"It's an executive grooming session," Granfield says. "Please don't call it a makeover."
"It's an executive grooming session," Granfield says. "Please don't call it a makeover."

Special treatment

Greek Orthodox monks grow out their facial hair as a mark of humility. Buddhist monks keep themselves clean shaven for the same purpose. My overgrown beard may have been humbling for my wife but it was more for spectacle's sake that I had it removed - and underwent other mildly invasive procedures at The Lounge, a men's spa in Abu Dhabi, during a three-hour "executive grooming" session. Please, don't call it a makeover.

I had never been to a spa before. But if I was going to do it at all, I was going to go all out: shave, haircut, manicure, pedicure, facial, bronzing (the man tan) and, yes, waxing. Based on the photos from before the session, you might understand how any corner saloon in Abu Dhabi usually suits my grooming needs. In fact, getting a haircut is one of the simple pleasures of living here. For Dh20, a barber takes incredible pains to make sure that your haircut is even, that your beard is trimmed, and that you are happy with his work. Even if you are left with the hair helmet of a Bollywood star, you can appreciate the effort. You even get an Ayurvedic head rub.

Some of those saloons are lucky to have a licence. The Lounge has a mission statement: to help its customers "experience a modern way of relaxation". A head rub had seemed pretty modern to me, but this would be a day full of lessons. As I was seated for my haircut, a waiter asked for my drink order, and I began to realise how different this was going to be. The barber also appeared to have a consultant, who enquired what I wanted to have done. Since I am new to spas, this "consultant" could have been there simply because the barber didn't speak much English. But that had never prevented the Santini brothers from cutting my hair back home in Washington.

The trim was great and the straight-razor shave was what I have come to expect in Abu Dhabi. But I also have come to expect a head rub and didn't receive one from this barber. Any concern about this was forgotten, however, at the shock of seeing myself clean-shaven for the first time in five years. I had first grown a beard in a failed attempt at gravitas when I was teaching history to students only four or five years younger than myself. I kept it to save myself five minutes every morning.

First, I thought I was looking at a younger version of myself and I began to feel proud - until I noticed that the jowls that used to emerge in times of hibernation during New Hampshire winters had become more of a year-round phenomenon. All in all, I was pleased but only time will tell if it was life-changing enough to get me back to shaving every morning. Next, they whisked me upstairs into a room with what looked like a dentist's chair. I was asked to lie down on my back and suddenly a whole team of technicians arrived. One took my shoes off and began to work on my feet. Another began to work on my hands. And what in other circumstances might be called the crew chief worked on my face.

The enterprise reminded me of Formula One pit service. Of course, these technicians were working on a machine that more resembled a Nissan Sunny than a Ferrari, but they had brought enough drills, picks and scrubbers to make Mario Andretti look good. One of their tricks is to place pads on your eyes while the work is being performed. They told me that this was supposed to reduce inflammation around the eyes. I think it's more to blind you from all the chiselling. It just doesn't look natural.

And while a dentist likes to make conversation, these technicians were professionals. When I found out the crew chief was from the Philippines, I told her that my grandfather had served there with Douglas MacArthur in the Second World War. "You have dryness with mildly sensitive skin," she responded. Thoughts of General MacArthur made me feel more comfortable. I'm sure he had a facial or two. At least he had been to a spa. All those years in Japan, all those great one-liners, the stylish entrance he made on the beach in the Philippines and Inchon. He even made aviators popular. He was the first metrosexual. I began to chuckle to myself. Then one of the eye patches fell off. Those were some pretty sharp tools.

As the chief's efforts became more intensive, the rest of the crew left the scene. The technician working on my hands didn't need that much time anyway, since I bite my nails. She did some nice work on my thumbs, however, where there was some roughness from over-aggressive play on the Xbox. "Now we will do blackhead removal," the crew chief announced. I hadn't noticed my blackheads, much less that it would take about 20 minutes of sharp poking around my nose to remove them. I began to compare the process to a rite of passage for warriors who receive facial markings before they go to battle. What was a bad analogy to start with was killed when the instrumental version of Lady in Red played over the stereo system - for the second time since I arrived.

