Vegan treatments that are good enough to eat at Dubai’s Spa Cordon

We review an all-natural beauty treatment at Spa Cordon in Dubai's downtown district.

Price-wise, a mani-pedi will set you back between Dh100 and Dh150 for a standard clean and colour. Rebecca McLaughlin Duane
Powered by automated translation

Spa Cordon is tucked away in a quiet corner in Downtown Dubai. The glass-fronted exterior is bright and welcoming, and upon first glance you might presume the spa is quite bijou. Actually, it boasts more than 3,500 square feet of treatment rooms, Oriental bath suites and private relaxation areas. Once you step inside, you’ll be aware of the “all-natural Balinese retreat” feel: the reception desk is made from coconut lumber, the walls have mother-of-pearl artwork and the ceiling is lined with rattan. As I flicked through the list of treatments in the meet-and-greet area, I was served sparkling date juice.

Having heard so much about the spa’s eco-friendly treatments, I was keen to try the signature manicure and pedicure. Price-wise, a mani-pedi will set you back between Dh100 and Dh150 for a standard clean and colour. Longer-lasting applications such as Gelish, are about Dh220. In comparison, an express vegan mani-pedi at Spa Cordon costs Dh140, and adding extras such as a scrub, masque and reflexology, will cost Dh330 for 75 minutes.

My therapist introduced me to the “interactive beauty bar”, which was stocked with creams, scrubs and oils – a selection of which could be used in the process. A novel idea and certain to appeal to those who are pregnant or have sensitivities and allergies to certain oils and emollients.

For the dissolvable water bombs, placed in foot- and hand-spas, I opted for a combination of cinnamon, milk powder and ylang-ylang. The cubes, which are prepared on-site, fizzed and released aromatic vapours.

For the exfoliation, I selected a scrub with oatmeal, coconut and black seed oil. The final stage, before the nail-painting, was a softening wrap for the hands and feet made from date syrup, honey and peppermint leaves. While the wrap worked its magic – it has to be left on for a full 15 minutes – I was treated to a wonderful back massage, topped off with a heated lavender neck scarf.

Polish-wise, I plumped for a vegan brand called SpaRitual, which claims to be free of all known nasties, including DBP and camphor. The other brand available was Zoya, which offers a long-lasting nail lacquer, also containing only natural ingredients. Although SpaRitual’s nail polish didn’t last quite as long as those packed with chemicals and enhancers, it initially went on smoothly and had a beautifully glossy finish. Once the mani-pedi was completed, I was given another brief back massage, and rose water was spritzed over my face, hands and feet.

The manicure and pedicure aside, I would try one of Spa Cordon’s signature facials, mainly because one great advantage the spa has over its rivals in the region is that it is the sole distributor of Epicuren facial products. The luxury American brand uses an ­enzyme-protein complex – often referred to as the Mediterranean complex – as a key ingredient. This when combined with soluble ­vitamin B and applied to the skin, has well-documented rejuvenating and plumping effects.

Spa Cordon won Best Day Spa 2013 at the Middle East Spa Awards, and a certificate of excellence from TripAdvisor in 2012 after just one year of trading. All in all, it’s a well-considered concept in a well-laid-out space, and manages to provide something a little bit different in a market saturated with lookalike spas and feel-alike treatments. Give it a try. You never know, you might be converted to veganism more easily than you think.

A classic manicure and pedicure at Spa Cordon in Sky Gardens, DIFC, Downtown Dubai, costs Dh330 for 75 minutes. To book an appointment, call 04 421 3424 or visit