Tucked away within the pleasantly green grounds of Dubai Marine Beach Resort & Spa, Aroma Spa is surprisingly understated and easily missed. Once inside, guests are enveloped by a calm and serene environment that’s beautifully scented to hint at what’s to come.
Aroma Spa’s new Moroccan bath offers traditional hammam treatments based on age-old practices designed to fully cleanse, detoxify, invigorate and rejuvenate the skin, improve circulation and relieve muscle spasms. I opt for the Royal Hammam experience lasting 110 minutes, although shorter 50- and 80-minute versions are also available.
Step by step
Having swapped my work attire for those unflattering briefs and stepped into a bathrobe, I’m led by my Thai therapist to the spacious Moroccan bath. The room is filled with steam and I find the name misleading, as there’s no bath as such, rather a circular dais in the centre. The ritual begins with my therapist dousing me in hot water and washing me from head to toe with black Moroccan soap, before the scrubbing begins. It’s vigorous – and ever so slightly sore – yet undeniably satisfying.
After a quick shower, it’s time for the body wrap, which involves being slathered in thick, mineral-rich Moroccan clay, then tightly cocooned in layers of towels. It’s as if I’m being baked in a warming oven, the clay slowly hardening on my skin, the experience enhanced by the therapist brushing thick honey onto my face. For ten minutes I lie with my eyes closed, allowing the ‘marinade’ to work its magic, before I hop into the shower once more and re-emerge a new man. Once I’m dry, the final step in the Royal Hammam is a full-body massage in one of the spa’s treatment rooms, and I’m surprised to find it’s still the same multi-skilled therapist who expertly kneads away those knots.
I don’t think I’ve ever walked out of a spa as relaxed as I am after the two-hour treatment. I feel noticeably lighter, my skin is tingling and my mind is clearer, as if the experience has created order in what was previously a cluttered mind after a busy day’s work. I also have the best night’s sleep I’ve had in weeks.
• The experience is incredibly relaxing and satisfying, leaving you refreshed and clear headed – and with no dead skin in sight.
• The combination of hammam and massage is an effective way to relieve tired or aching muscles.
• Thaving someone else wash you might be a little uncomfortable for some.
• The experience of standing by the steam vent in the early stages of the ritual could do with fine-tuning: it leaves certain parts of your body hot and others cold.
The hammam treatment begins with a light massage and cleansing, followed by a body scrub and an oil massage.
Dhs330 for 75 minutes. Marriott Dubai Harbour Hotel & Suites, Dubai Marina (04 319 4630).