The UAE is abundant with luxury spas home to Instagrammable interiors and fancy facilities.
However, we all know that what really matters is not how shiny the gold finishings are or how soft the lounge beds feel, but how effective the treatments themselves are, and what results they produce.
Found just off the main lobby of the opulent new Rixos Marina Abu Dhabi, Naturelife Spa Marina Abu Dhabi is the brand’s third branch (two more are found in Dubai), and its first in the UAE capital.
I’m here to try two of the spa’s most popular signature services: the traditional Turkish hammam and the mix massage.
Before we begin, I switch off and get into the zone by testing out the spacious ladies-only sauna and jacuzzi, which I’m thrilled to have completely to myself.
The spa only opened in September 2022, which means everything is immaculately new, clean, and stylishly minimalist, while the ‘nature’ theme is embraced with vertical grass walls and plenty of greenery.
The UAE’s bigger hotel spas sometimes leave me feeling lost and disoriented in a sea of identical doors, and so I like that its rather cosy and intimate in contrast.
Starting with the Turkish hammam, I’m provided with a paper bikini and led through to lie on a heated stone slab in the steam room. Here I’m washed with warm water, scrubbed from head to foot with exfoliating mitts, and covered with soap suds for a short, but very sweet, foam massage.
Seeing how much dead skin is removed with the gloves is slightly embarrassing, but mainly exceptionally satisfying.
Finally, my Balinese therapist washed my hair with beautifully fragranced products, before concluding her work by covering me with a refreshing jug of cold rose water.
Despite the intimate nature of the ritual, I was relaxed and comfortable from start to finish. Most importantly, the difference it made to my body and mind was extraordinary.
I felt smooth and even all over, and physically and emotionally lighter too. I’ve tried other hammams in the past but they didn’t make half as much impact, and I’m now keen to book in for another soon.
Meanwhile, the mix massage features a mix of five different techniques, including aromatherapy, deep tissue and hot stones, all chosen to suit each guest’s needs and delivered with warm orange, rose or lavender essential oils.
I went with the latter fragrance, and although I honestly couldn’t tell which technique was used when and where, it was utterly sensational.
Splitting my time between exercising and working at a desk means my muscles are constantly tight, and I was thankful that my therapist heeded my request to give extra focus to my back and shoulders. Medium pressure was just strong enough without being painful, and every knot was totally relieved.
I wished it would never end.
Afterwards, I was led through to the lounge to enjoy a choice of loose-leaf teas (I can vouch that the Balinese rooibos is superb), and a platter of nuts and fruits.
Priced Dh1,049 for the 60-minute mix massage and Dh800 for the 60-minute hammam, it’s not the cheapest of places, but it absolutely delivers in terms of quality and results.
If you want to enter 2023 feeling your best, it’s well worth your time and money.
For more information call +97124980150, or visit the website here.
• This service was provided for the purposes of a review. We try a lot of things here at Livehealthy, but we only publish Livehealthy Approved reviews for those that are truly worth it.
Harriet Shephard is an Abu Dhabi-based copywriter and freelance journalist with a particular focus on fitness, travel and lifestyle, which, along with good food, also happen to be her main passions when she's not typing away at her laptop.