Wellness has become a crucial element in people’s lives. OHLALA’s editor went to The Gulf Spa for a full-body session that served as a reminder of the importance of self-care.
One of the perks of my job is to enjoy a spa day during the week and, this time, I got to go once again to The Gulf Spa at The Gulf Hotel Bahrain Convention & Spa. For the past year and a half, it’s been under the careful eye of Florencia Pereira, the Spa Manager.
As soon as I arrived at the reception, after using the exclusive entrance to the spa, Florencia welcomed me with her beautiful smile, and the sound of the water pouring into the fountain in the centre of the space put me in the right mood: a relaxing one. After talking to Florencia for some time, I noticed how passionate she is about her job and how it reflects in this wellness haven. She recently changed some treatments on the menu and they now offer exciting customised experiences. The VIP room where couples’ treatments occur can also be used for a small group of ladies or men celebrating a special occasion or as the perfect scenario for a mother-and-daughter moment. The room has its own Jacuzzi, tropical shower, sauna and steam areas, and the fabulous food and beverage team from Gulf Hotel can arrange special high tea menus to be served in this luxurious space. The relaxation areas are also semi-private spaces where friends can enjoy teatime after using the thermal facilities. Everything is done to make you feel pampered with a sense of home.
At The Gulf Spa, you find not only exceptional facilities located in a massive space with three tropical showers, an expansive sauna and steam room (where you can choose your favourite scent to be emanated in the steam), an ice fountain, Jacuzzi and cold pool – they have the same configuration in the men’s side – but also a dedicated spa boutique. By the reception, you have eye-catching displays where you find the products used in the treatments. They offer the luxurious Spanish brand Natura Bissé, the well-known British spa name, Aromatherapy Associates, and the Hammam line is from the Moroccan Maison d’Asa. They also carry a unique brand to cater to their masculine audience, used exclusively in men’s treatments: Hommage. The Japanese luxury skincare and grooming line is formulated with men’s skin and needs at its core. One treatment called Hommage – Back Treatment aims to be like a facial therapy for the back, a quite problematic area for many men – it offers deep cleaning and hydration.
Florencia took me on a tour around this calming environment with low-lit corridors made with natural stones and wood panels. A décor detail caught my attention, the beautiful art on the walls from Bahrain’s talented artist, Karima Sharabi. Her mystical designs inspired by Arabic calligraphy add the perfect refined taste and an artistic edge to the space.
It was time to get ready for my pampering session, and Florencia left me in the hands of experienced and skilled Analyn, my therapist for the day. She explained that we would start with the 60-minute Swedish Massage. I wanted a relaxing full-body massage (I had moved house the day before and was sore from carrying stuff around), and Analyn was ready to give me precisely that. The Swedish massage is recommended for those looking for relaxation, pain management, stress reduction and increased blood flow.
She asked which areas I would like to focus on and, as usual, my request went to my back, as it’s where I hold all my tension. She indeed gave extra attention to it, but to my surprise, she also focused on my arms. I had no idea that a comprehensive massage on my arms would help release the tension. I loved that and will definitely say back and arms on my next spa visit. As she used medium pressure, I didn’t feel any pain as I usually do, and it was an enjoyable session – exactly what I was looking for.
She seamlessly moved to my next treatment: Age Repair Facial. A 90-minute facial therapy that, as the name suggests, aims to fight the signs of ageing. It had been a while since I last had a facial treatment, so I was really excited about it. The Age Repair Facial is performed with a special anti-ageing line from Aromatherapy Associates. The line uses rose as the primary ingredient and other potent botanicals such as frankincense and strawberry seed extract. The smell of each product was absolutely unbelievable. I have to say they took me on an incredible olfactory journey. Analyn started by removing my make-up and then cleansing my skin.
