Dubai body wraps tested

Whether you want to slim, detox or just hydrate, there’s a body wrap for you. Time Out investigates the options

What is a wrap?

The body wrap is a treatment that divides spa buffs: some claim miraculous results (weight loss and detoxification), while others find them plain claustrophobic. The process usually involves a good exfoliation followed by a lathering of something that will draw out toxins or hydrate the skin. You’ll then be wrapped in plastic or cloth, covered in a heat blanket and left to bake (good spas will give you a little face massage at this point) in the hope you’ll come out the other end softer and firmer. We put six of Dubai’s wraps to the test.

The ultimate chocolate experience

Claims to: moisturise
The Grand Hyatt is undergoing renovations, and instead of making their spa-goers endure the crash and bang of construction, it has turned a floor of hotel rooms into treatment areas: much appreciated. The Ultimate Chocolate Experience centres around a mask of yoghurt and organic chocolate, after which we’re wrapped in plastic (what looks like bin bags) and a heat blanket and given a face massage. The service is professional, the chocolate not too sickly-sweet, and the Bella Luce sugar cane, coconut oil and pure cocoa exfoliation is a definite highlight. Does our skin feel soft? Yes, but that may have more to do with the exfoliation and slathering of cocoa butter.
Dhs400 for 60 minutes at Pure Spa, Grand Hyatt Dubai, Oud Metha (04 317 1234)

Marine algae wrap

Claims to: break down fat
Though the prospect of being wrapped in marine algae doesn’t seem too inviting, the promise that it could free us of excess fat is. High levels of iodine in algae refine and break down fat, apparently – why else would we agree to be smothered in brown sludge and cooked in a plastic sheet for 20 minutes? The faint smell of pond accompanies our experience, but the therapist keeps us occupied with a head massage. Still, we can’t say we’ve miraculously lost our love handles by the end of it. The spa recommends 12 treatments to see results – we’re unconvinced.
Dhs550 for 90 minutes at Dubai Marine Resort & Spa, Jumeirah Beach Road (04 346 1111)

Exotic frangipani wrap

Claims to: soften skin
Call us spoiled, but we’ve found in the past that wraps can be a little, well, boring (the therapist often just slaps on lotion then leaves you to snooze). Not so at Mandara. After a visit to the smart whirlpool and sauna, our therapist kicks things off with a foot soak and scrub, followed by an all-over body-brush. She then applies hot frangipani oil before wrapping us snugly in a space blanket. We’re treated to a facial and head massage, then it’s time for a shower and another massage with sweet-scented lotion that leaves skin smooth. The Elemis products smell gorgeous (no hippyish joss-stick aromas here) and we leave feeling as though we got our money’s worth.
Dhs570 for 75 minutes at Mandara Spa, The Monarch Dubai, Sheikh Zayed Road (04 501 8888)

Marine mud wrap

Claims to: detoxify
This detox wrap uses a French, algae-based product: the green mud is massaged into the skin after deep exfoliation (we look like the Loch Ness Monster) and a warm, tingling, almost electric sensation is felt over the body. This is supposed to balance and replenish the skin and remove all unwanted toxins. After being wrapped in the algae on a heated bed for half an hour, we feel relaxed; our skin is clear and refreshed. We are also thoroughly impressed by the professionalism of the therapist.
Dhs500 for 75 minutes at Elixir Spa, Habtoor Grand Resort and Spa (04 408 4444)

Wine antioxidant wrap

Claims to: repair sun damage
If you’re beginning to resemble a wrinkly raisin, the answer may (ironically) lie with red wine grapes. The spa lacks five-star polish (there are no modesty towels and we’re left for long periods of time without any pampering), but the vigorous grape-seed oil and sugarcane scrub is lovely. We’re then slicked with a mix of grape-seed and sesame oil and wrapped in what looks like a giant sandwich bag, before being left to snooze for 15 minutes. Completing the treatment with a speedy massage (using, of course, grape-seed oil), we are satisfyingly bent and cracked, and our skin feels super-soft.
Dhs320 for 80 minutes at Zaitoon Spa, Arabian Courtyard Hotel, Bur Dubai (04 351 9111)

Warm honey and milk wrap

Claims to: make skin supple
Rumour has it that Cleopatra bathed in milk to keep her skin supple: if it was good enough for her, it’s good enough for us. At SensAsia Urban Spa – perhaps Dubai’s most soothing and beautiful spa (we can smell the essential oils from outside) – there is no milk bath, but rather a milk and honey scrub. These ingredients are mixed before they’re applied to our skin. The wrap proves a bit awkward – we’re so sticky that turning over on the plastic wrap is comically tricky – and we can’t say our skin feels much softer afterwards, but it’s thoroughly relaxing being wrapped up, womb-style, and left to snooze in a dark room.
Dhs350 for 60 minutes at SensAsia Urban Spa, The Village Mall, Jumeirah (04 349 8850)

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