Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai
The treatment AlphaSphere Deluxe Session; Margy’s Age Embrace Facial
The cost AlphaSphere (Dh225, per person for 25 minutes, Dh395 per couple for 25 minutes); Facial (Dh945 for 60 minutes)
The experience Perfume or jewellery for Valentine’s? That’s such a personal choice it’s easy to go wrong. Chocolates? Well, why give a present you know will make us fat? The most thoughtful gift, as everyone in the fast-paced, stress-inducing, multi-juggling UAE knows, is something that will leave us looking younger and feeling relaxed. And if it can be a revolutionary treatment à deux in an award-winning spa, even better. But I wasn’t prepared for the AlphaSphere Deluxe at Talise Spa in Dubai’s Madinat Jumeirah – the first place in the world you can try out the multi-sensory treatment created by Austrian artist and innovator SHA.
Billed as a “holistic journey of inspiration, relaxation and rejuvenation,” I had no idea what was in store for us. But after being led through the beautiful gardens at the spa we entered a private room, which was bathed in darkness, except for the two AlphaSphere pods. They are next to each other, separated by sheer curtains, and are space-age-style beds that we were helped on to.
Once we’d each decided what programme we wanted – there are four: basic blue, sensitive violet, intense red and energy orange, and I went for the blue, while my partner went for the – we lay back and were immersed in the whole body and mind experience, based on every sense.
The bed rocked, vibrated and emitted different sounds, temperature, colour, smells and touch. I had been cynical at first. How could lying on a rocking bed make me relax, but within minutes I could hear what sounded like whales crying, notes from a rock concert, interspersed with natural sounds, and a soothing light show to lower my heart rate, blood pressure and loosen my muscles. Stress evaporated as I lost myself in the experience, forgetting after a few minutes to even try to work out what I could hear, feel and smell. I simply enjoyed the overwhelming symphony of sensations, each one making my everyday niggles and worries seem inconsequential.
Once the 30 minutes were up, I was smiling, and looking at my partner. He had gone for the orange to stimulate his imagination and give him inspiration and all he could say was “wow”.
I was glad we’d experience this innovative treatment together as it’s hard to describe how good it made us feel to those who’ve never heard of it.
Feeling a little ‘trippy” we followed the therapist back inside to a couple’s room where my partner opted for a signature massage and I had a Margy’s anti-aging facial.
Using the products from Monte Carlo my face was stripped of make-up and everyday grime using a basic milk cleanser, and mild-action skin toner before an extra-rich firming mask was applied.
A near sleep-inducing massage followed, and then cream was applied to my neck and décolleté – an area a lot of women neglect to look after, but which is one of the first places to show your age – along with Prestige Triple Concentrate to help reduce fine lines and wrinkles and a energising eyezone cream. The hour rushed by, but when I peeked into the mirror I looked totally rejuvenated with super-soft and younger-looking skin.
My partner floated out of the spa, still talking about the AlphaSphere. It was one of the best treatments I’ve ever tried, and the effects lasted for a couple of weeks. A massage and a ground-breaking relaxation treatment that really works – what’s not to love?
Hours 9am to 10pm
To book Call 04 366 6818 or email MJtalise@jumeirah.com.
Intercontinental Dubai Festival City
The treatment Valentine’s Treat
The cost Dh1,110 per person, including the add-on 75-minute Oxygen Facial.
The experience With its entrance of thousands of twinkling lights and a couple’s suite bigger than some people’s apartments, it’s easy to fall in love with the Spa InterContinental.
We had been booked in for the head- to-toe Valentine’s Treat, which began with a bamboo scrub after lying down on adjacent beds. That doesn’t mean we were anywhere near each other – there was a sauna, shower, washroom, huge double bath, two beds, a male and a female therapist in the room and still enough space to play ping-pong without nudging each other.
But we soon forgot about the cavernous couple’s suite as the therapist set to work gently exfoliating to slough off dead skin.
A quick shower later, and the hour-long signature massage began. The spa uses its own oil, made from ginger, honey and lemongrass, which smelled divine, and I was soon struggling to stay awake as the therapist tackled the knots in my shoulders and back using long, deep, Balinese techniques. This means the therapist attacked my sore neck and lower back with a combination of thumb and palm pressure, which loosened my muscles and eradicated the knots.