She then applied the hydrating and refreshing Rose Skin Tonic toner. After that, it was time for the Rose Exfoliating Cleanser, which contained small particles that easily dissolved into the skin. Still with the product on my face, she placed the steamer close enough to help open the pores to facilitate the manual extraction of black and white heads that followed. Toner again; then she performed an anti-ageing massage with rhythmic movements with Anti-Ageing Fine Line Face Oil. She then covered my skin with a generous layer of Hydrating Rose Face Mask. While it penetrated my complexion, Analyn worked in a complete scalp massage to improve blood circulation in the area. She removed the mask with a warm towel and applied Rose Radiance Skin Serum, followed by the second mask, the brand’s famous Overnight Repair Mask. As I was going for some errands after my treatment, she left it for only 10 minutes, but she said it could sit on the skin overnight for best results. She finalised with another toner application, Eye Zone Concentrate balm, Triple Rose Renewing Moisturiser and sunscreen.
I looked at myself in the mirror and felt 10 years younger. The fine lines were softer, my skin felt plump and smooth, and it had a beautiful natural radiance. It was amazing to see these results. It felt like magic! And the smell lingered long after. If you are looking for an amazing spa experience that will help you reconnect with yourself or a place to spend time with your favourite girlies, I highly recommend The Gulf Spa. The extensive menu has the ideal therapy for everyone!
Our chat with Florencia Pereira, the Spa Manager at The Gulf Hotel Bahrain Convention & Spa, unveiled more about The Gulf Spa’s secrets, and we share them with you!
OHLALA – You have many years of experience in the hospitality sector. What are the main pillars of managing a spa in a hotel?
Florencia Pereira – The human factor! My team is the main pillar. It is true in any industry but even more in ours. A welltrained, passionate, diverse team builds the foundation for a successful spa. The hospitality and wellness industry is more competitive today than it ever was. There is so much innovation, and new technologies are becoming an essential part of the wellness industry. In a world where everything is moving towards automation, the human factor is, more than ever, fundamental and, in my opinion, growing in importance.
OHLALA – What are the most significant characteristics of The Gulf Spa? What makes it stand out?
Florencia – The Gulf Spa is all about the guests’ experience! We are not just the place where customers come for a massage or a facial. It is a destination where our guests can reconnect with themselves by disconnecting from outside distractions and everyday stress. From our beautiful design to the music and the scents that emanate throughout our spa corridors, it is an experience that truly involves all senses. Its unexpected tranquillity, in the middle of the busy city, as well as the quality of the facilities, services and products we use, are all stand-out characteristics.
OHLALA – What do you take into consideration and want to achieve with the menu of treatments offered at The Gulf Spa?
Florencia – To design the menu, we looked at our guests; who are they? What are they looking for? What are we not offering yet? Our main goal is to be a place of pure relaxation for all our guests. In-house guests can recover from jet lag or relax after long meetings or simply enjoy their weekend in Bahrain by taking some time to themselves by enjoying our wonderful thermal facilities and treatments. Local customers can find a place that will bring them comfort in a familiar and welcoming atmosphere while enjoying five-star therapies and luxurious spa brands like Natura Bisssé and Hommage, amongst others.
OHLALA – Which is the spa’s most popular therapy and why?
Florencia – The Gulf Spa Moroccan Journey has become very popular since we launched our new menu last May. It is a threehour journey that treats the body from head to toe. We start in our Hammam room to fully cleanse and remove any trace of city pollution with a Moroccan bath. A spritz of organic oud and sandalwood oil lifts the spirits and nourishes the skin before a one-hour anti-fatigue massage. We finalise the treatment with a facial tailored to the guests’ needs, leaving them feeling renewed and ready to face the world.
OHLALA – What are your future plans for the spa? Maybe new treatments, packages, or anything you would like to highlight?
Florencia – After a very challenging couple of years, the spa industry worldwide has rebounded. There is more awareness today than ever about the importance of mental and physical wellness. The Gulf Spa’s future looks at developing more products/services that will embody the newfound importance of a balanced life for everyone.