Taking the spa culture to heart, every hotel that opens in Dubai now offers up a new take on spa relaxation and wellbeing. The emirate has even innovated names in the sector with Jumeirah, Rotana and Emirates Hotels & Resorts all having invested in development of dedicated spa brands as part of their expansion strategy.
The result is that spa has become one of Dubai’s top attractions, with spa retreats on offer at the beach, in the city, in the desert or even alongside the golf course or polo field...
Probably the most traditional of all treatments is the hammam, involving scrubbing, steaming and wrapping in rasul muds - less a pampering downtime and more a pummelling interlude with a powerful opponent, but one that not only deep cleanses, detoxes, polishes and softens up the skin but also thoroughly relaxes (ideal after a day at a conference ...).
And, for total immersion in the Middle East tradition, try out the Oriental Hammam at the &Only Royal Mirage for its authentic marbled decor, low lighting and intoxicating aromas and meticulous masseurs; Le Spa at The Palace Hotel in the Old Town, or the new Jasmine Spa at the Grand Millennium.
Taking their influences from slightly farther afield, many Dubai spas specialise in Ayurvedic treatments, offering up Indian oils, massages and more, with the Indian-operated Taj Palace Hotel among the best in this field, along with the Mandara Spa at The Monarch.
Elsewhere, there’s a mix of the top Asian and European offerings with a Givenchy Spa at the One&Only Royal Mirage for instance; the Amara Spa at the Park Hyatt where every treatment rooms comes with private courtyards and outdoor rain showers as well as use of the pool and gym facilities; or the Raffles Amrita spa with its own private garden sanctuary, plus top of the tower, Assawan Spa on the 18th floor at Burj Al Arab.
Far Eastern influences are getting stronger with brands such as Angsana expanding rapidly, operating in the Dubai Marina, Arabian Ranches, Emirates Hills and at The Montgomerie golf course, while local names include Talise, the Jumeirah brand launched at Madinat Jumeirah where its flagship spa comprises 16 treatment rooms set amid canals, courtyards and lush landscaping, where treatments range from reiki and Ayurveda to precious stone massages.
Newer names include Spa InterContinental at Festival City, particularly known for its vast facial range; the Heavenly Spa at The Westin Dubai with its signature rituals; Oriental specialities at the Dragonfly Spa at BurJuman Centre, and something for the gents, (1847 and H20) The Male Spa at Jumeirah Emirates Towers - the latter with flotation tank and oxygen lounge.
Meanwhile, out in the desert, the Satori spa at Bab Al Shams uses exotic ingredients on its menu such as frankincense and camomile, while the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa was launch pad for the Timeless spa brand, and its product range includes dates and honey as part of the mix - also available at the Emirates’ lounges in Terminal 3, Dubai International Airport.