Now it was time for the 75-minute Oxygen Facial to cleanse my face and leave it glowing. After cleansing, toning, and massaging – which felt a little like a skin gym to give my face an uplift – my therapist used a mixture of brightening creams and oxygenated ampoules, which left my skin radiant.
We could have had a private 20-minute rose-petal bath but I didn’t want to lose the benefits of the gorgeous oils so we left, positively glowing. I’ll use any excuse to go back.
Hours 8am to 10pm
To book Call 04 701 1257 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Address Dubai Marina
The treatment For her, Diamond Multisensorial Facial and for him, Enrich Body treatment (body scrub and wrap) The cost Diamond Multisensorial Facial (Dh950, 90 minutes) Enrich Body Treatment (Dh590, 80 minutes)
The experience Diamonds are forever, especially on Valentine’s Day, so where else should a girl head with a beau on this most romantic day of the year than the Spa at The Address Dubai Marina for the ultimate his and her combination.
After a refreshing cucumber and mint welcome drink, we were whisked through to the VIP couple’s room to spend the next 90 minutes in total pampering luxury. My other half opted for the Enrich Body Treatment, which nourishes dry, sun-parched skin. A salt and coffee body scrub removed all the dead skin and boosted his circulation and then a scalp massage soon made all his stress disappear and had him snoozing.
I, meanwhile, was preparing to lose a decade with a diamond facial to regenerate my skin. Sadly my therapist Nyoman didn’t pull out a princess-cut solitaire to rub all over my face, but she did use luxury Spanish brand Natura Bissé diamond range to cleanse and moisturise my skin.
She explained as she used the various creams and serums that they would penetrate to the deepest layers, and reinforce my natural defences as well as lift my skin. Nyoman was a miracle worker – her hands were like a surgeon’s scalpel, lifting and moulding, making my newly hydrated skin form a new shape, so that by the end of the 80 minutes, my cheeks were plumper, the hoods on my eyes had gone – along with the dark circles beneath – and I looked younger with a radiant glow.
My husband was so deeply asleep I had to help the therapist wake him, but when he saw me he smiled. “You look fabulous,” he said sleepily. It’s my best Valentine’s present yet.
Hours 10am to 10pm
To book Call 04 436 7424 or email email@example.com.
The Oberoi Spa and Wellness Centre
The Oberoi Dubai
The treatment The Oberoi Massage
The cost Dh700 (90 minutes)
The experience Nestled on the third floor of the luxurious The Oberoi is a haven of oak, marble and a couple’s room complete with its own terrace pool for romantics on Valentine’s Day.
We opted for the five-star hotel’s signature 90-minute Oberoi massage, carried out by a male and female therapist, while we lay on the most comfortable treatment beds ever. I’m always disappointed when any beauty treatment doesn’t start with a refreshing foot scrub, and this one didn’t let me down. Hot towels were wrapped around my feet, which were then cleansed and dried.
My therapist then asked me if I had any problem areas – knotted shoulders and sore calves – and began the medium pressure massage. Usually I can tell within the first five minutes if a massage is going to be good – too soft and it’s ineffective. Too hard and it becomes an hour of tolerating pain rather than relaxing.
But after jumping up on the table to work on my shoulders and back, my therapist settled back into using Balinese-style strokes to have me convinced she was one of the best masseuses in the city. I spend 50 hours a week hunched over a computer so I’m plagued by a stiff neck and tight, knotted shoulders. The knots crunched, and disappeared under my therapist’s nimble fingers. She found each one in my lower back and followed up to my shoulder until I was so relaxed I had to force myself to stay awake.
My partner had lost the battle and was snoring just a few feet away. It made me feel superior, knowing I hadn’t succumbed to the soothing pressure. By the end of the 90 minutes I felt the best I had in ages, with all signs of stress and fatigue literally massaged away.
My partner was embarrassed that he’d snored in front of us all but our therapists assured us it was normal and a sign that they had done their jobs properly. We decided against a plunge in the private pool and went to the main one instead to soak up the sun and enjoy a delicious lunch.
“Did you like your treatment?” I asked my partner. He smiled back sheepishly. “I loved it,” he said.
Hours Open 24 hours
To book call 04 444 1444 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.