We live in an age where a man, when asked what his plans are for the evening, can confidently proclaim: ‘I’m going for a facial,’ and not feel in the least bit compromised regarding his masculinity. Here at Time Out, we think that’s a good thing. Long hours crouched over a computer screen, grinding snarls of traffic every day and too many free dinners play havoc on a chap’s waistline, pallor and overall wellbeing. That we wish to combat these afflictions could be down to a number of things: we’re definitely a more vain bunch than our fathers’ generation, and we’re better educated than they were regarding previously off-limit subjects such as skin care.
The point is that we’re changing and that, here in Dubai, a number of spas are reflecting this evolution by opening their doors to men. As such, we’ve been pampered, preened, pummelled and pressed at a number of locations in the past couple of years. Hell, we’ve even had a pedicure – though that did seem like one step too far. So when the Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Dubai announced a new package of male treatments, there was a veritable scrum amongst Time Out’s men folk to give it a try.
The Total Tune-Up – 150 glorious minutes of pampering – seemed like too good an opportunity to pass up. Here’s how it works: the minute you emerge from the lift into the hushed calm of the spa, you are led into a private room where an aromatic body polish, deep muscle massage, and ‘quick fix’ facial beckon. The effect – especially after rushing from another day in the office – is like falling from a great height into the deepest feather bed you could possibly imagine.
An all-over deep tissue massage started the proceedings, followed by a warm mud mask and a foot and scalp massage that sent us further into a fuzzy abyss. By the time we were facially cleansed, exfoliated and massaged – another facemask applied and removed – our muscles were relaxed to the point where we walked away from the treatment room wobbling like a newborn foal.
Our mind too, seemed empty of practically everything it is normally loaded with – including, for a brief moment, where the car was parked. Indeed, the first half an hour post-session was really quite disorienting, but was followed by the best night’s sleep we’ve had in ages. In an ideal world, we’d do this every week. Alas, finances restrict such activities to occasional indulgences. But still, it’s nice to know that we men now have the option of some serious me-time that was simply not an option a few years ago. Only one question remains: why did it take us so long to figure out this was a good idea?