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Eastern Opulence: St. Regis’s Iridium Spa

The wealth of luxury hotels popping up all over Abu Dhabi is bringing a host of high-end specialty spas to the capital. One such one is Iridium Spa at St. Regis Hotel on Saadiyat Island. The venue boasts a 3500 square meter facility including 12 treatment rooms and three spa suites entitled appropriately Moroccan, Thai and Contemporary according to the treatment received. Stepping into this oasis of calm overlooking stunning sea views off Saadiyat Island, the visitor feels as if they’ve stepped far away from the frenetic pace of the nearby cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

Upon entering the space set out in cream and ivory tones, I was greeted by friendly staff who immediately provided me with a tea specially prepared by the Spa’s manager and two refreshing towels. The energy was serene and inviting, yet when being led down the multitude of corners decorated with a few vintage Ottoman displays and fantastic black chandeliers, I began feeling as if I were more in an old home redecorated with a kitsch ensemble of ancient Eastern memorabilia. The dressing room was indeed a bit awkwardly designed in the manner of a semi-circular room with leather upholstered seats which stake their place grandly amidst the tall lockers. The rich ivory and cream colored tones were comforting and provided a clean and refreshing glow akin to 18th century French decor with a hints of Eastern traces found in the ornate chandeliers and intricate inlaid tiles.

The circular jacuzzi room with its rain shower cubicles, steamer and sauna was an escapade away from the mysterious decor into an experience of peace and serenity before beginning my one-hour signature Iridium massage. My therapist soon signaled me that she was ready to begin and I was led once again through the myriad ivory-colored corridors. She began with a brief foot wash and then asked me if there were any specific areas which needed attention. I tell her that I do quite a lot of yoga, pilates and dance and was a former ballerina and have always suffered from tight calves and back problems. Deciding to concentrate on these areas, the therapist first had me face downwards and placed her hands along my back and legs to see if where there was soreness. She then began gently massaging the back of my legs targeting my calves, before gradually moving on to my back and then arms and shoulders.

One of my favorite parts of the treatment was the head massage. So often overlooked, by simply manipulating soft tissues in the shoulders and the scalp the rest of the body seems to almost instantaneously come into equilibrium. It could have also been that this was an area which I needed to release and it was done effectively. Although I wish a bit more pressure were applied, the overall experience was deeply relaxing and balancing for the entire body. I didn’t feel sleepy, but re-energized and refreshed.

Iridium Spa, St. Regis Hotel, Saadiyat Island, Abu Dhabi +971 24988996.

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New York February / March 2014
New York February / March 2014