A WARM TOUCH

An enhanced feeling of well-being is what Fernanda Langhammer experienced after a candle massage at The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay. Check out why you should also try it!

This month, we celebrate wellness in our issue. After reading so many tips from experts in the field, I wondered at how much I still see spa treatments as a luxury treat and not a health necessity. I decided it was time to change this perspective (I highly recommend you do the same) and went for a massage at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay.

They invited me to try the Sensory Journey Candle Massage – one of the trendiest therapies of the moment – that promotes deep relaxation and nourishment.

I love the hotel’s lobby, so I always park my car close to the main entrance, forcing me to cross the entire area and walk the well-illuminated corridor with natural light towards a side spa entrance. For me, this little walk makes me smile every time, and I reach the spa in a brighter mood. You know you’ve arrived there when the floor tiling changes to the vintage Cotto style (a terracotta handmade tile using a slow but simple process which has been the same since Roman times) characteristic to the entire spa area. On the ceiling, a magnificent Venitian-inspired chandelier and below it, an arrangement of green plants and orchids set the tone.

The reception is home to a fine selection of pool and beach garments, accessories and outstanding skincare products. Receptionist Myo welcomed me to the spa and gave me a juice called Inner Glow with collagen properties and a refreshing watermelon flavour. Next to the drink, I found a cold towel with a delicious lemongrass and ginger scent. I cleaned my hands, and Myo handed me an iPad to fill in the guest health questionnaire. It asked for some personal information but also my preferred type of pressure and music to be played in the treatment room. I was then introduced to Nowa, who assisted me through the spa’s corridors (it can be quite a maze) and helped me with the locker – inside it, all the amenities one would need on a spa day.

I quickly swapped my work clothes for a super soft robe. The changing area is extensive, with many cubbies, private chambers and strategically placed vanity counters with products like hair spray, deodorant, body lotion and more. Nowa then led me to Rattaya, my therapist for the day, who was waiting for me at the beginning of the treatment-room gallery. In this part of the spa, the light changes and gets more intimate, putting you in a peaceful mood. The Spa has 17 treatment rooms conceived by PierreYves Rochon, a French interior designer renowned worldwide for creating solutions for luxury hospitality. The terracotta floor and very tall doors in light green paint give an old villa vibe to the whole space, contrasting with the hotel’s sleek design. It is a sophisticated area with a welcoming and pleasant touch.

As I entered the room, Rattaya started with the foot ritual. A bowl with warm water and lemon slices was placed on the floor, waiting for my feet. She then applied the mint scrub while going through the answers I gave on the iPad with my massage preferences. Nature sounds were playing, and my mind drifted away in this perfect environment to unwind.

The room was dimly lit, and I could see the flickering of the candle. It was my first time having this type of massage, and I have to confess that I was a bit worried about how it would be done. The candle used was Paillettes d’Ambre from marocMaroc. Just to clarify, what’s used in this therapy are special massage candles; they have a completely different composition, so please don’t try to have a massage with a regular candle. These are made with natural oils and a tree resin that gives them a soft and silky texture. The Paillettes d’Ambre has a sweet cinnamon base note and myrrh – the smell is subtle and provides a beautiful aromatic sense. Rattaya extinguished the candle and started the treatment by pouring the melted wax onto my body, which felt like a warm, thick oil. I drifted away, letting myself become absorbed into this pampering moment.

I have to say that I didn’t know what to expect, but I will only book candle massages from now on when looking for deep relaxation. I am sure Rattaya’s wonderful hands and skills played a significant role in giving me one of the best relaxing massages I have ever had, but the feeling of the dense liquid on my skin was quite comforting. It felt much nicer than the regular oil – my skin was incredibly soft, and the massage feeling lasted longer. I also have to say that the gentle but firm touch worked wonders on my back knots. Rattaya understood that they had been there for a very long time and treated them with respect without trying to dissolve them in one go. She applied a firm pressure, but it was not painful at any moment. I was relieved and thankful. She ended the session with a scalp massage, and I kept thinking about how I would fit another massage the following week into my busy schedule.

