The VIP Treatment at the Palace Downtown Dubai continued, and I welcomed it with open arms, with a luxury treatment at the Palace Downtown Dubai Spa. We were not told which spa treatment we would receive, just that it was an hour long and sure to be luxurious.
We treat ourselves to massages on a regular basis in Ubud, and even had 7 massages in 7 days during our last week. Some of them are fabulous and some are okay, but they are all cheap. After pounding the pavement of a convention center in Singapore, and our economy class flight to Dubai, I could use some pampering. And, I anticipated this would be totally different than our Ubud massages.
In Ubud, and in many areas of Southeast Asia, Eric and I would usually receive our massage in the same room. In fact, my birthday spa treatment included a massage and floral bath in Ubud, in an open air room with a view of the jungle, with both of us in the same room. But, in a more strict Muslim country, the ladies’ spa and the gents’ spa were on completely different floors. So, I deposited Eric for his treatment, and I made my way to mine. When I checked in there seemed to be a little bit of confusion, but eventually I was told to expect a hammam treatment – a Turkish inspired bath and scrub. This worked out perfectly as I had passed on the treatment while in Istanbul. This was my shot.
It was quiet in the Palace Downtown Dubai spa on that week day evening. Which allowed me to take some lovely pictures without bothering women in various levels of undress. It was dark and cosy and candlelit. The changing area was clean and I had everything I needed in my little locker, including a comfy robe and plush slippers.
I made my way to the hammam room – a round, tiled alcove with a heated, stone platform in the middle. I was asked to lay down face up. I was wearing those fabulous spa panties, which never seem to have a front or a back, yet I always try them on in both ways just in case. But, that was all I wore. She asked if I wanted my chest covered. I politely declined. I have gotten used to being pretty well exposed in my spa treatments in Bali. I once had a woman “shower” me. I stood in nothing buy my spa panties while she poured buckets of warm water on me, scrubbed me, and rinsed me. Since that time, my American-born modesty seems to have vanished – at least in this situation.
So, I lay there almost stark naked, staring at the ceiling and trying to relax despite my exposure. First, she used a black olive oil soap and hot water to get me all sudsy. Then, I stood, wrapped a towel around me and walked over to a warm shower. I returned to the hammam room, and she scrubbed me with cloves, followed by another warm shower. Finally, she rubbed an Argon oil scented with the fragrance of Amber. How appropriate. According to an Egyptian guy I had just met at the ITB Asia conference in Singapore, Amber is a type of flower in Arabic, so I assumed the oil was scented with the flower, not the jewel that is so popular in the Baltics and Russia.
After lubing me up, I was escorted to the relaxation room for tea under a cozy little blanket. It was all quite lovely, other than the time restraints. We were due for dinner at 8, and I did not finish until shortly after. I knew Eric would be waiting for me as we only had one room key between the two of us. That was the most unfortunate part.
I, surprisingly, had no problem with the scrubbing and the sudsing which covered about 95% of my body, even close to some of the more sensitive areas. What bothered me was the timing of my schedule, and feeling rushed, particularly because there were so few other women in the spa that late at night. It was quiet and lovely.
In the end, I had to leave the tranquil space of the Palace Downtown Dubai spa. I tried to wipe off as much of the oil as possible, threw on my clothes and made my way back into reality. Well, as much of a reality as Dubai can possibly be.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together they have traveled to over 70 countries.