A night out together is taking on new meaning as more couples choose spa treatments over a movie or dinner. Melanie Swan looks at this new idea of a shared experience
As an increasing number of couples go to spas to get treatments together, the Talise Spa at the Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel in Dubai has launched its own couples' night every Thursday. Currently more than 200 couples come every month, according to the establishment.
Paul Hawco, Talise's director, thinks the privacy partners get during the exclusive nights allows for quality time, providing an alternate venue to enjoy each other's company - away from malls, restaurants and cinemas.
"Activities like seeing a movie are quite passive. Going to a spa is really doing something together," he says.
"It's about timing too, which is why we've done this in the evening - so it's a place couples can just relax in at the end of the week, even if they're not doing treatments."
Hawco says demand for the shared spa experience was highlighted during Valentine's Day this year, when a number of couples sought alternative ways of spending time together at the Jumeirah hotel.
"Having the private treatment suites - which are spaces and not just treatment rooms - gives the feeling of exclusivity as well as privacy," says Hawco. "It feels like you have a whole spa to yourself. Most spas have a couples' room, but we offer a whole suite with a Jacuzzi, candles and steam rooms. It's a whole experience."
The demand is reflected elsewhere, too. Annie Valentin, the spa manager at the new Kempinski Hotel on the Palm Jumeirah, says that during weekends, many of their male clientele come with their partners.
The trend of couples' night can be attributed to the fact that more and more men are opening themselves up to the spa experience, she says.
Many of the spa's male clientele opt for traditional treatments such as deep tissue massage, as well as using the steam room or the sauna - though this is changing as well.
"I am starting to see new evidence that men are slowly showing interest in spa treatments as part of their overall health regime, especially those who work in offices," she says. "They are showing more interest in anti-ageing products and applying proper skincare techniques."
One therapist at the K Medi Spa in Jumeirah says that about 40 per cent of its customers are men, many getting laser hair removal as well as non-invasive anti-ageing facial treatments.
Galina Antoniouk, the spa director at Grosvenor House hotel's B/Attitude Spa, says that they, too, have seen a marked rise in the number of male spa goers in the country.
"We believe the context for this is two-fold: evolving traditional attitudes becoming more accepting of this as a male pastime, and men increasingly becoming aware of the benefits of spa treatments, particularly in the face of Dubai's harsh climate and extremely fast-paced lifestyle. The treatments help them maintain a healthy, youthful look and balanced frame of mind."
Antoniouk says popular treatments used by men in their spa include facials and marma therapy, a form of energy healing massage.
"We've seen the male spa business grow from 25 per cent of our overall spa business to 45 per cent in the short space of one year," she says.
For more information on Talise Spa's couples' night, visit www.jumeirah.com/talise or call 04 453 0000