Review: Chrysalis Spa at Damac Maison

I have to admit, the idea of being wrapped in a cocoon, literally to my neck, caused me a slight degree of angst. But by the time the soft, white bag was zipped up around me I’ve already been all but lulled to sleep.

Prior to spending 20 minutes in the cocoon I have been laying on an air-filled relaxation bed that is apparently gently swaying (I can’t feel the swaying sensation) in a scientifically set motion that helps to slow down my breathing.

Above, a specially-designed rotation of coloured images plays on the ceiling, while carefully selected music is playing softly and “lavender dreams ultimate experience” scent is filling the air. All have been deliberated chosen according to my personal emotional condition determined during a pre-analysis.

While I chill out, a spa specialist scrubs and massages my entire body. I’ve had plenty of massages before but the cocoon bed is definitely an added benefit and by the time the 20 minutes of being zipped up is over, I am barely conscious. I can physically feel my breath has significantly slowed.

Chrysalis Spa at Damac Maison is believed to be the only spa in the Gulf to offer holistic cocooning (AED150, 75mins). The treatment purposely stimulates four senses - sight, hearing, touch and smell – and is influenced by both scientific medicine and traditional Chinese medicine.

The Spa is one of the most unique in Dubai, bringing together traditional Arabic principles, Asian traditions and European concepts and bathing rituals, all harnessed in its philosophy reflecting the four stages of birth: evolve, enliven, renewal and reawaken.

For example, the Chrysalis signature massage ($130, 90mins) uses hot candle wax rather than oils and creams, helping to melt away tension as well as nourish the skin. After 90 minutes, I was absolutely renewed.

While waiting for the massage I spent 30 minutes floating in a shallow pool of water with the same salt density as the Dead Sea in Jordan. According to the Spa, floatation therapy (AED250, 60mins) is actually a medical treatment, using sensory deprivation.

It has been proven to help relieve pain and reduce stress as well as promote “whole brain” thinking – the state-of-mind Buddhists aim to reach via mediation.

I’ve been to the Dead Sea and was more interested in the benefits of the mud had on my skin; I’m not someone that can sit still for long so wasn’t expecting to gain much from floating, but, wow, this took me by surprise. With my ears under the water, eyes closed (the lights were dimmed low) and no energy required to float due to the salt content, I truly was drifting.

My friend, however, was not so enticed and found floating boring to maintain. I guess you need to be willing, as well.

Finally, (on separate occasions) I tried the Shirodhara massage ($123, 90mins), a combination of Ayurvedic and modern techniques that involves a 60-minute full body massage followed by 30 minutes of warm oil poured gently over your forehead. 

The oil is supposed to calm the nervous system and relieve tension in the head and mind – “transporting you to a place of other worldly peace”, according to the Spa description.

While any massage is nice, I didn’t find the oil as enjoyable and probably wouldn’t choose it again. But there are others who do feel its magic.

After any treatment at Chrysalis Spa visitors also can relish in the separate women’s and men’s sanctuaries, where there is a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and showers. Guests also can use the pool overlooking the Burj Khalifa and Dubai Mall, or make an appointment at the attached beauty salon.

The added touches of fresh lemon or mint water and sweet staff have made an entirely rejuvenating day each time I’ve visited Chrysalis Spa.

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