It’s a good thing Melia Dubai is launching new massage packages, because finding the place in the back corners of Bur Dubai is a stress-inducing experience.
The mid-afternoon assault of sun and sand is, however, immediately soothed upon entering the hotel’s gleaming interior – its blend of black-leather furniture and dark marble confirms Melia’s claim to be a hotel favoured by the jet-set. It’s definitely masculine and I felt slightly naked walking to the lobby without a briefcase.
So, if anyone knows what is needed when planning a two-hour Businessman Detox treatment, it should be the folks at Melia’s in house spa, YHI. For the most part, they succeed in delivering a smooth treatment – although it is let down slightly by a few avoidable service errors.
Any businessman worth his KPIs will tell you that time is money. As such, the six minutes I spent in the empty YHI lobby on the rooftop level, waiting to be served, was positively sigh-inducing.
The frustration only increased in the changing room, where the white robe tucked in my locker was, alarmingly, stained with three small orange splodges (two on the chest and one of the back).
The kind staff immediately apologised and hinted at a miscommunication with the laundry department and immediately supplied me with a fresh one.
The next hurdle was the locker itself – even with staff assistance, it took half a dozen tries until it accepted my pin code. My sighs grew heavier – this was not relaxing at all.
Maybe it was all one big diabolical ploy, though, a trick from a secret Dark Arts of The Zen scroll encouraging the customer to enter the treatment room with maximum stress and discomfort, all the better to achieve great transformative, relaxing results. If that was the case then it worked, as package is an equal mix of the serene and the rigorous. The latter dominated the first half of the two-hour treatment, held in a modernly furnished space with the table facing a mirror and a bathroom and shower tucked behind.
An hour was dedicated to light exfoliation, with the masseuse using an apricot-honey scrub that was smooth and sweet-smelling.
Then the detoxifying work began. The heated wrap covering the bed was turned on and an olive, moisturised heated mask was placed on my face for 15 minutes as the toxins were sweated out and the moisturiser worked its magic on my open pores.
The half-time shower to wash away the sweat and scrub-residue was a welcome reprieve – it also cleared the way for the one-hour massage that followed.
Using a spicy lavender scent I chose in the lobby, augmented by the spa’s fusion soundtrack of Asian instruments and string section, I underwent a light massage that was more about producing a balanced mental state rather than tackling knots or muscle tensions.
While the masseuse’s technique was well calibrated, it would have been useful during the pre-treatment interview to offer some options for the strength of the massage, as I could have used deeper work on my normally tense neck.
All in all, the treatment did fulfil its aim, insofar as I emerged from the room on the right side of lightheadedness and with my skin feeling softer and supple.
The last, pleasant, surprise was awaiting me in the post-treatment room, in the form of ginger-and-honey tea.
It was absolutely delicious and I drained the whole pot, which offered three half-sized mugs – and made my final ordeal with the stubborn robo-locker almost worth it.
• A 120-minute Businessman’s Detox at Melia Dubai, 23 Kuwait Street, Bur Dubai, costs Dh600. Call 04 386 8111 or visit www.yhispa.com