Atlantis spa review

Nyree Barrett samples the Japanese Jet Lag Therapy at ShuiQi Spa

The spa

While I suffer from pseudo-seasickness in the rest of Atlantis (blame it on the gaudy cruise-ship decor), the spa is actually calming and very understated. Heading to the treatment room across an over-stream walkway and relaxing in the large whirlpool afterwards, I feel no signs of nausea. Quite the opposite, in fact.

The promise

This back, neck, shoulder and leg massage claims to relieve symptoms of jet lag and help those suffering from fatigue.

Step by step

A quick foot bath precedes a rather interesting aroma breathing ritual. I’m first given the choice of which scent to inhale (I go for relaxing rose) and Indonesian therapist Dewi covers my eyes and then hovers the scent around my nose, working me through breathing exercises, introducing my body to relaxation. I then get a pretty decent ‘Qi’ back, neck and shoulder massage, which feels like a cross between Shiatsu and Swedish styles and uses a rich Shiseido cream rather than an oil. After this she places a steaming hot towel on my back (a Japanese discipline called o-shibori), which warms my muscles; when removed, it wakes me up with a rush of cold air.

Next up is a leg massage – this is an underrated part of the body to massage, and the tension in my calves seems to melt away. My décolleté area is given a rub down, and this is when I’m particularly pleased Dewi is using a rich Shiseido cream. A hair volumising mask, also by Shiseido, is then left to soak in my hair – this tingles a little at first, but the slightly worrying sensation dissipates by the time my treatment is finished with an awakening stretching ritual, similar to Thai massage.


• With two processes to relax you (the foot bath and aroma breathing), and one to awaken you (the stretching), this really does feel like a ritual.
• The Shiseido products are gorgeous, and the cream means I’m not all slick and slippery after the massage; instead, I leave very well moisturised.
• The relaxing scent of rose lingers in the room during the whole treatment. A nice touch.
• Dewi uses firm pressure during the entire treatment, as requested.


• Using a cream instead of an oil means easier after-care, although it can make it feel as though your skin is being pulled and stretched during the massage.


I haven’t felt this Zen after a treatment for a long time, which I think had a lot to do with the whole spa experience. My hair also felt like Japanese silk the next day thanks to the leave-in Shiseido treatment.

Dhs600 for this one-hour unisex treatment, including use of the spa’s wet facilities. ShuiQi Spa & Fitness, Atlantis The Palm (04 426 2000)

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