Deep-tissue massage

We try the Driver Massage at Emirates Golf Club

The spa

This, the third incarnation of the successful Sensasia spa chain, is a relaxing day spa nestled next to Emirates Golf Club’s gym. The facilities are nice, but the best thing here is the service: everything, from whether you’d like your chest and stomach massaged or not, to the temperature of the room and the level of the music, is run past you first, so you’re never left uncomfortable. Like Sensasia’s other outlets, it’s Asian themed, but they also offer treatments created especially for golfers (to deal with stiff shoulders, calloused hands and so on).

The promise: I opt for ‘The Driver’, a deep-tissue massage that promises to de-stiffen muscles and help with a golfer’s swing.

Step by step: My Indonesian therapist, Ronny, starts by washing my feet in a zingy peppermint bath before letting me whiff three different Aromatherapy Associates massage oils. I opt for Revive Evening, in the hope that I’ll end up relaxed but will still manage to drive home without falling asleep behind the wheel.

About 20 seconds into the massage, Ronny tunes in to exactly where my problem spots are (stiff shoulders) and asks if it’s okay to give them some attention.I say absolutely, and what follows is 20 agonising yet satisfying minutes of elbows gliding and prodding at my stiff shoulders and neck. It’s certainly not relaxing, but it’s refreshing to feel as though something’s actually happening.

After about 20 minutes on my shoulders, Ronny moves on to massage my lower back (eliciting some satisfying clicks), my calves (which hold a surprising amount of tension), my thighs, my arms and my head. By the time my hour’s up I’m truly relaxed, although still a little sore around my shoulders, and I spend a blissful 20 minutes in the relaxation room sipping on ginger tea and eating salted carrots.


• This is a true deep-tissue massage – if you have a problem, they’ll fix it
• Staff at Sensasia are well trained. Ronny is one of the most knowledgeable, skilled masseuses I’ve come across in Dubai.


•This massage will hurt if you have any muscular issues, so if you prefer to just relax then I’d book a Balinese massage.
• Sensasia is more expensive than most day spas in Dubai, although it does offer all the five-star hotel trimmings, which helps to justify the prices.


I walk out in a zombie state (in a good way) and my shoulders are tender for about 24 hours afterwards – a sign that the muscles have had a real workout. Three days later I feel fantastic: my shoulder blades are as loose as my Auntie Norma after a few too many.

The Driver Massage costs Dhs415 for 60 minutes. Sensasia Spa, Emirates Golf Club (04 417 9820)

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