Pampered from Head to Toe

Abu Dhabi spa puts luxurious spin on traditional hammam bathing ritual

Why You Need It

When a good long soak in the tub isn’t enough, do as the Moors did—and the Greeks and Romans before them—and delight in a hammam treatment. This elaborate bathing ritual cleanses the mind, muscles and skin and is a mainstay at the finest spas in the Middle East, such as the Emirates Palace Abu Dhabi. Designed like the traditional hammams, or communal bath houses, that still dot the population centers of Morocco today, the spa includes a series of lavish stone-and-tile rooms of varying temperature and humidity, each purpose-built to evoke relaxation, perspiration, exfoliation and, finally, rehabilitation. A pampering attendant leads the journey and helps melt stress and restore skin with a full-body soap and scrub, a mineral-rich wrap using clay mined only in Morocco’s Atlas Mountains, and an intense and moisturizing massage atop a warm marble slab.

Why It’s Special

The Emirates Palace takes the traditional hammam treatment and makes it spectacular. In the five-plus-hour Day of Gold package, for example, after all the steaming, rubbing, rinsing and soaking and a visit to the ice cave—the place to rehydrate with drinks and sweets while the body returns to a normal temperature—guests indulge in a Gold Radiance Facial. Micronized gold, 24-carat quality, is massaged into the skin as part of the state-of-the-art treatment, which also includes a scalp and hand massage.

What It Costs

The Emirates Palace Spa prides itself on bespoke experiences befitting a hotel where every room comes with a personal butler and suites measure more than 7,000 square feet. Treatments can last from an hour to multiple days—meaning costs vary widely. The spa offers popular add-ons such as visits to the Pedi:Mani:Cure Studio by Bastien Gonzalez, where nail and massage therapists employ techniques developed by the acclaimed podiatric beautician, or the Gentlemen’s Tonic barber and grooming shop.

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