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Best places for a massage in Dubai

June 14, 2015
Best massage in Dubai -

SensAsia spa (before recent refurb)

Take some constant worrier genes, add a large amount of desk bound computer work, fold in a soupcon of stressful driving, mix together with bad posture from childhood asthma and, voila, you have cast-iron knotty shoulders. I’ve had this achey, clicky tension framing my neck as long as I can remember – and have passed them onto younger teen (benevolent Mum). My remedy is to sneak off for a massage every so often. Over the years I’ve tried many, many places; in the UK, overseas and here in Dubai. This city is chocabloc with spas and beauty salons, there must be hundreds if not thousands, so the choice is incredible. These are the places at the top of my list, depending on how I feel, how flush my budget is and the time available.

And yes, there is food…..

Best for consistent pampering

SensAsia Urban Spa:  When hoping for a spa voucher in my Christmas stocking, I cross my fingers that it’ll be for SensAsia.

What makes it special?

You can smell their seductive signature blend as soon as you step out of the lift. Even though the branches are small and in shopping malls and other urban establishments, you fall under their calming aura the minute you enter. The decoration is high-end Far Eastern. The spa is constantly innovating with new treatments on the menu. Their real strength is the consistency of treatment – you know that whoever you book they will deliver the same massage. The attention to detail and comfort is exceptional, from heated beds, to foot washing before your massage, a flower below your eye gaze under the head hole, to seamless, unjarring music. They train each new therapist for at least six weeks to ensure this happens and the group spa manager visits each branch every day.  After your treatment you are led to a recliner, covered in a blanket and a neck warmer. I could spend hours in the calm surroundings and find it hard to prise myself away.

Food and drink: Fresh, hot ginger tea – not too sweet – and crisp, cold, slightly salty cucumber and carrot sticks are brought to the recliner.

Recommended massage: The SensAsia hot stone massage is the ultimate 90 minutes of bliss.

More details: SensAsia Urban Spas – located at The Village Mall, The Palm Jumeirah, Al Manzil Souk Downtown and Emirates Golf Club (with discount for members). Packages available and an in-house loyalty scheme. No wet room facilities (sauna, steam etc).

Best for luxury

Amara Spa, Park Hyatt Dubai: Feel like you are living a celebrity lifestyle in the beautiful surroundings of this spa. A great place to take visitors or having a very special treat.

What makes it special?

The Park Hyatt is a very pretty hotel and the Arabic influenced decoration extends to the spa. On arrival you are asked for your preferences including the scents you like and the music. You can use the steam room or sauna beforehand (there’s no jacuzzi) before donning a huge, fluffy white robe and being led to your treatment room. This is where the luxury really starts as each room opens onto an outside courtyard and tiny garden. You can shower there or just sit and have a glass of water while the therapist washes your feet. You lie on and are covered with crisp white cotton sheets instead of towels which makes it feels as though you are at home in bed (albeit a luxurious version). After your treatment you can recline on loungers in a long outside courtyard lit with flaming torches. The reception phones for your valet-parked car to be brought when you’ve finished so you don’t have to hang around and ripple the calm waves of total bliss which are now washing over you.

Food and drink: Tea and small snacks including dates are brought to you as you recline. You can also exit the spa directly into the pool area and have lunch at the pool bar.

Recommended massage: Botanical Arabic massage – a perfect, aromatic blend of Eastern and Western techniques.

More details: Amara Spa, Park Hyatt Dubai  Couple and group bookings available (e.g. ‘Hen half day’). You can use the hotel pool and the fitness centre when you book a treatment.

Best for serenity

Spa Zen, Nassima Royal Hotel, Dubai: Really does live up to its name.

What makes it special? It’s hard to believe that somewhere this tranquil is situated in the middle of a busy area on the Sheikh Zayed Road. The first thing you are struck by is the silence when you enter this spa on one of the upper floors of the hotel. The interior lines are clean and decor minimal, it’s as though the smooth concrete walls are muffling everything outside. The wet areas of jacuzzi and steam room are similarly unadorned – no embellishments or ornaments interrupt the energy flow – but it doesn’t feel at all spartan, just incredibly relaxing, especially with great views over the city. A place to truly switch off your mind as well as your body. The minimalism doesn’t affect the quality of the treatment either – heated beds keep you warm while the room is comfortably cool, for instance – and the massage is high quality and service personal and attentive.

Food and drink: Tea is brought at the end of the treatment where you can relax on loungers. You can have lunch at the pool bar (use of the pool is included).

Recommended massage: Zen Royal Massage

More details: Spa Zen, Nassima Royal Hotel, Dubai Spa Zen runs different promotions and often give vouchers off your next treatment when you’ve booked a massage.

Best affordable de-stress

De La Mer Spa: Not just convenient for Umm Suqeim 2 dwellers like me, this spa keeps my knotty shoulders at bay as I can afford to visit regularly.

