One Desert Journey spa

We try the Palace’s sand-inspired, award-winning One Desert Journey treatment

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With so many hundreds – nay, thousands – of spa treatments on offer in our emirate, it takes something pretty special to make one stand out. So when The Palace’s One Desert Journey ritual was named ‘Best Signature Spa Treatment for 2010’ at the Hotel Show in Dubai, I figured I should give it a go.

The hotel offers two separate spas, one for men and one for women, both following much the same blueprint as The Palace: traditional Arabian style meets modern luxury, with plenty of arched windows and neutral tones. As the therapist leads me through to the changing rooms, I’m struck by the flowing, curved lines of the walls and the size of the sleek changing area, where I spy products galore: hair mousse, deodorant, toothbrushes, perfume and more.

The pre-treatment ‘foot ritual’ (read: quick foot wash) takes place in a pleasant communal area, where I’m offered a tiny cup of mint tea before being led to the treatment room. And what a room! It’s spacious and plush, with a private bathroom and a huge arched window overlooking the azure waters of Souk Al Bahar (albeit with modesty-protecting blinds). It feels like a treat to be bathed in daylight when so many of Dubai’s spas feature cramped, windowless cubicles.

The treatment starts with a scrub using sand from the Sahara desert (I’m a little disappointed to find they haven’t mined the Empty Quarter to bring me something from closer to home). Yet it feels fresh and clean; a welcome change from some of the greasy, sickly-smelling products used in lower-end spas. The therapist rubs until my skin starts to feel a little sore; I grit my teeth and imagine the red-raw marks that must be appearing over my legs, but these fail to materialise, and after a shower my skin is slippery-smooth. I also notice the venue uses brown towels, rather than spa-standard white: a blessing for those who hate leaving unsightly make-up streaks on pristine white textiles.

Next up is the massage. It’s both gentle and relaxing, featuring long, kneading strokes as the therapist runs her forearms down my back, pressing with her thumbs to release tension in my shoulders. It’s a lengthy treatment and I soon nod off, before being awoken to hot scented beanbags being rolled over my muscles to soothe and unwind. With the sun streaming through the window to bring me back to consciousness, I feel elated, super-chilled and thoroughly pampered. After a quick rest in the relaxation area and a sip of camomile tea, I pad away in my spa-issue gown and slippers to round off my day by The Palace’s Burj-view pool. Bliss.
One Desert Journey treatment, Dhs685 for 105 minutes. The Spa at The Palace, The Old Town, Downtown Burj Khalifa (04 428 7805).

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