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Having shied away from the salon for many, many months, Liz O’Reilly experiences a taste of indulgent paradise at The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Bahrain.


With so many salons and spas only offering Covid-limited services at the moment, I have to admit it has hardly seemed worth the journey. So, my trip to The Ritz-Carlton Spa is both much anticipated and, if I’m honest, much needed!

I am met at the entrance by my therapists, Betty and Leah, who offer a smiling welcome behind an impressive amount of personal protective equipment – their uniforms are encased in an outer suit and faces bear masks, goggles and a visor.

We head off to tackle my seriously neglected feet and hands. And, showing absolutely no sign of censure, despite the rough skin on my feet and dehydrated hands and nails, Betty explains that all products used are either from ESPA or Natura Bissé. Both brands are cruelty-free and vegan, quite a big area of concern for me. Ruby red rose petals are scattered throughout the treatment room and even in the water where I lower my feet (underwater lighting also changes colour) as I sink into the chair. Now, excuse me for going off on a tangent but this chair really does deserve a substantial mention.

Regular massages were my thing before the pandemic and their absence has grieved me sorely for the last 12 months. So, to say I am excited by the ‘bells and whistles’ massage chair would be something of an understatement. No gentle undulation here. Oh no, this is almost a fully-fledged masseuse encased in black leather. It pummels, it kneads, it pushes against various muscle groups and it’s the best substitute for the real thing that I’ve come across. So much so that I repeat the 20-minute programme three times! (Much to my therapists’ amusement.)

“Relaxation oil is rubbed into my arms while my legs are treated to a salt scrub to remove dry skin before being gently massaged with a hydration potion of lavender, rose geranium and rosemary.”

I’m also impressed by the attention to detail from Betty and Leah who make sure to check my preferred length and shape before starting on my nails. I usually hate having my cuticles clipped.

Nine times out of 10 it results in pain and bleeding. But these two are mistresses of their art and before I know it both nails and cuticles are knocked into shape without me feeling a thing. Relaxation oil is rubbed into my arms while my legs are treated to a salt scrub to remove dry skin before being gently massaged with a hydrating potion of lavender, rose geranium and rosemary.

Afterwards my skin feels amazing and the application of polish on my finger and toe nails completes the treatment before I head to another room for my facial. Betty recommends I go for the ESPA Age Defying Facial and I couldn’t agree more! Years of living in the sun, a youth spent under sunbeds and various other lifestyle factors have left my complexion needing all the help it can get and this promises regeneration with a lifting and plumping effect. Betty begins with a gentle cleanse using hydrating cleansing milk followed by toner to remove the last vestiges of dirt clinging to my pores. It’s a shock that both substances are cold (particularly as I am luxuriating on a heated treatment bed) but within seconds my skin is welcoming the soothing feel of the lotions and Betty’s gentle strokes across my face.

I’m quite concerned about the next stage, a scrub, otherwise known as a refined skin polish. My face is pretty sensitive and scrubs can be a little overwhelming, but I needn’t have worried. Again, Betty is gentle and applies minimal pressure, so I am barely aware of the benefits I’m receiving.

Next, a dry skin brushing machine is passed over my face to slough off dead skin. This is a slightly weird feeling but not unpleasant and it’s quickly followed by another application of cool toner before we move on to the main events. First, ESPA Regenerating Face Oil is applied to my skin and gently rubbed in using circular strokes to target fine lines and wrinkles.

And, wow, I can immediately feel my face drinking it in. This is followed by the application of the Tri-Active Lift and Firm Mask and, if it’s possible for the skin to sigh in relief, this does the trick! Another round of cleansing and toning follows before my face is slathered in Optimal Skin Pro-Serum, to maintain the PH balance and hydration, followed by 24-hour Regenerating Moisture Complex and sun protection.

I leave feeling refreshed with my skin looking better than it has in an awfully long time – an effect that is still evident 24 hours later. I’m even inspired to take a new look at my own skincare regime (or the lack of it).

For reservations or more information, please call 1758 0000.

ritzcarlton.com/bahrain

@ritzcarltonbahrain

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