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Tucked away in the midst of what must be one of the most lush, verdant corners of Dubai is a true hidden gem of relaxation. Down a winding lane off the Mohammad Bin Zayed Road you’ll find the eco-conscious residential development of Al Barari, where the recently opened Heart and Soul spa completes the place.
The other wellness centre in the community, Body Language, is a well-equipped fitness centre that boasts a state-of-the-art gym and friendly, knowledgeable staff who are keen to help. Users can either work out independently or book a session with a personal trainer. There is also an inspiring range of exercise classes, including yoga, spinning and Body-pump, as well as a swimming pool, steam room and two tennis courts.
The Farm, an airy restaurant with a distinctly zen feel, is a lovely place to while away a few hours over coffee, lunch or dinner. It offers a chilled-out dining experience with wholesome dishes prepared using the freshest ingredients — locally produced and organic wherever possible, some of which are grown in an on-site herb garden. A bakery produces delicious preservative-free freshly baked goods including various gluten-free options, and the menu can be customised to suit individual dietary requirements.
An oasis of calm
However, it’s the spa that’s the real draw. An oasis of serenity, Heart & Soul offers a true break from the chaos and bright lights of city life, and allows you to relax and pamper yourself.
Follow the signs down a leafy lane to the separate male and female facilities (there are also rooms for couples, complete with plunge pools) and step through the door into tranquility. Expansive white walls, wind tower-style ceilings, an abundance of greenery and gently draped white linen give the spa an invitingly cool, natural feel befitting the verdant surroundings. There’s a comprehensive menu of treatments focused on well-being, rejuvenation and relaxation, as well as a hair and beauty salon and retail offerings. The friendly staff are immediately on hand to welcome you and take you around the facility.
My lead therapist talked me through each step of my treatment so I knew what she’d be doing beforehand, and, more importantly, what I’d be expected to do, avoiding awkward what-do-I-do-now moments often encountered at less-sensitive spas.
I tried the Six Hands Heart and Soul Signature Massage and can only describe it as sheer bliss. I’ve had many a massage over the years in Dubai, but none quite so effective at switching me off as this one.
Following a foot bath and after choosing the oils I wanted, I lay down, and with the precision of synchronised swimmers, three therapists worked in harmony to knead away the tensions of my week. Having pretty much every area of my body worked on simultaneously also curbed my tendency to overthink during a massage. Normally I find myself focusing on the area being treated, resulting in the inability to zone out completely, but with six hands expertly manipulating every muscle, I was able to sink into a state of relaxation I’d never experienced before.
Each area received more attention for far longer than during a regular single-therapist treatment, and I was soothed into a peaceful but revitalised state. A head massage with a wonderfully rich coconut oil completed my cycle of bliss, and I was left to drag myself back to a semi-awake state before heading to the relaxation room for a cup of zesty lemon and ginger tea and tasty crudites. All of this perked me up well enough to drive me towards the changing room to prepare for my return to reality.
If I had to find fault with this hidden gem, it’d be that I found the signs to the facilities slightly hard to follow. But that’s just me being pathetically pedantic. If you’re after an all-round wellness and relaxation treat, with quite possibly the most indulgent, relaxing massage in town, Heart & Soul is hard to beat.
Open from 10am-8pm, Saturday to Thursday, and 12pm-8pm on Friday. Call 04 320 7350.
Source: Catherine Harper, Special to Property Weekly
This section features lesser-known places and events that are delightfully distinct. It could be a quaint little café or simply a charming lake. If it’s got character and brings a smile to your face, it’s a hidden gem that will find a place on this page. If you know of a hidden gem, email the Editor at email@example.com.