Warrior or not, my next stop included a back wax, so I had better toughen up. Remembering the scene in The 40 Year Old Virgin where Steve Carell gets waxed, I knew I had to mentally prepare. So I compared the waxing to the polar bear swims I did in college: any pain would be short and sharp, and when it was over you'd have a story to tell. I remembered those February days when we took a chainsaw to the frozen pond behind my fraternity house, carved a small swimming hole in the ice and took a dip. Sure, it was a painful 20 seconds, but afterward a mild wave of euphoria would set in. After I completed my second polar bear swim I realised the story didn't get any better, so the next winter I wore a heavy coat and drank hot chocolate while I watched from the sidelines.

The fact that you only need to experience it once may be the only similarity between the icy dip and the back wax. There's less pain and less euphoria. But maybe it was the mental preparation. Of course, if I hadn't done those polar bear swims I probably would never have become so furry to begin with - it was an adaptation against the extreme cold and my stupidity. After the waxing was over a crew member wheeled me over to a small cart with brown liquid inside and what appeared to be a hose. I know beauty has its price but I had no idea about this. After I asked what it was, the crew member burst into laughter. What, had he never seen a pair of shamrock-print boxers before?

"It is for your bronzing," he revealed. After spraying me down for several minutes, the crew member asked if I thought I was bronze enough. As I looked into the mirror to find out, I understood what was meant by "executive" grooming. The shave may have made me look younger but the bronzing gave me the glow of a much older man - Silvio Berlusconi perhaps. I concluded that I was bronze enough and it was time to depart, before my wife started to worry.

One final word of advice: having your own car should be a prerequisite for any executive grooming. As I waited for a cab in the summer heat, the bronzer began to melt. And without a beard, it takes much longer to hail a taxi. Visit www.thelounge.ae for treatment details.

Confirmed bouts (more to be added)

Cory Sandhagen v Umar Nurmagomedov
Nick Diaz v Vicente Luque
Michael Chiesa v Tony Ferguson
Deiveson Figueiredo v Marlon Vera
Mackenzie Dern v Loopy Godinez

Tickets for the August 3 Fight Night, held in partnership with the Department of Culture and Tourism Abu Dhabi, went on sale earlier this month, through www.etihadarena.ae and www.ticketmaster.ae.

Company Profile

Company name: Hoopla
Date started: March 2023
Founder: Jacqueline Perrottet
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 10
Investment stage: Pre-seed
Investment required: $500,000

Company Profile 

Founder: Omar Onsi

Launched: 2018

Employees: 35

Financing stage: Seed round ($12 million)

Investors: B&Y, Phoenician Funds, M1 Group, Shorooq Partners


Jemma Eley, Maria Michailidou, Molly Fuller, Chloe Andrews (of Dubai College), Eliza Petricola, Holly Guerin, Yasmin Craig, Caitlin Gowdy (Dubai English Speaking College), Claire Janssen, Cristiana Morall (Jumeirah English Speaking School), Tessa Mies (Jebel Ali School), Mila Morgan (Cranleigh Abu Dhabi).

Company Profile

Company name: myZoi
Started: 2021
Founders: Syed Ali, Christian Buchholz, Shanawaz Rouf, Arsalan Siddiqui, Nabid Hassan
Based: UAE
Number of staff: 37
Investment: Initial undisclosed funding from SC Ventures; second round of funding totalling $14 million from a consortium of SBI, a Japanese VC firm, and SC Venture

UAE v West Indies

First ODI - Sunday, June 4
Second ODI - Tuesday, June 6
Third ODI - Friday, June 9

Matches at Sharjah Cricket Stadium. All games start at 4.30pm

UAE squad
Muhammad Waseem (captain), Aayan Khan, Adithya Shetty, Ali Naseer, Ansh Tandon, Aryansh Sharma, Asif Khan, Basil Hameed, Ethan D’Souza, Fahad Nawaz, Jonathan Figy, Junaid Siddique, Karthik Meiyappan, Lovepreet Singh, Matiullah, Mohammed Faraazuddin, Muhammad Jawadullah, Rameez Shahzad, Rohan Mustafa, Sanchit Sharma, Vriitya Aravind, Zahoor Khan

Ramez Gab Min El Akher

Creator: Ramez Galal

Starring: Ramez Galal

Streaming on: MBC Shahid

Rating: 2.5/5

Living in...

This article is part of a guide on where to live in the UAE. Our reporters will profile some of the country’s most desirable districts, provide an estimate of rental prices and introduce you to some of the residents who call each area home. 

