Travel review: Best spas in the GCC

Whether you’re planning a staycation or a vacation here are some of our favourite spas to relax and rejuvenate this February Where? The Spa at Palace Downtown Dubai, UAE What’s on offer? Offering an exclusive retreat for those seeking a relaxing environment to rejuvenate and refresh mind and body, The Spa boasts Oriental treatments in …

Whether you’re planning a staycation or a vacation here are some of our favourite spas to relax and rejuvenate this February

Where? The Spa at Palace Downtown Dubai, UAE

What’s on offer? Offering an exclusive retreat for those seeking a relaxing environment to rejuvenate and refresh mind and body, The Spa boasts Oriental treatments in a unique Arabic environment. Facilities include hammam slab, Jacuzzis, Monsoon showers, steam rooms, a dedicated consultation space, relaxation lounge and retail counter. After your treatment, head to Al Bayt lounge where you can sip on the finest, refreshing teas while enjoying panoramic views of Burj Lake and The Dubai Fountain.

Get in touch: Call 04-4287805 or e-mail /

Where? Six Senses Spa Zighy Bay, Oman
What’s on offer?
Six Senses Spa Zighy Bay is a refuge for mind and body; it’s a retreat from the busy humdrum of daily life; a haven for the calm and relaxed soul; a sanctuary of ultimate well-being. Committed to delivering integrated wellness experiences along with peace, tranquility, fitness and health, Six Senses combine innovative and ancient holistic treatments from expert in-house and visiting wellness consultants.

Get in touch: Call +968-26735555 or visit

Where? The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, Bahrain

What’s on offer? This impressive spa showcases a range of purely indulgent packages that aim to ignite a sense of balance and serenity. Made up of four interconnected buildings woven together with pathways and lusciously green gardens with modern design filled with natural light, the 17-room spa here reflects modern Moroccan and Turkish influences.

Using only ethnically sourced products, treatments at The Spa are inspired by traditional healing therapies from Asia, India and the Middle East. Choose from a selection of massages like the signature Bahrain massage, hot stone massage or a deep tissue massage.

We’d recommend the invigorating oud massage for easing stress, melting away any tension and re-energising. The deep tissue massage applies firm pressure with relaxing strokes to ensure balance and harmony for both the body and mind.

Additional treatments like reflexology, aromatherapy, body wraps and exfoliation are also available at the The Spa, or beauty pampering like hairdressing, manicure, pedicure, waxing are available from the beauty salon and the barber shop.

And, don’t forget to bring your sports gear and swimwear along with you as there’s a fully-equipped fitness centre, a studio for yoga, Pilates, spinning and other exercise classes, plus five different swimming experiences, ensuring that there’s something for everyone.

Before or after your treatment or workout, unwind in the male or female dressing rooms, which are no ordinary locker rooms – complete with Turkish hammams, a whirlpool, a salt-inhalation centre and a relaxation area with a private terrace for women.

When it comes to healthy food, Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay has several options to choose from, including CUT by Wolfgang Puck where you can enjoy light bites such as blue crab and shrimp cocktail with spicy tomato horseradish, or a butter lettuce salad with avocado, Roquefort blue cheese and herb vinaigrette.

Get in touch: Call +973 1711 5000 or visit

Where? CHI, The Spa, Shangri-La Hotel Qaryat Al Beri, UAE

What’s on offer? Drawing inspiration from the origins of the Shangri-La legend, a place of personal peace, enchantment and well-being, all massages and treatments at CHI, The Spa are based on authentic natural healing methods found in traditional well-being practices shared by many Asian cultures. Combining the flavours we love with pampering, opt for an Arabian Date Body Wrap, or an Arabic Coffee Scrub, among many other available treatments. Then for dinner, enjoy a refined experience at Bord Eau French restaurant, where the chef de cuisine prepares healthy dishes using seasonal fresh produce that is flown in from France.

Get in touch: Call 02-5098900 or e-mail

Where? Fairmont The Palm, Dubai, UAE

What’s on offer? Offering a wide range of health and fitness activities, Fairmont The Palm’s Willow Stream Spa and leisure facilities act as a place for relaxing, socialising, wellbeing and fitness. Enjoy a spa day pass for Dhs120, or take one of many classes including Aquaspin, which involves spin bikes submerged inside water to ride on for 45 minutes (morning and evening, daily), or full moon yoga on February 3 from 8pm. Or opt for something a little different and take a ‘state of one self-investment’ personalised 3-hour workshop, which is includes a 1-hour meditative massage, a creative art therapy session, and a self-investment gift, priced at Dhs950.

