucked up in a robe and plush towels, recline on pillows, sip ayran and nibble cubes of perfect Turkish delight. The experience ends with a blissful stress-relief massage in a dim candlelit treatment room and a cup of hot tea back in the relaxation area – where you can stay for as long as you like. And trust us, you won’t want to leave.

The Hammam Ceremony by Anantara: Dhs1,300 (120 minutes).

*This advertorial first appeared in Time Out Dubai’s Spa&Wellbeing Signature Series 2016 pullout.

Tell us a little about the spa.
A two-storey spa with 24 treatment rooms and hammam facilities for men, women and couples. Spa guests have access to treatment rooms such as the couples’ suites with Serali steam bath, experience showers and solo pool baths, as well as single rooms with showers, beauty rooms, Thai massage suite, holistic cocoon room and ayurveda room on the ground floor. The first floor consists of Turkish hammam facilities, which cater to men, women and couples, plus relaxation areas and treatment rooms. Anantara Spa offers over 30 treatments covering therapies from Asia to the Middle East including traditional Turkish hammam and ayurvedic treatments. The spa also uses the top European cosmetic and skincare brands such as Natura Bissē, Elemis, and Charme D’ Orient for selected treatments.

What facilities do you offer?
Changing rooms and showers, aroma steam bath, herbal bath, crystal and gemstone steam room, salt inhalation room, liquid sound pool, bamboo sauna, ice grotto, Kneipp walk, relaxation areas for men, women and couples, and retail shops.

What services do you offer?
Turkish hammam, couples’ treatments, spa packages, massages, facials, body treatments, ayurvedic treatments.

Tell us a little about your staff.
A multicultural team with extensive spa experience from different parts of the world.

Do you offer anything unusual or novel?
We are the first spa in Dubai to launch the Microsilk Technology – an oxygen-rich micro-bubble bath, which is a patented process that supersaturates the water with billions of bubbles, raising oxygen levels up to 70 percent higher than common tap water. This increases metabolism and promotes the growth of skin cells. The guest will have the option to upgrade their experience to Microsilk technology.

Do you offer any holistic or ayurvedic treatments?
We have shirodhara, abyanga, Indian head massage and herbal poultice.

What is your most popular treatment?
The Anantara Signature massage and Arabian Massage.

Signature treatment

Nham Jai (two hours): Nham Jai reflects a Thai hospitality, meaning “water from the heart”. This two-hour treatment experience uses unique traditional Thai ingredients and techniques.

The Detials
Male or Female: Both.

Treatment rooms: Male Turkish hammam, female Turkish hammam, couples’ Turkish hammam, couples’ suites with steam bath or sauna, experience showers and pool bath. There is also a Thai massage treatment suite, holistic cocoon room, ayurveda room, beauty rooms and single rooms designated for male and female guests.

Cheapest treatment: Arabian Scrub and Arabian Wrap (Dhs400, 45 minutes).

Most expensive treatment: Palm Retreat (Dhs3,000, 180 minutes).


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