Atarmia Spa

We try the new Park Hyatt spa's Lustrous Ritual Discuss this article

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It’s too soon yet to know whether the Mayans were onto something, but so far 2012 has proved to be a year like any other, full of challenges and joys, pain and pleasure. The challenge, in our case, was building our Ikea bed. The pain manifested when we did in our back in the process. This called for two hours of joyful pleasure in the form of Atarmia Spa’s double bill of Lomi Juma massage and their Le Alternativa anti-aging facial (pain = frown lines, naturally).

Now the price of the treatment will doubtless make your jaw drop. But this is a luxury spa which employs the use of caviar and such (none for us thanks – we only like eating the stuff) so expensive products do mean higher prices.

The treatment
Atarmia has been designed to evoke the mystery and elegance of the ancient Middle East. Grey stone, gold mosaics and a minimal decor of elegant lanterns create a fantastic theme which has you feeling like you just stepped into the world of the 1001 Nights. Be sure to arrive half an hour early as you will want to use the facilities, and the gold-mosaic Jacuzzi in particular.

Our therapist, the fresh-faced Maya, escorted us to the en suite bath/changing room of treatment room one, from which we emerged in bathrobe and slippers. She then asked us about the areas we’d like the massage to focus on, while treating us to a relaxing foot wash with mineral salts and a eucalyptus scrub.

Now at Atarmia Spa, you’re not just getting a massage, you’re getting an experience. As we lay face down on the massage table, we were invited to take three deep breaths of an aromatic concoction which smelled relaxing. The massage commenced, with Maya using the entirety of her forearm, from fingertips to elbows, to work out those knots and sooth tension. She had a wonderful touch that was more motherly and comforting than ouch-inducing. And after taking an hour to lavish attention on our back, legs, arms and stomach, it was time for the facial.

The La Alternativa attempts to treat the signs of aging by using a variety of products which are medical grade and rather heavy duty in their concentration of effective ingredients. They are nonetheless still safe for sensitive skin, and we can personally vouch for this. These products include a glyco peel, which is a cosmetic peel that’s meant to remove superficial layers of the skin and bring forth your natural glow. Far from being experts in the field, we can’t really say whether or not this worked. We can say, however, that the slightly stingy, tingly sensation, when it was put onto our face, felt like a good sign. Following the glyco peel Maya gave our pores a quick once over to remove blackheads, and then brought out a rather curious contraption; a tuning fork. She engaged in a process of hitting the fork to get it vibrating, and then pressing its tip against various points of our face. There is meaning to this madness, and we’re told it’s twofold. Firstly it works on the meridian lines (as would acupressure) to get the energy circulating correctly. Secondly, it works on muscle reflexes to tone and tighten our facial muscles. Well, it felt good enough.

After our meridian lines had been sufficiently stimulated, Maya covered our eyes with cotton pads and caked on a thick layer of cream which stiffened into a clay mask. This was the Diamond Ice Lifting mask which was meant to lift, tone and tighten while Maya gave us a comforting head massage in the interim. We quite fancied seeing what it looked like after it was peeled off, but the cotton pads were in the way and our therapist still had a few more anti-aging serums to finish off with, followed by the various moisturisers.

The pros
The Jacuzzi room is wonderful, and all that doting and being anointed with so many sweet-smelling expensive products, had us strutting out of Atarmia Spa feeling like an Arabian princess.

The cons
Our treatment room was a tad chilly for comfort. We did bring this up when Maya asked if the temperature was ok, and she did inform the powers that be at reception. Unfortunately things didn’t get warmer, so when Maya noticed that we were still covered in goose bumps by the end of the massage she fetched the warm herbal socks and hand mitts which were a godsend.

The verdict
Only time can tell whether our age-defying facial was effective, but Atarmia’s Lustrous Ritual guarantees relaxation all the way from nose to toes.
The Atarmia Lustrous Ritual costs Dhs1,130. Open daily from 10am-11pm, Park Hyatt, Saadiyat Island (02 407 1170).

By Elest Ali
Time Out Abu Dhabi,

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