We look to the past to find the best in age-old Arabian beauty treatments.
Hammam can be described as the Middle Eastern equivalent of a steam bath and is a simple ritual process that aims to both cleanse and relax. Yhi Spa at the Melia Hotel offers guests a taste of traditional bathing.
The treatment: Secrets of Arabia
The promise: Consisting of a traditional Arabian hammam treatment and a colour therapy session, Secrets of Arabia fuses ancient techniques and modern methods to promote skin renewal, deep cleansing as well as detoxification.
The results: After showering, we’re scrubbed with a loofah and rinsed down, before a Moroccan Rasul mask is applied all over our body, face and hair. This clay has been used for centuries as a soap, shampoo and skin conditioner and has cleansing properties that helps dissolve dead skin cells and moisturise at the same time. We’re left to relax in the steam between each stage of the process, something that proves effective in both helping our skin absorb the products and allowing us to fully relax. Afterwards, we’re given a relaxing massage in the heated water colour-therapy bed – a modern technique that uses
light in the form of colour to restore balance to our energy levels. Our skin feels clean, smooth and refreshed.
Pros: We emerge entirely relaxed and with beautifully soft, squeaky clean skin.
Dhs600. Yhi Spa, Melia Hotel, Bur Dubai, www.melia.com (04 376 7475).
Dates have long played an important role in Middle Eastern culture, and in the UAE alone over 400 different types are grown. Not only are they a great source of nutrition, they’ve also been used to make soap and eye-liner and are the traditional way to break the daily fast during Ramadan. Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray offers a treatment that uses dates to soften and nourish skin.
The treatment: Selection of Arabia
The promise: This treatment combines two of the spa’s signature offerings to offer visitors two hours of locally-inspired indulgence. The Sultan’s Massage uses Moroccan oil and a variety of massage techniques to help guests truly relax, while the Radiant Date Facial uses locally-grown dates to reduce wrinkles and hydrate skin.
The results: The treatments were very relaxing, with the pressure of the massage being just right and the facial very smooth, helping us to unwind, and leaving us with hydrated skin. The date-infused lotions have a unique smell, but it’s not unpleasant, and we got used to it after a while. The highlight of the experience was the access to the spa facilities before the treatment. Saunas, adventure showers, Jacuzzis, clay beds, a saltwater swimming pool, gorgeous gardens and even a snow room really helped us switch off and relax.
Pros: The palatial-sized spa with gorgeous decor and amazing facilities, plus the relaxing treatment with good results.
Cons: Staff could have been a little friendlier.
Dhs885. Talise Ottoman Spa, Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Palm Jumeirah, www.jumeirah.com (04 453 0000).
Frankincense starts off as sap inside the Arabian Boswellia tree. Boasting a unique scent, it’s been used for thousands of years as incense and perfume. The Spa at The Address Dubai Marina combines this aromatic ingredient with spiced oil and rose products to offer guests a taste of Arabia.
The treatment: Arabian Oasis
The promise: This 110-minute treatment aims to purify mind, body and soul with a full-body exfoliation, followed by a boreh wrap. Finishing off with a facial using rose-based products, guests should feel relaxed and free of tension.
The results: The therapist encouraged us to inhale the pleasant scent of the frankincense incense to begin the relaxation process. The boreh wrap was messy, but effective with our skin feeling paper soft after we rinsed off in the shower. The facial was relaxing and calming and we definitely left feeling more Zen than when we arrived.
Pros: It’s a beautiful spa that evokes calmness. The therapist was very friendly and knowledgeable and our skin felt super soft afterwards.
Cons: We felt a tiny bit uncomfortable, wrapped in plastic with increasing heat radiating around our body.
Dhs650, The Address Dubai Marina, www.theaddress.com/en/hotel/dubai-marina (04 436 7777).
Since the time of the ancient Egyptians, gold has been used as both decoration and for its healing properties and revitalising purposes. Ahasees Spa and Club at the Grand Hyatt in Dubai uses this ancient metal to offer guests a treatment fit for a queen.
The treatment: Gold and Frankincense Body Treatment
The promise: This 90-minute treatment begins with a frankincense-infused sugar scrub, which is followed by either a body wrap or massage using gold body balm, depending on your preference. The aim is to brighten the skin by getting rid of dead cells and improving circulation, while the massage is designed to relax weary muscles.
The results: After selecting our music preference for the treatment, we relaxed and enjoyed the pampering. The gold body balm left us glittering all over – something male spa-goers may want to bear in mind. Afterwards, we were shown to the relaxation room where we could select from a variety of tea, dates, nuts and fruit. We left with skin that felt de-scaled, soft and hydrated.
Pros: The ambience at Ahasees is incredibly calming – we especially loved the wooden relaxation room. Staff were very helpful as well.
Dhs600. Ahasees Spa & Club, Grand Hyatt Dubai, Oud Metha, www.dubai.grand.hyatt.com (04 317 2335).