Hawaiian/Japanese massage

Time Out tries the perfect way to unwind

Tried & tested
The spa

Located on the first floor of the Media Rotana, Bodylines health and fitness centre is more of a gym than a spa. The decor is simple yet pleasant, and there are five massage rooms as well as a steam room, a sauna, a Jacuzzi, plunge pools and a relaxation area.

The promise

The Hawaiian Atsu Therapy is the spa’s signature treatment: it combines shiatsu and Hawaiian lomi-lomi techniques to promote calm throughout the body.

Step by step

As I enter the treatment room I’m met by dimmed lights, candles and a scent of essential oils. My therapist, Marcel, starts with a quick hot-towel wipe of my feet before the massage kicks off. Combining Japanese shiatsu and Hawaiian lomi-lomi, she first stretches my arms out, and I’m immediately reminded that I forgot to stretch after my morning gym session. She moves on to my back, using firm pressure with her thumbs and palms along my spine. I wouldn’t say it’s a pleasant sensation, but I immediately feel that it’s doing my body good, and I soon start to relax. Using her forearms, a common lomi-lomi technique, Marcel works her way up and down my back, shoulders and neck: it’s so soothing that I doze off.

I wake as she moves on to my legs, going through the same procedure that mixes stretching and massage. Marcel tells me that the stretching and deep-tissue treatment makes this massage particularly suitable for both gym-goers and people with aching muscles. She uses a de-stress muscle oil that contains ginger and black pepper, ingredients that help to relieve muscle pains. As Marcel finishes the treatment by gently massaging my forehead and temples, I’m advised not to have a shower for two hours in order to allow the massage oil to work its magic on my muscles. I’m also told to drink plenty of water for the rest of the day to promote blood circulation.


• If you feel intimidated by some of Dubai’s high-end spas, this casual place is a perfect alternative.
• The massage seems to really work to relieve sore muscles.


• For a no-fuss spa, the treatment is still quite expensive
• The choice of music could be better; it’s a little too close to muzak for my liking.


Returning to the office after this midday session, I felt stress-free and noticed that the treatment had loosened some of the neck and shoulder knots I’d acquired due to long hours in front of a computer. You’re advised to leave the strongly scented massage oil on for a few hours, so we suggest booking an after-work or weekend session.

The 60-minute Hawaiian Atsu Therapy costs Dhs350. Media Rotana, Al Barsha South (04 435 0000)

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