Out of this world spa
MARIA CROCE gets a taste of the high life 36 floors up in the palatial Assawan Spa at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai
Images: Courtesy the Burj Al Arab and Jumeirah
There can surely be no more dramatic a setting for a spa than on the 36th floor of one of the world’s most luxurious hotels.
The distinctive sail-shaped Burj Al Arab hotel in Dubai which is set out on its own private artificial island has been dubbed the world’s only seven-star hotel.
It’s a favourite with a-list celebrities such as super model Claudia Schiffer and is the ultimate location for top-class pampering where the staff are super attentive and no expense has been spared. Not surprisingly, security is tight and you have to have a booking to be allowed onto the private bridge to access the hotel and its luxurious spa.
Once inside the lobby is dripping with jewelled colours and gold with dramatic fountains throwing spurts of water into the air that look like jumping fish. Up at the spa on the 18th floor (which is actually 36 floors up due to each floor having duplex suites) there are saunas, steam rooms and plunge pools with separate facilities for men and women – as well as a shared pool.
You can dip your toe in opulence with a swim in an infinity pool with pillars in zigzag patterns of turquoise and gold mosaics, but as you get near the glass the views are breath-taking. You feel on top of the world as you look down at Jumeirah Beach resort and the tiny sun umbrellas on the sand and luxury yachts in the marina below.
There was a lifeguard on hand who was also quick to turn on the Jacuzzi for my husband and I as we made our way over and then she quickly dried away any splashes when we’d got out. Everything was immaculate.
There are 14 therapy rooms and also gyms and a fitness studio. The spa is being re-branded as Talise, in line with the other spas in the Jumeirah hotels. But each will retain their unique qualities from their different settings.
I got to sample an Around the World Signature Massage (which costs AED 950 – around £170). The therapist used techniques from different countries, from traditional Shiatsu, Thai, Swedish and Balinese massages – some dry some with oil. Through the blissful 85 minutes the treatment went around the world and out of this world.
It began with a foot ritual, where I sat by the wall of windows in a pretty pink marbled room, looking out at the dramatic setting of the Persian Gulf and the artificial islands of the Palm Jumeirah in the distance.
My feet were bathed in a bowl of pebbles and water with rose petals and tea tree oil and then massaged with a sea salt scrub.
Once I’d finished my treatment I went through to a relaxation area to enjoy a pot of green tea in a fine china cup. The chance to relax in the spa certainly gave me a glimpse of a different world. It’s not an everyday venue – but a place for a special treat. Other treatments available on the spa menu included a platinum rare facial by La Prairie for AED 1,995 (around £350) and caviar body treatment by La Prairie for AED 1,195 (around £210). You can even have a temporary platinum tattoo for a night out at AED 495 (around £88).
Spending an afternoon at the spa certainly gave us a taste of the high life – and it was difficult to leave it behind and come back down those 36 floors to earth.
The SPA Traveller Tips
• Arrive in plenty of time to clear security and take in the opulence of the décor.
• The infinity pool is a must to feel on top of the world.
• Check out afternoon tea with a view at the Skyview Bar on the 28th floor (which is actually on the 56th floor due to all the suites being double-storey) – but make sure you book in advance.
• The Burj Al Arab holds 28 double-storey floors which accommodate 202 bedroom suites.
• A helicopter or Rolls Royce transfer is available from the airport.