We noticed you're blocking ads.

Keep supporting great journalism by turning off your ad blocker.

Questions about why you are seeing this? Contact us

Font Size

- Aa +

Mon 16 Feb 2009 04:00 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

The art of relaxation

As life becomes evermore hectic, people want to look and feel good and spas offer the perfect place to de-stress and relax. Andrew Kennedy looks at several Dubai spas where relaxation is the name of the game.

As life becomes evermore hectic, people want to look and feel good and spas offer the perfect place to de-stress and relax. Andrew Kennedy looks at several Dubai spas where relaxation is the name of the game.

With the economic downturn weighing heavy on people's minds and working life becoming evermore stressful, guests are looking for greater ways to relax and unwind. This is where spas are stepping in, offering de-stressing treatments to soothe even the most overworked corporate guests and tired leisure travellers.

Each spa is unique in both its style and the treatments offered on the menu, with different influences shaping each spa.

I think a spa consultant needs to be brought in early on, as design begins to take over from functionality.

Hotelier visits three of the myriad of spas in Dubai offering a haven of respite to see what each has to offer.

Mandara Spa

Mandara Spa at The Monarch Dubai is a brand that is based in Bali, Indonesia and as such has a heavily Balinese influence.

Spa director Sharon Barcock says the spa is all about the therapists and less so the design, yet Mandara is still an inviting and serene place to be.

"It's mainly the therapists that make the difference here," she says.

"Many spas in the Middle East have really focused on what the spa facility looks like and how much money they've invested in it, but at Mandara it's very much about the client.

"While we are interested in the surroundings we keep things simplistic and minimal in design; we focus more on what the clients want and what they need."

The actual treatments themselves have a Balinese feel to them, as many of the therapists are Indonesian - Barcock says they try to incorporate their knowledge of the local culture and practices as much as possible.

"We have two key treatments, the Balinese massage and the Mandara massage - our signature treatment. The Mandara massage is two therapists working on you at the same time using blends of five different massage techniques.

"It's an unusual experience but a fantastic one and the relaxation levels are second to none," she says.

"At the moment our authentic Balinese massage is the most popular mainly because of people's timeframes and it's the most ‘typical' massage so people tend to go for it the first time they visit - once they've experienced it they often move on to the Mandara."

Mandara has tailored the spa menu to the needs of its guests as Barcock explains the importance of looking at a location and the type of clients there.

In Dubai's case guests are often short on time due to long business hours in the city and subsequently Mandara have focused on treatments most geared to relieving stress and relaxing the guest.

Angsana Spa

The Angsana Spa at the Angsana Hotel and Suites Dubai is the fifth spa for the Thai-brand in Dubai, but it is subtly different from its counterparts. Unique to the Angsana in Dubai is the rain mist shower, which is part of several different treatments available.

The signature treatment is the Angsana massage: a two-hour, medium-pressure massage that combines Thai, Indonesian, Balinese and Chinese massage techniques.Spa manager Ratchaneekorn Mitplong says massages are the most popular treatment at Angsana, owing to the needs of business people in Dubai to fully relax after work.

"They often ask for the strong pressure massage as this is the only one that can really work out the stress fully, so this means that it's the half-hour and hour packages that are the most popular due to the strength of the massage," Mitplong says.

Angsana uses its Thai heritage as an attraction to guests, with the famous Thai hospitality ethos being a big selling point. Mitplong says that guests expect the Asian hospitality when they come to Angsana so it is certainly a draw for clients.

To keep the menu fresh and following guest demand Angsana make use of the staff training centre in Phuket, Thailand and also their links to parent brand Banyan Tree to develop new menu additions.

"We do the development of products at the Phuket training centre and we also submit guest feedback to the corporate office there to help with the ongoing development of products, treatments and services to keep up with what the guests want," Mitplong explains.

She adds that they come up with new treatments on a yearly basis and they also take inspiration from what Banyan Tree offer but adding the Angsana twist.

The spa is a contemporary decorated spa, with a mix of invigorating colours around the treatment rooms which both appeals to the guest and sets the spa apart from many of the region's other spas according to Mitplong.

Heavenly Spa

The Heavenly Spa at the Westin Mina Seyahi Beach Resort, Dubai is a spa that promotes living well and relaxation in all aspects. The very natural design of the spa, using lots of natural stones, wood and water features helps to create a natural and relaxing atmosphere for all guests.

This in combination with an extensive treatment menu and the spa's own Heavenly Spa Cuisine menu that includes healthy recipes laden with ‘superfoods' helps to offer a complete spa experience.

Heavenly spa manager Bobby Griffiths believes the functionality of a spa is the key to a successful operation as well as providing the right treatments.

"I don't believe designers are getting it right 100% anywhere just yet, so I think that a spa consultant needs to be brought in early on to get it right as design begins to take over from functionality," Griffiths explains.

She says that the right treatment-menu design is crucial too and that Heavenly have worked hard to get things just right.

"We are quite a new spa, but in the future our menu will be client led, highly influenced by guest feedback for sure.

"One of the therapists based in Arizona, USA, designs new treatments and comes across every six months to help develop the spas and train the staff.

"We try to incorporate individual things that are unique to our spa and cater for the wishes and needs of our guests in the region though," she adds.

The Heavenly spa features steam rooms, saunas and Jacuzzis in both the male and female areas, a small gym, a vichy shower and a relaxation terrace that overlooks the beach.

The signature treatment is an exclusive technique called the Rollerssage massage.

The treatment offers ultimate relaxation by rolling semi-precious heated stones across the body combined with the feeling of a Swedish massage.

Facials and body scrubs add to the menu and give the guest a large choice of treatments to choose from for ultimate relaxation and pampering.

Arabian Business: why we're going behind a paywall

For all the latest travel news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.
Real news, real analysis and real insight have real value – especially at a time like this. Unlimited access ArabianBusiness.com can be unlocked for as little as $4.75 per month. Click here for more details.