Company Profile

Company name: Cargoz
Date started: January 2022
Founders: Premlal Pullisserry and Lijo Antony
Based: Dubai
Number of staff: 30
Investment stage: Seed


Company name: Blah

Started: 2018

Founder: Aliyah Al Abbar and Hend Al Marri

Based: Dubai

Industry: Technology and talent management

Initial investment: Dh20,000

Investors: Self-funded

Total customers: 40


Name: Mamo

Year it started: 2019 Founders: Imad Gharazeddine, Asim Janjua

Based: Dubai, UAE

Number of employees: 28

Sector: Financial services

Investment: $9.5m

Funding stage: Pre-Series A Investors: Global Ventures, GFC, 4DX Ventures, AlRajhi Partners, Olive Tree Capital, and prominent Silicon Valley investors.


Director: Lee Isaac Chung

Starring: Glenn Powell, Daisy Edgar-Jones, Anthony Ramos

Rating: 2.5/5

Founders: Ines Mena, Claudia Ribas, Simona Agolini, Nourhan Hassan and Therese Hundt

Date started: January 2017, app launched November 2017

Based: Dubai, UAE

Sector: Private/Retail/Leisure

Number of Employees: 18 employees, including full-time and flexible workers

Funding stage and size: Seed round completed Q4 2019 - $1m raised

Funders: Oman Technology Fund, 500 Startups, Vision Ventures, Seedstars, Mindshift Capital, Delta Partners Ventures, with support from the OQAL Angel Investor Network and UAE Business Angels

Brief scoreline:

Wales 1

James 5'

Slovakia 0

Man of the Match: Dan James (Wales)

Dengue fever symptoms
  • High fever
  • Intense pain behind your eyes
  • Severe headache
  • Muscle and joint pains
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen glands
  • Rash

If symptoms occur, they usually last for two-seven days

On the menu

First course

▶ Emirati sea bass tartare Yuzu and labneh mayo, avocado, green herbs, fermented tomato water  

▶ The Tale of the Oyster Oyster tartare, Bahraini gum berry pickle

Second course

▶ Local mackerel Sourdough crouton, baharat oil, red radish, zaatar mayo

▶ One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest Quail, smoked freekeh, cinnamon cocoa

Third course

▶ Bahraini bouillabaisse Venus clams, local prawns, fishfarm seabream, farro

▶ Lamb 2 ways Braised lamb, crispy lamb chop, bulgur, physalis


▶ Lumi Black lemon ice cream, pistachio, pomegranate

▶ Black chocolate bar Dark chocolate, dates, caramel, camel milk ice cream

Company Profile

Name: HyveGeo
Started: 2023
Founders: Abdulaziz bin Redha, Dr Samsurin Welch, Eva Morales and Dr Harjit Singh
Based: Cambridge and Dubai
Number of employees: 8
Industry: Sustainability & Environment
Funding: $200,000 plus undisclosed grant
Investors: Venture capital and government

The specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8
Power: 640hp at 6,000rpm
Torque: 850Nm from 2,300-4,500rpm
Transmission: 8-speed auto
Fuel consumption: 11.9L/100km
Price: Dh749,800
On sale: now

Director: Nag Ashwin

Starring: Prabhas, Saswata Chatterjee, Deepika Padukone, Amitabh Bachchan, Shobhana

Rating: ★★★★

Herc's Adventures

Developer: Big Ape Productions
Publisher: LucasArts
Console: PlayStation 1 & 5, Sega Saturn
Rating: 4/5

How to avoid getting scammed
  • Never click on links provided via app or SMS, even if they seem to come from authorised senders at first glance
  • Always double-check the authenticity of websites
  • Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) for all your working and personal services
  • Only use official links published by the respective entity
  • Double-check the web addresses to reduce exposure to fake sites created with domain names containing spelling errors

Hamilton $60m x 2 = $120m

Vettel $45m x 2 = $90m

Ricciardo $35m x 2 = $70m

Verstappen $55m x 3 = $165m

Leclerc $20m x 2 = $40m

TOTAL $485m

Spider-Man: No Way Home

Director: Jon Watts

Stars: Tom Holland, Zendaya, Jacob Batalon 


Martin Sabbagh profile

Job: CEO JCDecaux Middle East

In the role: Since January 2015

Lives: In the UAE

Background: M&A, investment banking

Studied: Corporate finance

The specs

Engine: 3.8-litre twin-turbo flat-six

Power: 650hp at 6,750rpm

Torque: 800Nm from 2,500-4,000rpm

Transmission: 8-speed dual-clutch auto

Fuel consumption: 11.12L/100km

Price: From Dh796,600

On sale: now


GMC Sierra Denali 1500

Engine: 6.2-litre V8

Transmission: 10-speed automatic

Power: 420hp

Torque: 623Nm

Price: Dh232,500

The specs: Taycan Turbo GT

Engine: Dual synchronous electric motors
Power: 1,108hp
Torque: 1,340Nm
Transmission: Single-speed automatic (front axle); two-speed transmission (rear axle)
Touring range: 488-560km
Price: From Dh928,400
On sale: Orders open