Get in touch: Call 04-4573545 or e-mail

Where? Talise Spa, Madinat Jumeirah, Dubai, UAE

What’s on offer? A unique destination combined with luxurious spa experiences, Talise Spa is peacefully located within the tranquil waterways of Madinat Jumeirah. With treatments personalised to cater to what you’re looking for, choose from a variety of signature experiences, facials, massages and body treatments – all performed in one of the 26 treatment rooms, inclusive of three couples’ suites. Afterwards, fill-up on nutritious salads or energy drinks at Talise Café, offering á la carte dining throughout the day and light meals in the evening – all low in calories and high in protein.

Get in touch: Call 04-3666818 or e-mail

Where? ESPA, Yas Viceroy Abu Dhabi, UAE

What’s on offer? Enter a sanctuary of rejuvenation at ESPA, where classic healing traditions blend with modern techniques. With nine treatment rooms, separate private areas for male and female guests, a relaxation lounge overlooking the Yas Marina race track, plus the Viceroy Presidential Treatment Suite featuring its own hammam, steam room with a rain shower and color therapy, and Kinesis fitness equipment – this spa is idea for those looking for a quick escape from their fun-filled stay on Yas Island. Post-treatment, pop into Kazu, the hotel’s Japanese restaurant for a delicious, low-cal meal from the robatayaki grill, or the sushi and sashimi bar.

Get in touch: Call 02-6560862 or e-mail

Where? Rixos Premium Dubai, UAE

What’s on offer?
Newly opened at the buzzing beachfront area of Jumeirah Beach Residence, Rixos Premium Dubai is a hotel alive with vibrancy and style. The ultra-modern property boasts trendy, contemporary interiors and an upbeat atmosphere – it’s just the place for those looking to shake off the festive cobwebs, with a great selection of restaurants to choose from – nine restaurants and bars to be exact, a state-of-the-art fitness centre, RixGym, tranquility at Natureland Spa, and an outdoor swimming pool that leads onto the beach.

The lifestyle-driven hotel is 35-floors high and is home to 414 stylishly designed rooms and suites, some of which look out onto the Arabian Gulf and the world’s largest ferris wheel (in the making), The Dubai Eye.

True to Rixos’ origins, the hotel’s signature eatery Turquoise serves flavoursome, authentic Turkish cuisine from breakfast through to dinner, and also offers Friday brunch every week from 1 – 4pm. Before watching the sunset at the pool, journey through an interactive buffet that showcases Middle Eastern, Turkish, Mediterranean and Far Eastern flavours – expect highlights like Turkish-style pasta, donner kebab, grilled meat, stuffed mussels and Turkish Künefe. The selection also includes generous vegetarian options and a plentiful salad section.

Upstairs at Crystal Lounge, artisanal brews take center stage. For a moment of relaxation (perhaps before or after you enjoy a spa treatment), listen to the sounds of a soulful saxophone player and pianist as you sip on fragrant teas and premium coffee blends, complimented by light canapes and Turkish delights. The Afternoon Tea experience is priced at Dhs190 per person and takes place daily from 2 – 6pm.

Other dining experiences include the beachside, seafood restaurant Riviera Beach Grill, or next door you’ll find Azure Beach with its pool, beach and outdoor lounge facilities. For steak lovers, STK Steakhouse launched just a few weeks ago (see review on p15), as well as Black Tap Craft Burgers & Shakes, and Lock, Stock & Barrel. The hotel is also home to Inner City Zoo club.

To work off dinner, head to RixGym, which boasts floor-to-ceiling views of the Arabian Gulf. Fully-equipped with Technogym equipment, the gym includes features like a weight machine, free weights, bicycles, treadmills and elliptical trainers.

Find your serenity at Natureland Spa retreat afterwards, where a signature Ottoman hammam awaits, set to revitalise with Turkish rituals. Expect a journey of deep cleansing, rigorous exfoliation, detoxification and purification leaving your body with increased circulation, a healthier immune system, completely relaxed and nourished beautiful skin. Using acupressure massage, therapists are trained in a technique built upon the therapeutic usage of applying pressure to acupuncture meridian points. By clearing blockages in these meridians, blood circulation can be improved, it promotes healing, and increases metabolism to remove toxins in the body.

All in all? This hotel is a stylish property that’s bustling with life. There’s plenty of delicious options for dining, a lively beach club area and a gorgeous, relaxing spa to chill out at.

Get in touch: Call 04-5200000 or visit