When I told friends that I was having a Bespoke Facial at The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) Spa, I was expecting the news to be met with a few muffled sniggers. But it wasn’t. Although a facial is rarely the treatment of choice for men on a spa visit, it is becoming increasingly popular and many now swear by it. Even so, it will be my first experience and I am unsure what to expect.
With this playing on my mind, I arrive at The Ritz-Carlton and make my way through the hotel’s opulent, marble lobby to its dedicated spa, where my attendant, Prusad, greets me. I am offered a freshly prepared, sinus-cleansing ginger and lemon tea on arrival, which proves to be the perfect start to an afternoon of relaxation.
With an hour to kill before my treatment, I’m given free rein of the spa facilities. After a quick change into my quilted robe, I head straight to the cavernous steam room. The rich smell of eucalyptus is pleasantly dizzying and I can feel myself beginning to unwind with every breath. After a quick spell in the sauna and wellness shower, I’m ushered into the dimly lit relaxation room, where I await my treatment.
Here, I’m offered a juice crafted by the spa’s juice sommelier. I opt for a sweet cranberry and beetroot cocktail as my massage therapist, Nancy, introduces herself and asks whether I have any treatment preference. Not being too well versed in the world of facials or skin types, I decide to rely entirely on Nancy’s expertise.
I am led through a sprawling corridor to my candle-strewn private treatment room. With the curtains drawn, the lights dimmed and the combined smell of mint, eucalyptus and organic tea tree filling the space, the tone is immediately set. As soon as I have taken my place on the bed, I can feel myself loosening up.
“Your skin is quite dry, so we are going to begin with a deep cleansing moisturising serum,” Nancy tells me, as she gently applies a gel from the luxurious Natura Bissé range to my forehead and cheeks. This is allowed to permeate the skin for a few minutes before it is removed using a soft exfoliator. A warm towel is then used to open and cleanse the pores.
After this process has been repeated three times, I can feel myself beginning to drift off to sleep. The soft lulling of the background music, combined with the rhythmic treatment and therapeutic aromas, create an incredibly tranquil atmosphere. But before I find myself dreaming, I am drawn back into the room by the icy touch of a cooling papaya face pack, designed to soothe and rejuvenate the skin.
This is left on for 15 minutes or so, while Nancy conducts a targeted head and neck massage. Once the mask is removed, a final toner is added and I am offered some advice about the condition of my skin and the type of product that could benefit its upkeep.
For someone who was incredibly cynical before starting the treatment, I am surprised by how easily I have been won over. Not only was the treatment extremely relaxing, but it actually made a welcome change from the intense, high-pressure deep tissue massage that I usually opt for.
After a quick dip in the spa’s indoor pool and one more cranberry and beetroot juice, I make my way out of The Ritz-Carlton and into Dubai’s pore-clogging summer smog. As I walk to the metro in the overbearing heat, I can’t help but feel that I will be returning sooner rather than later for my next facial.
THE IMPORTANT BIT
What: 60-min Bespoke Facial
Where: The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai International Financial Centre Spa
Price: AED 495 (US $135)