WHAT I TRIED The Amara 60-minute signature massage at the Park Hyatt Dubai spa.
WHAT I EXPECTED We all know the score: a darkened room, quiet except for some awful pan pipe music, and a nice young woman who covers you in oil and rubs it in from your head to your toes. If you're lucky, you get to fall asleep too. An hour later and you're back on the streets, slimy as a chip butty.
WHAT HAPPENED First shock was that the nice young woman turned out to be a nice young man named Sangeeth. First, I steamed up in the steam room; this was followed by a foot bath. Then it was onto the day bed and I was given the choice of some music other than the dreaded yoga-type twanging. Out of Balinese, Mediterranean and a host of other choices, I plumped for classical. If I was going to die at the hands of an Indian masseur, Mozart would be my soundtrack.
Then Sangeeth went to work. My shoulders thought a small elephant was gently walking on them; my feet afterwards felt like I was walking on air. And I hate to be sexist, ladies, but his extra strength meant he could reach the parts that I thought had seized up forever. I also liked the oil that smelt of frankincense and myrrh; made me feel like a wise man.
Then he stopped pummelling me, and it was green tea, almonds and apricots on a day bed in the lovely courtyard.
THE VERDICT There are few more elegant places than the Park Hyatt spa. If I ever publish another book I'd host the launch party in the Moroccan-style pavilion. And I'd certainly make my next massage of choice at the Amara spa. Less time consuming than writing a novel, and much more rewarding.
The Amara signature massage at the Park Hyatt Dubai costs Dh460 for one hour or Dh640 for 90 minutes. Call 4 602 1234 or email firstname.lastname@example.org