FACT’s editor-in-chief ventures into the subterranean Oriental Hammam at One&Only Royal Mirage for a traditional steam bath. Does relaxation ensure? Read on for more.
A pair of white Nike slides are all that I can see as my head is repeatedly doused in water until I can barely breathe! No, I’m not being waterboarded. Instead, under the strict guidance of a Hammam therapist, I am on a holistic journey in which my body is taken from extreme heat to severe cold through a combination of steam rooms and scrubs until warmth radiates from my very soul. Welcome to the One&Only Spa.
One&Only is a brand associated with the utmost luxury, and the Royal Mirage property at the foot of Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah is no different. I’m met with a picturesque beachfront, manicured gardens and a meandering roadway leading to one central destination, the understated and undeniably Arabesque Spa.
Situated away from the main hotel building beneath a procession of domes, the One&Only Spa greets me with old-world charm thanks to hanging Arabic lanterns and trickling water features. As I enter, I feel as though the building is cocooning me in a sense of serenity, a feeling that is further enhanced as I descend a grand spiral staircase leading down to the Hammam.
The Hammam experience begins in the mixed-use area, where a tranquil whirlpool and traditionally furnished relaxation area beckons spa-goers to take time for themselves. Backed by a soundtrack of percussion, I’m immediately eased into the mindset of relaxation as I’m ceremoniously wrapped in a peshtemal towel before being led through a series of tiled chambers into the cavernous Hammam.
A circular marble steam room awaits, where high ceilings allow the hot air to circulate, and the central elevated göbek taşı (naval stone) is the focus for intense scrubbing and massages. On the outer walls are private chambers lined with individual sinks where metal bowls (tas) are used to pour water over the head and body.
One&Only’s lavish interpretation of the Moroccan bath encourages me to embrace the cleansing power of steam whilst every inch of my body is scrubbed and cleaned by an expert Hammam therapist from Morocco. Dubbed ‘The Traditional Hammam’ (AED 520), I’m taken through a series of steam treatments and scrubs that utilise a Vitamin E black Moroccan soap (beldi) over the course of 50-minutes. Despite the unexpected communal nature of this particular Hammam experience, I am delighted by the full body exfoliation achieved throughout the head-to-toe cleansing ceremony.
Offering the ideal spot for a Moroccan Hammam treatment, this intimate and discreet spa promotes fully customised holistic spa journeys revolving around One&Only’s three core principles: unwind, restore and elevate. Having recently undergone a Hammam treatment on a recent trip to Istanbul, the offering at One&Only is an experience that supersedes my experience in the city that bridges both Europe and Asia.
One&Only is also home to 12 exclusive treatment suites, ESPA-inspired massages and facials, steam rooms, saunas and plunge pools. This beautiful beachfront oasis evokes the opulence and splendour of an Arabian palace – the ideal setting for a traditional Hammam.
GO: Visit www.oneandonlyresorts.com for reservations and more information.