At one with nature at Al Maha resort’s luxury spa

Private, peaceful and perfectly maintained, the conservation reserve treated us to views of oryx at every turn.
Al Maha is home to about 300 oryx. Courtesy Al Maha
Al Maha is home to about 300 oryx. Courtesy Al Maha

After about an hour’s journey from Dubai Marina, off the highway to Al Ain Road, my companion and I arrived at Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa on a baking afternoon. A driver collected us from the security checkpoint, where we abandoned our car and jumped into his SUV for the 10-minute ride over glowing amber dunes to our destination.

Reminiscent of a luxurious safari lodge, self-contained suites, each with their own temperature-controlled pool, dotted the route to the main reception area. Private, peaceful and perfectly maintained, the conservation reserve treated us to views of oryx at every turn.

Al Maha – Arabic for oryx – has more than 300 of the once-endangered creatures, making it home to the largest free-roaming herd in Arabia. Keen to explore more before dinner, I headed to the Timeless Spa, a luxurious, rustic space with hand-carved furniture and silk carpets underfoot.

I put myself in the capable hands of a therapist for a Basaltic hot-stone massage and the treatment turned out to be just what I needed after the long, hot drive. The deep-tissue technique was intense and with the knots in my shoulders deftly undone, I felt re-energised, but it was over all too soon.

What the treatment did most successfully, however, was merge the outdoors with the indoors. The sound of water trickling gently in the canals and pools just beyond the spa were audible inside, as was the chorus of crickets and wild birds. And due to the spa’s winding layout and well-appointed, spacious relaxation areas, I couldn’t help wondering if I was the only person there, even though the spa’s diary was full of appointments that day.

If you are a self-confessed spa-holic and have the opportunity to visit, also try the Rasul Ritual, which offers full-body exfoliation with a mineral-rich, clay body mask. This is followed by down time in a private Arabic Rasul room, which comes equipped with light and aromatic steam programmes. Indeed, everything about the desert resort seems geared towards sensory immersion and if you let yourself enjoy the sights, scents and sounds of the reserve, you’ll truly feel a million miles from the stress of the city.

A 90-minute hot-stone massage costs Dh600; the Rasul ritual costs Dh550 for 75 minutes. Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, Dubai, Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve, Al Ain Road. To book an appointment, call 04 832 9900

rduane@thenational.ae

Published: May 12, 2015 04:00 AM

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