What makes it special? This lovely spa in a villa on the Jumeirah Beach Road boasts many of the features of more expensive places but keeps its prices lower. The decoration is Asian inspired and while not as high end as the more luxurious spas it is relaxing and comfortable. The changing area doesn’t have cubicles but once you are inside the treatment rooms the pampering from Thai or Filipino staff begins. Foot washing and good quality oils are used, and ginger tea and crudites are given to you on the sofa areas at the end of the treatment. The spa has an outdoor pool and many of the treatments use homemade scrubs and products made with botanicals grown in the garden. Booking service is friendly and efficient – you receive an email to confirm your appointment.

Food and drink:  Ginger tea and crudites are given to you on the sofa areas at the end of the treatment.

Recommended massage: Balinese

More details: De La Mer Day Spa There are vouchers in the Explorer Body (and HSBC Explorer) plus you can use Snappcard loyalty app and get one free massage for every five. There are regular promotions and discount packages. Parking is easy if you drive to the street behind and walk through the alleyway.

Reviews based on my own paid-for experiences. I received a complimentary head massage from SensAsia and a treatment from Zen Spa but after I’d written this review.

P.S. If you happen to be on Cebu in the Philippines, Chi at Shangri-La Mactan is absolute bliss. Also while I didn’t test it out, the Aum spa at Crimson Resort looks amazing too.

What’s the best massage you’ve ever had (or do you dislike them – it’s true KP does)? Have you anywhere to recommend in Dubai or elsewhere? Is it even possible to get a good massage in the UK (I’m always disappointed)?


  1. June 14, 2015 11:09 pm

    I’ve now got a bad case of spa envy…

    • June 15, 2015 8:22 am

      This is just the tip of the iceberg!

  2. June 14, 2015 11:51 pm

    You never mentioned my Hamam, where I was scrubbed & pummeled to within an inch of my life!!! (Was it called ‘Beauty Spot?)How I would like one of those now 😉

    • June 15, 2015 8:23 am

      I feel a guest post coming on!

  3. June 15, 2015 1:12 am

    Snap! I have the same knotty shoulders. I had an amazing massage at the Al Q’sar hotel near the Madinat souk whilst on honeymoon (almmost ten years ago!) In the UK I’ve heard The Corinthia Hotel in London has a fantastic spa and also CentreParcs in Woburn Forest, Bedfordshire – which I have a voucher for so must book in 🙂

    • June 15, 2015 8:26 am

      Al Qas’r is five minutes from my house and the Talise Spa has a fantastic reputation. Very high end. Have done yoga on the beach there but never a massage.

  4. ramblingtart permalink
    June 15, 2015 9:37 am

    Oh my, all of these sound exquisite! Especially since I’m moaning and groaning after shifting all sorts of stuff on the farm yesterday. 🙂

  5. June 15, 2015 10:24 am

    I like Spa Cordon in Sky Gardens building (opp DIFC) for a good reasonably priced pamper session. Amara is just bliss! Don’t they have a music menu too?

  6. June 15, 2015 11:15 am

    Great piece Sally. I always go to Sensasia at the Emirates Golf Club and love it. Its great to know that some of these spas offer use of the pool post treatment – I may check some of these out! 🙂 xx

  7. June 15, 2015 12:44 pm

    See now, I would just have to try them all! How wonderful!
    Have a wonderful and happy week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  8. June 15, 2015 1:30 pm

    I will never tire of visiting spas… sadly it’s not something that happens very often, but when it does I soak up every last minute of relaxation and pampering, and every last drop of aromatic oil!!! If i’m ever in Dubai i’m SO checking these out!

  9. June 15, 2015 1:43 pm

    Oh, I like sounds of all of them but the Botanical Arabic massage seems interesting and I love the dates with almonds and dish they are served in 😉

  10. June 15, 2015 2:36 pm

    Oh how could I choose between those?? But the Zen look of the Radisson really does appeal. I don’t get a massage nearly often enough – when I had one in Singapore the day after a long-haul flight it made such a huge difference though! Have you tried the spa at O&O The Palm, I didn’t have time to try it but it looked super-gorgeous…

  11. June 15, 2015 3:00 pm

    Heavenly! The Amra Spa looks really inviting…



  12. June 15, 2015 4:03 pm

    One of my first proper spa experience in Dubai was at Talise Spa at Madinat Jumeirah! Possibly the best I’ve had till date. Love summer months as well, since most spas offer 50% discounts, bargain! Ayurveda treatments are amazing at Balance Spa & at The Oberoi hotel – highly suggest.

  13. June 15, 2015 9:31 pm

    Mom’s been to a few but loves Maven Spa in Uptown Mirdiff, plus amazing ginger tea.

  14. Rhonda permalink
    June 15, 2015 11:48 pm

    I’ve been to many spas but find Essensuals aromatherapy center in Jumeirah center a hidden gem of a spa…perfect relaxing massages…reasonable prices ….look forward to every visit …makes my day definitely !

  15. June 16, 2015 2:56 pm

    Good post Sal. Your blog has really taken shape. I love the Park Hyatt in Dubai I need to check the one out here in Melbourne and see how it compares. Perhaps you should pay me a visit and we can do a few spas together 🙂 x

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