UAE medallists at Asian Games 2023

Magomedomar Magomedomarov – Judo – Men’s +100kg
Khaled Al Shehi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Faisal Al Ketbi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Asma Al Hosani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -52kg
Shamma Al Kalbani – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -63kg
Omar Al Marzooqi – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Bishrelt Khorloodoi – Judo – Women’s -52kg
Khalid Al Blooshi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -62kg
Mohamed Al Suwaidi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -69kg
Balqees Abdulla – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -48kg
Hawraa Alajmi – Karate – Women’s kumite -50kg
Ahmed Al Mansoori – Cycling – Men’s omnium
Abdullah Al Marri – Equestrian – Individual showjumping
Team UAE – Equestrian – Team showjumping
Dzhafar Kostoev – Judo – Men’s -100kg
Narmandakh Bayanmunkh – Judo – Men’s -66kg
Grigorian Aram – Judo – Men’s -90kg
Mahdi Al Awlaqi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -77kg
Saeed Al Kubaisi – Jiu-jitsu – Men’s -85kg
Shamsa Al Ameri – Jiu-jitsu – Women’s -57kg

The five pillars of Islam

1. Fasting

2. Prayer

3. Hajj

4. Shahada

5. Zakat


Company: Eco Way
Started: December 2023
Founder: Ivan Kroshnyi
Based: Dubai, UAE
Industry: Electric vehicles
Investors: Bootstrapped with undisclosed funding. Looking to raise funds from outside


Starring: Lupita Nyong'o, Joseph Quinn, Djimon Hounsou

Director: Michael Sarnoski

Rating: 4/5

Three ways to boost your credit score

Marwan Lutfi says the core fundamentals that drive better payment behaviour and can improve your credit score are:

1. Make sure you make your payments on time;

2. Limit the number of products you borrow on: the more loans and credit cards you have, the more it will affect your credit score;

3. Don't max out all your debts: how much you maximise those credit facilities will have an impact. If you have five credit cards and utilise 90 per cent of that credit, it will negatively affect your score.


Main display: 7.6" QXGA+ Dynamic Amoled 2X, Infinity Flex, 2176 x 1812, 21.6:18, 374ppi, HDR10+, up to 120Hz

Cover display: 6.2" HD+ Dynamic Amoled 2X, 2316 x 904, 23.1:9, 402ppi, up to 120Hz

Processor: Qualcomm Snapdragon 8 Gen 2, 4nm, octa-core; Adreno 740 GPU

Memory: 12GB

Capacity: 256/512GB / 1TB (online exclusive)

Platform: Android 13, One UI 5.1.1

Main camera: Triple 12MP ultra-wide (f/2.2) + 50MP wide (f/1.8) + 10MP telephoto (f/2.4), dual OIS, 3x optical zoom, 30x Space Zoom, portrait, super slo-mo

Video: 8K@24fps, 4K@60fps, full-HD@60/240fps, HD@960fps; slo-mo@60/240/960fps; HDR10+

Cover camera: 10MP (f/2.2)

Inner front camera: Under-display 4MP (f/1.8)

Battery: 4400mAh, 25W fast charging, 15W wireless, 4.5W reverse wireless

Connectivity: 5G; Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 5.3, NFC (Samsung Pay)


Cards: Nano-SIM + eSIM; dual nano-SIMs + eSIM

Colours: Cream, icy blue, phantom black; online exclusives – blue, grey

In the box: Fold5, USB-C-to-USB-C cable

Price: Dh6,799 / Dh7,249 / Dh8,149


Director: Nikhil Nagesh Bhat

Starring: Lakshya, Tanya Maniktala, Ashish Vidyarthi, Harsh Chhaya, Raghav Juyal

Rating: 4.5/5