We reacted like a couple of nervous preening peacocks when Marhaba first raised the idea of Spa reviews. “Just begin with a facial and a manicure then see how it goes,” we were urged. “You can eat afterwards.”
So, on the way to pick up a copy of GQ and Men’s Vogue for research purposes we argued whether we should go for a George Clooney or a David Beckham in anticipation of a complete “manscaping” miracle.
Six Senses at Sharq Village & Spa was certainly a familiar building on this luxurious five-star mega-estate, but only for navigational purposes while en route to the Cigar Lounge or Al Dana restaurant.
Having forsaken our Saturday ritual of watching rugby and football we arrived to be greeted by the Spa’s sales and marketing executive Apple Ting, as if we had been expected decades ago.
One Brother Rue (who shall remain nameless) remarked that her infectious Malaysian smile was merely disguising the fact that she had not sufficiently warned her staff of the challenges they now faced in this opulent haven of health and beauty.
Juli from Bali and Bibeno from India led one of us away while the other followed Marie-Ann from Greece and Komang from Indonesia. Both brothers were resplendent in downy dressing gowns as they entered separate treatment rooms the size of suites. We were to experience the 50-minute Men’s Maintenance Facial and the 50-minute Men’s Manicure, simultaneously performed.
Bibeno and Komang began by trimming and gently filing nails, then applying rice scrub to hands and lower arms. This was followed by a cleansing lemon-water soak and a pink clay treatment for nourishment and softness.
Skin was cleared from around the cuticles, apple moistener was applied and another hand and lower arm massage ensued. It all seemed so effortless (we were sure it wasn’t) and there was no discomfort at all, with the result being there are now two pairs of softer-skinned, rejuvenated hands, sporting elegantly shaped and shiny nails.
The facials, performed by Juli and Marie-Ann, began with a cleanse using a mixture of Chamomile and Jojoba oil, which was wiped away and a rose toner applied.
Then it was time for closer inspection, and subsequent introspection. A bright light suddenly shone from behind and a magnifying glass was used to analyse the skin, conjuring images of cavernous craters on the moon.
One was pronounced dry and a dark pimple was detected (duly extracted later). Treatment twice a month was the considered verdict. The other’s skin was deemed to be oily and in dire need of a deep cleanse. How deep was not specified! And a web of broken capillaries was diagnosed as being sun-related so a move to Alaska was recommended.
Next came a cocoa bean scrub in order to tighten and smooth the skin – an anti-aging measure. Believing the elusive elixir of life may have been discovered, one brother’s request for a repeat dose was politely ignored.
In quick succession came a facial massage with Jojoba oil for blood circulation and skin elasticity. Then an unexpected bonus – an Indian-style head massage, followed by a hydrating face mask, yoghurt based, for about 10 minutes, wiped away with the rose toner and some dabs of eye cream and facial moisturiser.
Hands and faces aglow, we both headed back to “post-op” for a debrief over ginger tea and dates. Mohammed from Bangladesh was the “butler” who guided us through the souk-like labyrinth. And trust us, a kindly guide with built-in sat-nav is most useful here.
Men suffer but tend to endure dry or oily skin without discussion, let alone complaint. Both Brothers Rue lamented why we had waited so long to experience for the first time the wonderfully relaxing, peaceful and gently corrective pampering so professionally provided by Six Senses Spa.
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