Liz O’Reilly visited Al Areen Spa to try out a massage that’s specially targeted at ‘office syndrome’ and got some serious hair pampering at the same time.
The spa at Al Areen is gorgeous. I’m sure I’ve said it before and will probably say it again, but the spacious corridors, sounds of gently running water, huge treatment rooms and general sense of luxury are a balm for work-frayed nerves or a welcome treat, even if you’re not feeling frazzled.
My first stop, with therapist Landa, was one of the aforementioned treatment rooms for a rejuvenating massage. A new experience for me, it involved the placement of delicious smelling, warm poultices across my muscles followed by firm but gentle massage, particularly concentrating on my shoulders, upper back, arms and hands.
Since much of my work life is spent, troll-like crouched over a smoking keyboard, this couldn’t have been more appropriate and, indeed, more welcome.
The poultices are made up of herbs, including ginger, lemon grass and bergamot, while the fabulously fragrant massage oil is almond, ylang ylang and geranium. Each boasts specific healing and health-boosting properties and the idea of the warm poultices is to increase their absorption into the muscles.
I had some fairly serious back and shoulder problems last year, so was initially a little wary of relaxing and letting Landa work her magic. But, I need not have worried. Constantly reassuring and checking that the pressure was not too much, she gently eased the knots from my neck and even managed to get my shoulder mobility back to half-way normal – quite some achievement when we’re heading to press!
Feeling deeply relaxed and, I have to say, more comfortable than for quite some time, I headed to the salon into the care of Sofia. A light hair treatment had been chosen for me which she assured would leave my tresses “soft and shiny like never before”.
A natural redhead, these days, thanks to the sun, I’m heading towards strawberry blond (with more than a hint of white). So, to protect my ever-fading natural colour, Sofia began with Bye Bye Yellow moisture treatment shampoo. It’s left on for five minutes and promises to remove the hints of dirty yellow that are so common in light locks.
Next came a hair mask of Fibre Force Bonding Cream, which repairs the damage caused by swimming, humidity, sand, wind and chemical treatments. These elements often leave hair looking less crowning glory and more bloomin’ scary with harsh and torn fibres. Painted on similarly to a salon colour, the mask takes around 15 to 20 minutes to do its work. And boy, what a difference.
One very professional blow-dry later and I was indeed looking silky smooth and, as promised, soft and shiny like never before – an effect that was still in evidence two washes later.
I visited the spa on a mid-week afternoon. All was blissfully tranquil and quiet, the perfect escape for a few hours from the working week and an experience I’d highly recommend.