WHAT I TRIED The CEO Treatment, a three-hour package that includes the Ultimate Shave, High Flyer Pedicure, Rejuvenator Facial and the Therapeutic Sports Massage.
WHAT I WANTED When all your golf passes have expired, the fishing trip has been cancelled and the nightmarish reality of "mall time" with the wife is dawning as an unavoidable certainty, panic not. Cleverly located within the new Fashion Dome of Mall of the Emirates is the Urban Male Lounge (UML), an oasis of man-centric calm in the oestrogen-fuelled trauma that is mall shopping in the UAE.
WHAT HAPPENED The UML is unashamedly for men only. Each treatment room has a private flat-screen TV with hundreds of viewing options, including the Discovery Channel and backdated episodes of Top Gear and CSI, and comes equipped with reclining massage-enabled La-Z-Boy chairs - perfect. The treatment rooms are partially private, acknowledging your desire to be left alone to your own entertainment and treatment of choice but avoiding the sometimes difficult intimacy between client and therapist of a totally secluded room. Teething problems of a newly opened branch resulted in the actual treatments I received being a pedicure, reflexology, a massage (although I had to do without full spa amenities such as a sauna and a Jacuzzi) and a haircut. All were performed by very capable and skilled staff, who had the added social finesse of being able to engage in conversation, or not, depending on your preference.
THE VERDICT While I found the waiting area a little public and the administration sometimes ad hoc, the UML has largely captured all the necessary requirements of a successful operation: location, skilled staff, varied and essential service offerings, customer experience and pricing. The haircut was my particular favourite, matching or exceeding the experience of a Savile Row barber in London. This was closely followed by the pedicure, which I must publicly admit was wonderfully relaxing. The societal recognition of male pampering has taken time, but the UML is entrenching its acceptance by providing the rationale and means of escape from the bludgeoning wife-imposed torment of mall trawling. The UML at Mall of the Emirates builds on the reputation of the DIFC branch and can be assured of my future custom.
CEO Treatment, Dh700, the Urban Male Lounge, Mall of the Emirates, 04 395 1103; DIFC, 04 425 0350