Escape toxic city life for a transformative journey that takes into consideration every aspect of health and wellness.
Relax and revive mind, body spirit at The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel
Sometimes, a break means heading off to the beach and lounging about with nothing but a guilty-pleasure book. But other times, we need to invest more into our mind, body and spirit to give ourselves a true break for everyday stresses and strives.
Which is why we recently checked into The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel. The unique hotel offers its guests a wellness programme individually designed to help relax, nourish and inform them over their stay, making it the ideal spot to check out from day-to-day life in order to focus on some TLC without having to jet set.
Before we even stepped foot within the hotel located on The Palm in Dubai, we were encouraged to fill out a lengthy form answering all kinds of questions relating to our emotional state, regular aches and pains and what our average food diary looks like. Because in order to set itself apart from other hotels offering a spa weekend, very specialised treatments targeting all aspects of wellness are at the core of the establishment.
And this set up only continues the moment we walk through the door. Chatting away to the Wellness Manager Vyara Tosheva, she pulls us over to the stand displaying the chakra balancing sprays created by Aveda. After choosing the colour we’re most drawn too and spritzing it over our pulse points, she tells us that this oil blend will be used throughout our treatments today, as what we’re drawn too is what we’re craving in our lives – be it the need to feel grounded or the desire to express ourselves.
After this taster of what’s in store during our stay, here’s how the rest of the experience measured up.
Naturally, the spa treatments are at the core of the wellness programme. Soon after settling in, we head to the Rayya Spa for a consultation with Wellness Coach Aswani Ayurvedic. After talking with the warm yet professional staff member about our general health and daily routine, she prescribes the Holistic Acupressure Therapy treatment. Acupressure massages are designed to relieve stress and help target areas of pain, and after our treatment, our body and mind feels lighter and softer.
Within the spa, each therapist utilises ancient wellness techniques along with only organic, toxin-free products that are complemented by the latest spa technology. Other treatments that caught our eye included the Earthfinity Massage that uses crystals and organic elements and is performed on our quartz crystal bed and the Vitamin C and Papaya Enzyme Peel Facial.
Next, we popped in for a quick DNA test (see nutrition) before heading to make the most of the spa facilities. A petite but luxe spa area holds a hot tub, steam room and sauna.
After unwinding and enjoying water in all its healing forms, we recline in another treatment room ready for the Oxygen Infused Relaxation which is as simple as it sounds.
Breathing in pure oxygen works to reinvigorate the body, as the increase in oxygen being carried through the bloodstream helps to stimulate cells and improved energy levels and sleep quality. We’re unsure whether the immediate effect is just placebo but we do feel more energised after.
With so many unique treatments and such a thorough approach to physical wellness, we would recommend the spa for anyone in need of calm and clarity – not just those booked onto the retreat.
After filling up at dinner, we head back to our sea-facing suite and take part in the sleeping ritual – a bath with salt of the earth essences and essential minerals that have been left out for us with the intent to distress and calm the body with special aromas to re-store the mind. We sleep well.
Next, we move on to looking after our mental health as well as our physical health to round off our spa day. We’re booked in for a one-on-one meditation session with Holistic Energy Healer, Nissa Rahim, who selected the Twin Heart Meditation for our session. It’s an ancient Tibetan practice by Master Chao Kok Sui, founder of pranic healing. Just the two of us, we sit opposite one another in a circle, crystals consuming its centre.
Usually finding it hard to ‘check out’ of day to day life, it takes a while for us to get lost in the meditation (unanswered emails suddenly springing to mind) but by the time it’s up we’re entranced and spiritually at ease, yet sorrowful that the session is over. An emotional weight is lifted and we feel as if we’re floating by the time we leave.
Elsewhere, The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel caters to both mental and physical health in many ways. A busy fitness programme includes yoga and circuit sessions, and these are once again tailored to the needs of individual guests.
What the dwelling on The Palm does so well is really focus on wellness from the inside out, including taking nutrition just as seriously as unwinding with a massage. If not more so, as this is something we can take away with us.
Our first encounter is during our above chat with Wellness Coach Aswani Ayurvedic, who analysed our diet from the initial questionnaire, offering advice to help us find more balance.
We also underwent the DNA test while within the Rayya spa. Whether your concern is vitamins you are deficient in or struggles with weight loss, different tests (the results are shared with a week or so after your stay) can help determine a biological reason to help you tackle it in a different way.
But as well as the science-y swab-in-mouth approach, the insight into our nutritional needs came in a much more personal package, too.
After a healthy but hearty breakfast on day two, we head to a meeting room facing the waves with Wellness Culinary Manager and Health Coach Alejandra Murillo Jimenez for a Holistic Integrative Nutri Session. She takes us by surprise by asking just as many questions about our personal life as the content of my plate.
During our lengthy – at moments, emotional – conversation we talk about diet and wellness, how our lifestyles can play into it, and how the gut is intrinsically linked to the mind. Together, we work out a do-able programme to eat and work out in a way that’s healthy for the mind and body. We’re nothing short of inspired to do better before we get hands-on.
Onto a Juice Detox Cleanse Workshop, in which we’re schooled on the benefits of cold-pressed juices. We discover that they retain much more of the nutrients of the raw fruits as it liquifies dues to a lack of heat (which break down certain enzymes) during the juicing process.
Working with the raw ingredients, we make a few of our own different recipes and combinations, adding ingredients such as activated charcoal (known to detox the body by preventing toxins from being absorbed) to up the antioxidant power of our liquid medicine. By the time the session is up, we’ve jotted down the brand of the juicer and are envisioning our new cold-pressed-juice-every-morning life.
And then for lunch, our third meal in The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel. We’re back in Vibe Restuarant for a wide lunch buffet (á la carte options are available for breakfast, lunch and dinner too) filled with health-conscious options – vegan and gluten-free options not only included by generous. Fresh salads, soups, stews and more, as well as fresh juices and coffees, served with alternative milk options.
As satisfying as the savoury option is, we can’t resist naming the vegan beetroot spongecake dessert as our favourite part, a welcome sweet treat option for the vegan palate. Guests can keep an eye out for the healthy cooking sessions held by the eatery’s chef during their stay, too.
After all that healthiness, we take time to relax the mind even further by heading to the sandy seafront, and after a walk barefoot down the stone-adorned reflexology path, we take a seat on one of the many sun loungers, flitting between watching the waves and unwinding with a book.
Short but sweet, even two days spent at The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel has us rethinking our eating habits, morning routine, approach to wellness and of course, has left us in a bubble of zen.
See more at theretreatpalmdubai.com.