Zen Asia Spa in JLT

We try new branch of popular International City spa

Tried & tested

The spa
Zen Asia is family run, and offers affordable spa treatments as well as hair, make-up and nail services. The branch in JLT is located in the basement of JBC 5 – I’m told to go to the car park, which is unusual. On arrival it seems small, but busy, with most of the space allocated to the salon, rather than spa activities.

The promise
I’m told that my Thai Body Butter Indulgence will protect my skin from Dubai’s harsh weather. The products are sourced from Bangkok.

Step by step
Ditching the green tea I’ve been offered on arrival – no time to drink it! – I’m led into a small treatment room and asked to lie down. After a 30-minute Thai sugar scrub exfoliation, I’m told that I’m to be lathered up a Dead Sea masque. The room is chilly, and application of the lotion is a little uncomfortable. Suddenly a strong whiff of popcorn hits me, which I realise must be the ‘butter’ part of the experience. Once I’m covered in the magic solution, I’m wrapped in plastic and told to relax for 15 minutes. It’s not the most comfortable situation, but I focus on the future benefits: smoother skin et al.

When my cooking time is up, I’m led to a shower next door. There’s confusion as to which cubicle is free, and whether I’m to be washed by a therapist, but the hot water allows me to warm up and get the unpleasant concoction off my skin, so I’m happy. Then it’s back to the treatment room for a body massage, before returning to reception for more green tea.

• The price. Zen Asia is a great place for a mani, pedi or cheap facial, and it’s just five minutes’ walk from the metro station.
• The friendly staff (and owners).

• There was a lot of chatter outside the treatment room, and other staff came in to talk to my therapist during the massage. This meant I found it difficult to relax.
• The uncertainty about which shower I should use was awkward.
• I was uncomfy while sporting the scrub and plastic combo.

My skin was smoother post-treatment, but I didn’t leave feeling overly relaxed due to the noise and repeated door-opening. Once these hiccups are straightened out, Zen Asia Spa will be one of the best mid-range spas in the area.

Also try…
Palmers Cocoa Butter Body Lotion was launched in the US in 1971. If it didn’t work, people would have stopped buying it by now.
Dhs35 for 350ml at Boots, various locations including The Dubai Mall (04 339 9383).

Raffles’ indulgent spa package is one of our favourite treatments in the city, featuring a full-body scrub, massage, hot-stone treatment, body wrap, mini facial and a head massage.
Dhs699 for 90 minutes. Raffles, Oud Metha (04 314 9877).

The Body Shop now offers Body Butter duos – you get one ‘scent’, but with two formulas: one for elbows and knees, and the other for normal skin.
Dhs69. Various locations including The Dubai Mall (04 339 9276).

Body Butter Thai Massage Dhs150 for one hour. Zen Asia Spa, JBC 5, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (04 457 2374).

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