I then sat in a comfortable area to sip my jasmine tea and prepare myself to return to reality. I followed my therapist’s recommendation and didn’t take a shower after; I just slipped into my work clothes again, went to one of the beauty counters, applied my make-up and left the premises feeling lighter and in one of my best moods. This proves that adding spa treatments to your daily life results in incredible benefits to your overall health. What are you waiting for to book an appointment?

After the treatment, we had the pleasure of speaking with the Director of The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay, Nikolay Dimitrov. He tells us more about his experience and gives us an insight into this luxurious spa and wellness centre.

OHLALA – What made you follow the wellness career path?
Nikolay Dimitrov –
Growing up, I spent a lot of time in hotels because my father was working in a hotel’s engineering department. I vividly recall spending a significant amount of time in pools and fitness centres during that period. It seems that my affinity for spas and wellness stemmed from those early experiences. Inspired by my mother, a doctor, I pursued a degree in physiotherapy and subsequently found myself drawn to the world of luxury hotels. Combining this background with my father’s expertise in this industry, I naturally gravitated towards incorporating healthcare and wellness into my work within five-star establishments.

OHLALA – What do you like most about your profession?
Nikolay –
Working in an upscale spa and hotel feels like stepping into Alice in Wonderland – each day is filled with excitement and unpredictability. From encounters with diverse individuals to navigating unexpected situations, there’s never a dull moment. My role revolves around interacting with our valued spa members and hotel guests, intending to craft an oasis where guests can find respite from the demands of everyday life. I take great joy in creating a distinctive experience through exceptional products and services, ensuring that every visit is truly memorable.

OHLALA – What makes The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay unique?
Nikolay –
Our spa team at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay combines the renowned luxury guest experience of Four Seasons with their exceptional skills to create unforgettable moments for our customers. Our team members are proficient in their expertise, ensuring a high level of service. Advanced equipment, modern amenities and welldesigned spaces add to the overall ambience and comfort, allowing guests to fully unwind and rejuvenate. With 17 treatment rooms designed by Pierre-Yves Rochon, it is one of the most extensive spa facilities of Four Seasons globally – but how we make a difference is the genuine hospitality, acts of kindness and personalised service from our dedicated staff.

OHLALA – What do you want to achieve with the menu offered? What do you want your customers to feel after a treatment?
Nikolay –
I believe it is crucial for everyone to prioritise self-care and focus on their well-being. That’s why we offer a wide range of options to cater to different preferences. Some of our offerings are wellness focussed and tailored specifically for our spa members, such as fitness classes and personal training. Others are designed to provide a tranquil and relaxing experience. We aim to ensure that every guest and member finds their favourite activity among our offerings. We take pride in the creativity and professionalism of our team, which is consistently reflected in the overwhelmingly positive feedback we receive. It is our goal to make our guests feel pampered, well taken care of and truly delighted.

OHLALA – What therapies do you offer that, in your opinion, are a must-try?
Nikolay –
I highly recommend experiencing our classic 90-minute Aromatherapy Massage at least once a month – it’s an absolute must! For those with a romantic spirit or those seeking to pamper their loved ones, I encourage them to try our newest package, the Night Spa for two. This popular experience begins at 11pm daily and accommodates only one booking per night. It starts with a relaxing 60-minute aromatherapy couple’s massage in the privacy of our lavishly decorated indoor pool area. Afterwards, guests can indulge in sparkling grape, chocolates, macarons, fruits and have a blissful private time at the indoor pool and spa from midnight to 1am. Another highly soughtafter option is our Day Spafternoon Tea Package, which includes an indulgent Hammam experience and a rejuvenating facial.

OHLALA – What is your ultimate wellness tip?
Nikolay –
The key to maintaining wellness is consistency. Amidst life’s demands, embrace a daily fitness routine: 30 minutes of cardio and weights, with a single rest day. I personally do this routine early in the morning before work, my kids’ school and other responsibilities, as it makes me feel good, sharp and on point. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water, especially in hot weather – aim for at least eight to 10 glasses daily. Eliminate sugar from your diet for improved well-being. Additionally, prioritise quality sleep and recovery. I recommend getting at least seven hours of sleep each night and treating yourself to two monthly massages for optimal results.

For more information or to book an appointment, please call The Spa at Four Seasons Hotel Bahrain Bay on 1711 5045.
@fsbahrain

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