Male grooming has long gone past the taboo stage, not least in this part of the world. But while there is an increasing number of unisex five-star spas for gents in Dubai, they are harder to come by in Abu Dhabi.
Urban Male Lounge, at Abu Dhabi’s World Trade Centre Mall, is a newborn twin of the UML at The Galleria, and a masculine sibling to its sister NStyle International chain of nail bars. While many posh spas let self-importance get in the way of relaxation, the package part of UML’s menu is rife with a playful side. And right at the top of the tree, above options such as The Player and The CEO, is the Chairman of the Board leviathan: 240 minutes – a whole four hours of head-to-toe attention.
The marathon begins with a hot lather shave that left me looking about 10 years younger. Then it was out of the salon and into one of a mini-warren of treatment rooms for the dual-therapist attack of The Deal Maker manicure and the Hole-in-One pedicure. The television, remote control and headphones took second place to a gentle snooze and staring idly into space.
The next element was the Hoof It Off Callus Eliminator. I’d assumed that it would be a fairly superfluous, or painful, treatment. Neither preconception proved entirely accurate: though I’m quite conceivably an inch shorter now, the combination of skin-softening foot wraps and vigorous filing ensured soles to be proud of.
Next up was the main event: the Thai Blend Hot Stone Massage. Mixing techniques, as that title suggests, the male therapist went tough on the Thai influence via a series of semi-agonising contortions that revealed their full muscle-loosening effect days later. I was left to relax for a moment before the Revitalizer Facial, a multi-layered face fixer of masks and peels based around products from the top British skincare brand Heaven.
I wasn’t actually offered the final part of the Chairman package, although I will put the lack of a shoe shine down to a sensible glance at the lack of suitable footwear – the polish would probably have ruined a pair of Adidas.
After four hours of pampering, the Chairman of the Board will leave you feeling like a boss.
• A 240-minute Chairman of the Board package at Urban Male Lounge, World Trade Centre Mall, Abu Dhabi, costs Dh1,000, plus taxes. Call Urban Male Lounge at 800 865 for bookings
[ firstname.lastname@example.org ]