Haute Secrets: Salina Handa, Founder of SensAsia Urban Spa

A woman with a keen mind and savvy business sense, Salina Handa knows how to bring out the best in people. The founder of the fabulous SensAsia Urban Spa, came up with the concept for the facility while experiencing the most incredible Shiatsus massage that she’d ever had while she was in Hanoi. She knew immediately that she wanted to bring the experience back to Dubai, and indeed she has.

Born and raised in Thailand, at the age of 18 Salina traveled to the United States to attain her marketing degree from Boston University. Salina moved to Dubai following graduation, and become a phenom in the world of finance and marketing, where she worked for powerhouses such as Meryll Lynch and Tetra Pak.

True bliss can be found at Salina Handa's SensAsia Urban Spas throughout the UAE.
True bliss can be found at Salina Handa’s SensAsia Urban Spas throughout the UAE.

Following her trip to Hanoi, where she thought of her business model, Salina worked hard to make it a success. Her first Urban Spa opened at The Village Mall in Jumeirah. Handa quickly realized the opportunity and market for growth. The Palm Jumeirah Spa opened in 2009, Emirates Golf Club in 2011, SensAsia Express at Mall of the Emirates in 2012, and Souk Al Manzil in downtown Dubai in 2013.

In 2014, Salina Handa celebrated a decade as the founder of the largest independent spa chain in the UAE, and was also named as one of Dubai’s most influential women by VOGUE India that same year.

A devoted wife to her husband Kavit and adoring mother to twin daughters, Salina took a moment out of her busy schedule to discuss all that she holds dear in Dubai with our Dr. Nasrine Abushakra.

Salina Handa, Founder, SensAsia Urban Spa.
Salina Handa, Founder, SensAsia Urban Spa.

Where were you born?
Bangkok, Thailand

How long have you lived in your region?
17 years in Dubai

Palm Jumeirah

Founder and Managing Director, SensAsia Urban Spa

Favorite Restaurant?
Jean-Georges Kitchen, Dubai

Best Sushi?
Tomo at Raffles

Best Italian?
Bice, JBR

Best Dessert?
Anything with warm baked chocolate in it. I’m easy to please!

Best place for a romantic date?
Pier Chic, Al Qasr

Best Sunday Brunch?
La Serre’s Boulangerie

Best place for a power business meeting?
Capital Club, DIFC

If you have out of town guests, which hotel would you recommend?
Ritz-Carlton, DIFC

Favorite shopping venue/boutique?
I mainly shop online! For food, The Farmhouse Souk Al Manzil, which is conveniently just a few steps from our Downtown branch of SensAsia!

Best Spa?
Hard one! SensAsia Urban Spas.

Favorite Cultural Event?
The Emirates Airline Dubai International Jazz Festival

Best Steakhouse?
The Rib Room, Emirates Towers

Best Pizza?
Cucina Mia . It’s a ittle place in JBR opposite Le Royal Meridien. Introduced to us by our Italian foodie friend!

Best Gym/Athletic Facility?
Fit Republik

Describe your city in three words:
Vibrant and ever-changing

Favorite historic/legendary place to see or explore?
The Spice Souk in Deira

All-around favorite spot in in your town?
DIFC – for the pace, vibe and quality

Best Aspect of your town/city/region?
Dubai is quite literally a melting pot of all cultures and opinions. Living here is refreshing, and opens the mind.