A spa is mankind’s gift to mankind, for lack of a better description. What does not lack at all though, is ShuiQi spa’s treatments. You’d believe me once you learn that the spa I speak of is in Dubai’s very own abode of haute-ness, Atlantis. And I know I needn’t say more. If you’re even remotely familiar with Atlantis, The Palm, you’re convinced. But trust me when I say this, reading about it only brings you closer, in your head, to the actual experience.
The Atlantis, as one would imagine, is a busy hotel bustling with tourists exploring the shops, restaurants, and a host of other engagements. But as I walked towards the spa, the surroundings somehow began to seem quieter and quieter still. After a while, all I could hear was the soothing sound of water and upon searching, I found it brushing across the two-story dark stonewall and gurgling. It was the perfect prelude to the treatment’s beginning.
The “treatment”, however, wouldn’t have just begun, had it not been for the attentive hotel staff that took care of reservations, given that an array of therapies await you upon reaching, something that could be delightfully disorienting for a first timer at ShuiQi’s. Even if, of the host of their soothing solutions you realize you could settle for the best and opt for the range of Shiseido solutions or an ESPA Treatment, it is especially disconcerting having to chose between the two of them.
“A pioneer of the 19th century and still unique today, Shiseido is the fruit of an alliance between Eastern traditions and philosophies and Western science and technology.” The said alliance gains immense prominence among ShuiQi’s healings. From a ‘Face and Body Experience’ and ‘Japanese Ritual’ as its signature treatments, the service offers facial, among other things, for men and women, ending in a ‘Journey of Well-Being and Inner Calm’ that covers ‘bathing ceremonies’, all being 2 hour 30 minute rituals rendering complete alluring beauty and relaxation. Still, I decided to test the ESPA.
Let me warn you now. ‘ESPA Treatment’ is broad term, albeit one thrown around generously at ShuiQi (read: incredibly popular). And why wouldn’t it be! ESPA covers everything from a ‘Contour and Firm Body Treatment’ to facials such as the ‘New Cellular Renewal Enzyme Facial’ to signature treatments that include the ESPA special, ‘Totally Personalized Body Massage’ treatment. All, quite self-explanatory in themselves! With or without a reservation, though, I’m sure the staff’s dedication to clients stays keen and commendable.
It was this very keenness that led me to understand the need of the indulgent hour was a ‘Deep Muscle Reviver’ treatment. Once in the spa, I stood rapt, acknowledging the advice doled out to me by my therapist. With separate men and women areas, the spa has a total of 27 treatment rooms and is spread over two levels. My therapist Thomas guided me to my designated section as I stepped through earth-hued natural stone steps. Streaming water pathways did a welcoming dance of sorts on these steps, filling me further and further with joy and anticipation.
Entering the room, I was pleasantly engulfed in patterns from the Orient. An incredible aroma wafting from candles perfectly complimented my plush surroundings. My 120-minute stress-relieving ESPA ritual began with body brushing and exfoliation and a promise to soothe aching muscles, nourish the skin, balance my mind even. An aromatherapy back massage followed, personalized as per my ‘medium intensity’ request. I chose the energizing body oil and insisted on focus for my lower back. Combined with warm natural marine mud, the revitalizing, zesty concoction had a moisturizing effect, which, I didn’t know at the time would result in soft, supple skin for days on end.
The massage extended to my lower legs, easing aches and pains I didn’t know existed and finishing with a completely personalized facial. I wasn’t done though. All this bliss was followed by further blissful flourishes in the relaxation lounge. My mind soaked in what I had just experienced, even as my skin basked in a newfound glow of nourishment. The compactness of the lounge was compensated by some peppermint tea and a neck warmer, even though some more space would’ve been ideal. Still, ESPA is all I could’ve asked for, I felt.
Because walking out of the spa was almost like coming out of a trance. I wondered how I’d managed to progress from the treatment room to the lounge and back into the passageway. What I did know for sure was that the waking reverie was totally worth it. The aromatic candles had left an imprint on my soul, with their soft light and fragrance, much as the scented creams had, doused on my skin. Every squeeze, every knead had transformed me from my, lets say, pre-spa state to one with a floating sensation. And as I floated back into the outside world, I felt pampered, preened and elevated to the modern-day equivalent of enlightenment.
Deep Muscle Reviver treatment, Dh750.
ShuiQi Spa, Atlantis The Palm,
United Arab Emirates,
Telephone: +971 4 426 1020