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All That Glitters in Dubai

By: Melinda Taschetta-Millane
Posted: September 25, 2008, from the October 2008 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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“One&Only Royal Mirage pays tribute to Arabian architecture and hospitality on a truly regal scale. Nowhere is this more evident than at the Health & Beauty Institute,” says Philippe Dupont, manager. “Housed within its towering domes, carved arches and intricate design is the Givenchy Spa, traditional Oriental Hammam, the Bastien Gonzalez Chiropody & Pedicure Centre, Zouari Hair Salon, and a state-of-the-art Fitness Centre.”

The Givenchy Spa, located on the upper level, includes 12 luxury treatment rooms and a dedicated Givenchy Boutique. The spa has a 30% male clientele, which was a bit against the norm from what we heard from other spas in Dubai, but much closer to the ratios found in American spas. Downstairs is the traditional hammam, or bath in Arabic, which is based on the traditional hammams of Istanbul, inspired by the country Jordan. “Here, you feel two emotions,” explains Dupont. “Givenchy is classical; the Hammam is cultural and ancient, holding in its design 1,000 years of experience.”

By tradition, a hammam purifies a person before going to the mosque, and opens both the spirit and the mind. This Hammam accounts for approximately 70% of the spa’s business, equaling about 1,250 treatments per month. Traditional Turkish towels are used, imported from Istanbul, and the dress, ingredients and techniques are all appealingly unique. “Everything here has to be true; we are creating a very wellness-oriented atmosphere,” states Dupont. “We are recreating the experience of 1,000 years; we have brought the present to the past. This is why it has worked.” Indeed, pride and passion are all found here.

In the future, the plan is to provide a further range of emotional encounters. “The spa encounter must be based on emotion and experience, not to mention choice,” states Dupont, who continues on to say 70% of the clients choose massage.“What can we gain from this? That the spa experience is all about well-being.”he says.

Softouch Spa

I was also curious to see how the Middle East treated ayurveda, as Dubai is much closer in proximity to the ancient therapy’s roots than the United States. Softouch Spa has been in the spa industry since 1997 and offers authentic ayurvedic treatments in addition to pampering spa treatments, according to V. L. Shyam, MD, regional director of Softouch Spa and also an ayurvedic doctor.