Nestled in the heart of Downtown Dubai within the luxurious five-star The H Hotel, the Mandara Spa is the only Mandara Spa in the UAE. What it offers is an urban retreat providing an eclectic mix of treatments from cultures all over the world, including traditional Balinese treatments in line with the spa’s origins as well as European and Arabian skincare treatments. I ventured into The H Hotel one day after work to experience the spa’s exotic menu.
After a long day in the office, the soft glow emanating from the Mandara Spa welcomes one with open and calm arms. My therapist, who was from Bali, gave me a tour of the vicinity. The spa boasts 10 specially appointed spa treatment suites for men and women, including two for couples, thermal and hydrotherapy facilities comprising of steam chambers, saunas, whirlpools and experiential showers as well as relaxation lounges were a selection of complimentary fresh fruit, flavored waters, and exotic herbal teas are served. I could hear the sound of running water as I walked around. It was peaceful and quieting after a long day. I suddenly became aware that I was quite alone. There didn’t seem to be many clients – unless, that is, they were each one of them in a treatment room. It was a welcome feeling to seem to have the spa entirely to myself. So often one enters a luxurious hotel spa in Dubai that is packed to the brim with eager women awaiting their session of pampering.
I was to try the Fancy Footwork Massage – a reflexology treatment based on the same therapeutic principles that have been practiced in Asia since antiquity. My therapist explained how foot massage helps to release toxins and restore your body’s energy flow. And that’s exactly why it is so important – different pressure points in the feet correlate with specific areas of the body.
I was first seated for several minutes while my therapist gently cleansed and massaged my feet. Next I was guided to the treatment bed where different points in my feet and calves were massaged with deep pressure. The experience lasted 65 minutes and allowed me to seep into full relaxation mode – soon forgetting the world outside. While pressure was not applied to my upper back and head, the massage lifted the headache and sore neck that I had been experiencing for days.
I spoke with my therapist during the session and she explained the importance of massage in Bali. It is a way of life. Within the family, it is regarded as a way to communicate and bond and is often practiced from a very early age. The intention is to create harmony of body, mind and spirit and strenghten the connection between the giver and receiver. While we are familiar with the term “Balinese Massage”, for the Balinese family practicing massage there is no one particular technique — it is done from the heart. Just like the old Balinese saying, “giving without feeling is like food without salt.” Giving is therefore just as important as receiving.
Afterwards, I was guided into the relaxation lounge where I read my book and sipped on chamomile tea. A quick dip into the whirlpool and sauna left me refreshed and invigorated. It was truly a Balinese experience in the heart of Dubai.
The Mandara Spa is open daily, from 9am-10pm. Prices start from Dhs290 (for an express massage). For more information, visit www.mandaraspa.com