WHAT I TRIED The Spring Glow package at the Park Hyatt Dubai's Amara spa.
WHAT I EXPECTED Not much, to be honest. While trying out treatments for this page is certainly one of the perks of the job, they all really blend into one mix of oils, exfoliators, darkened rooms and piped music. "Another hard day at the office," was my thought as my husband and I were led to a waiting area where our therapists would collect us to take us to the couples treatment suite.
WHAT HAPPENED I suppose I should have known I was in for something different by the surroundings. The Park Hyatt Dubai has got to be one of the most exquisite (and I don't often use that word) hotels in the UAE. The pavilion that leads to the spa is a space I have always wanted to photograph and have reproduced at home when I finally make my millions. We were led into a little garden where my therapist, Julie from Bali, washed my feet in lukewarm water. While this was going on I was given a music menu to choose the music I wanted to listen to. I wanted classical but my husband wanted Mediterranean and as it was his birthday I let him choose. Generous, I know.
That was the last I heard of him, or the music, really, because once I was on my massage bed, I was oblivious to anything going on apart from the treatment. I am a bit of a worrier and so losing myself entirely is an unusual experience, but Julie managed to make me forget about everything outside the treatment room and just focus on totally relaxing and enjoying my husband's birthday. I even fell asleep and awoke to the magical words, "Your massage is finished, Miss Helena. Now we will start on your facial."
By the way, the massage was an aromatherapy massage using Aromatherapy Associates products, my favourite brand. Julie was amazing on the pressure points and used a mixture of peppermint, geranium and bergamot pure essential oils to help me unwind.
The Spring Time Special facial that followed is one of four (depending on skin type) Anne Simonin Facials. The facial went on for more than an hour and included all the usual stuff: exfoliation, face masks, extraction (not too painful actually, for once), but the best part was a lymphatic drainage massage that just felt sublime. Julie completed each section of the facial by resting her hands firmly on my shoulders, and throughout kept the pressure points theme going. I really felt I was in the hands of a true professional who knew exactly what she was doing and why at every moment.
THE VERDICT Julie helped me to sit up after the treatment and led me to the relaxation room where my meal was waiting. It's amazing what an appetite you can work up after a couple of hours lying around doing nothing. I had an incredible post-treatment euphoria and felt utterly wonderful, almost floating. I somehow made it back to our room, where my husband had been waiting for the past hour (he had only a massage). I went on and on about the marvellous time I had just had. "It was perfect," I enthused. "My only suggestion would be a pillow under the knees during the facial."
"If you don't shut up I'll put a pillow over your head," he told me.
Happily he didn't, and when we got home our charming son told me I looked "really young, about 19". Admittedly he is myopic, but I really do think I looked better than I have for months, and the effect is still there, several days on. I am going back for my birthday.
The Spring Glow package at Amara spa regularly costs Dh1,050 but is reduced to Dh890 during March. In April a new spring offer will be announced. Reservations are recommended. Amara spa, Park Hyatt Dubai, 04 602 1660.