When it comes to looking after your health, it’s not just about eating well and exercising. Taking time to relax and unwind is crucial. But it isn’t always easy, especially in our always switched-on modern world, where we’re constantly checking our emails and scrolling through social media. It can be almost impossible to unplug. And in Dubai, a city that rarely seems to slow down, it’s especially important to find moments of calm amidst the hustle and bustle.
Fortunately, pampering is such a part of life in Dubai’s ‘work hard, play hard’ culture, that it’s easy to find some lovely spas where you can swap your suit for a dressing gown, your heels for slippers, switch off your phone and slip into Do Not Disturb mode. Most spas offer a wide range of treatments, and something as simple as a massage could be all you need. Studies show that massages have a range of health benefits, from relieving muscular pain and headaches to boosting your mood and melting away stress.
The Middle East has its own unique wellness traditions, and one of my favourites is the hammam, an elaborate, deeply rejuvenating ritual with roots in the Ottoman Empire. You start off by lying down on a marble slab while the expert therapist gently exfoliates your skin using a special glove and Turkish soap. It feels a bit strange at first, but as you move through the steps of the hammam, from the hair washing ritual to a top-to-toe body mask, you’ll fall deeper and deeper into relaxation. There are a number of spas where you can enjoy a hammam, but I would recommend The Spa at Address Boulevard, where after your treatment, you can relax beside the outdoor pool with its beautiful views of Burj Khalifa.
I often find that Dubai’s fast-paced lifestyle, coupled with all the amazing options for dining out, leaves me feeling in need of a reset for my body. When that happens, I book in for a Detox Treatment at The Spa at Address Montgomerie. Something about being within those lush green grounds is instantly relaxing. And the treatment itself uses all-natural ingredients to rid your body of excess water - with a Dead Sea salt scrub followed by a spirulina body wrap and sea mineral purifying facial - to brighten your skin and leave you feeling toned and glowing. A much easier detox than a juice cleanse!
Living in Dubai can also take its toll on your skin, with the combination of year-round sunshine, desert dust and an outdoors lifestyle that keeps you exposed to the elements. Facials are a wonderful treat to combat this, not only for nourishing your skin, but for forcing you to take some downtime. I would recommend the intensive healing facial at The Spa at Address Dubai Marina. The soothing and purifying skin ritual uses neem, known in India as ‘the pharmacy plant’, combined with nourishing oils to heal, hydrate and leave you glowing.
I always make a point of researching the ingredients of my spa treatments. Your skin is your largest organ, so whether you’re having a body scrub or a massage, it’s important to look for spas that use high quality, natural and ideally organic products. Fortunately, many of Dubai’s luxury spas pick brands that are known for their high quality ingredients, such as The Spa at Address Dubai Mall, which offers signature treatments. A massage in this stunning city shopping retreat is the perfect way to unwind after a day browsing The Dubai Mall.
The great thing about going to the spa in some of Dubai’s luxury hotels is that your spa time doesn’t end once the massage is over. Instead, you’re encouraged to make the most of the surroundings and facilities. For example, at The Spa at Palace Downtown, once your treatment is over you can spend hours in the serene sanctuary of the palatial resort, which boasts monsoon showers, steam rooms, jacuzzis and a relaxation lounge. You could even opt to relax in a private lakeside cabana beside the pool.
Sarah M. is a Dubai resident and writer with a keen interest in health and wellbeing