Tucked away in the top of the Mall of Emirates, Urban Male Lounge is a compact and discreet spa, narrow and long. It offers a variety of services for men, from haircuts and shaves to full-body massages and pedicures.
Despite being considered a mildly metrosexual man, I’ve always thought manicures and pedicures a step too far – something I’d happily leave to the fiancée. But 12-hour stints at the computer, gruelling evening exercise sessions and weekends on beaches have taken their toll on my nails. So, wooed by the countless male grooming adverts everywhere, I make a brave venture to UML. Arriving, I tread carefully, somewhat sceptical, hoping I won’t leave an hour later feeling like less of man. The Player treatment sells itself on giving you perfect hands and feet within the hour, with a manicure, pedicure and Thai foot massage.
Step by step
Greeted by a chirpy, upbeat manager, I feel welcome straight away, and it’s reassuring to see the grooming spot busy with plenty of men having what I’d previously considered girly treatments. Though the room I’m taken to is on the small side for two therapists and me (one on my hands, one on my feet), it’s just the right side of cosy without being cramped. I sit back on a recliner chair, happy to maintain that all-important sense of privacy. My feet are instantly soaked in a relaxing tonic, my legs given a gentle massage before my nails are filed and cuticles cut, and I start to see and feel my hands and feet take a turn for the better. It’s a funny situation having two ladies scrubbing away at your talons, but I thoroughly enjoy the multitasking; there’s something comforting about being pampered while sipping green tea and watching a classic Seinfield episode on a flatscreen TV via wireless headphones. The staff are fantastic, giving me not only baby-soft skin, but also delivering top-notch arm and foot massages. The treatment also features some sound education – I feel tingles down my back at one point while my foot is being rubbed, which I learn is down to apparently neglected nerve endings. To finish, my hands and feet are given a thorough scrub, another welcome soak, a bit of a polish and then they’re towelled off and moisturised.
• The treatment is thoroughly relaxing, rather than aesthetically improving.
• Service is excellent.
• My fiancée wants to hold my hand a lot more now.
• Pretty, soft hands are not every man’s ideal.
• It’s quite expensive, although having your own private room when grooming is worth it.
My biggest fear throughout the treatment was that they’d go too far, polishing my nails to an almost artificial, shiny state, and I’d be left with dreaded lady hands. But the therapists strike the perfect balance: my hands and feet are rejuvenated, my nails neat and trim without being too pretty. I think I could really get used to this.