A relaxing mid-week break was on Melissa Nazareth’s schedule for a pampering session at Wellness Spa, The Art Hotel & Resort.
Along drive to Amwaj on a bright, sunny Wednesday followed by a relaxing massage at Wellness Spa, The Art Hotel & Resort – that’s how we roll at OHLALA. My colleague and I are already in a good mood when we arrive at the property. While we wait for our masseuses, the friendly people at The Gallery Lobby Lounge wait on us. We have our coffees and head to Level 1 where the spa is located.
A small reception area welcomes us. It leads to a long corridor, flanked on one side by windows that usher in natural light, and on the other by six treatment rooms and a Moroccan steam room. Our masseuses, Lucky and Gracelina, greet us with smiles and lead us to our room. Twin beds, each decorated with a towel arranged as a flower, await us; there’s a towel arranged as a swan on one side of the room, tea lights, potpourri…we’re asked to change in the attached bathroom and our session begins.
I opt for the Swedish Massage and my colleague, the Aromatic Indulge Massage. While both are relaxing treatments, we learn that there are some differences. The steps involved vary; while both use organic oil, the former uses a non-aromatic one and the latter a rose-scented type. The hydrating oils are easily absorbed by the skin – we feel no greasy residue during and after the massage.
Lying face down in a dimly lit, almost-dark room, with soothing instrumental music playing in the background, helps me relax instantly. My masseuse starts with a brief dry massage, stretching my extremities. Then, she pours the oil on her palms, rubs them together and conquers in phases with her magical hands. First my back; she works on every inch with much precision, the movement of her hands is rhythmic, almost like waves sweeping over a calm ocean. In the past, I’ve struggled to explain my pressure preference to therapists; there’s a level between medium and medium-intense, which is difficult to master for some but not Lucky (my masseuse). She hits the spot (pun intended) from the word go.
After my back, it’s my shoulders – an area where I tend to accumulate stress. Lucky’s undulating finger movements, much like a master pianist playing a soulful symphony, help release some of it. This is followed by my legs; my lower legs and feet are other stressed-out areas. Lucky starts off with the upper leg, strongly kneading with the back of her forearm to loosen the knots, then proceeds to the lower leg and feet, including the bottom of my feet. I feel her fingers stimulating my pressure points, which puts me further at ease.
I am asked to turn around and face upwards. The towel that covers me slightly moves, exposing some of my toes as I roll over. I barely realise it until Lucky briefly stops to cover my toes before proceeding with the rest of the treatment; her meticulous work ethic speaks volumes of the Art Hotel & Resort’s focus on guest satisfaction and experience.
We continue; Lucky works on my stomach area, slightly increasing the pressure. This is followed by the front of my legs and feet, and my hands; Lucky manoeuvres her magical fingers through every crevice per the anatomy of my limbs; pinching the webs interspacing my digits and tugging at my fingers and toes – goodbye, stress – hello, relaxation! The last part is my clavicle area, neck and head. Lucky cradles my head while working her charm on the pressure points on my neck and the roots of my hair. She also massages my face but after stripping her hands of the oil. The endnote to my treatment is the pressing of my feet downwards; then, upwards to stretch my hamstrings.
By the time we change back into our clothes, we find the room is now bright; the blinds have been opened. We’re served green tea and water. Feeling thoroughly relaxed, I sip on my tea, passively admiring the artwork – I couldn’t see it earlier as the room was dark. An abstract painting catches my eye, it’s got figures of Arab women drawn using Arabic calligraphy; at least, that’s how my colleague interprets it.
“How was your massage?” I enquire of my companion. “I was instantly induced into a relaxed state,” she says. “The aromatic scent of the rose oil brought an immediate sense of relief from the stress that I was carrying, as well as from my intense yoga training sessions. Gracelina’s tender and caring approach, using just the right amount of pressure, was the perfect combination; just the massage I needed.”
While our session lasted 60 minutes, a 90-minute variation is available. The Wellness Spa has a host of other massage treatments, facials and body treatments and packages that include Moroccan baths, scrubs and wraps. You can enjoy a massage at a discounted price from Sunday to Wednesday, from 10am to 3pm; kind of like happy hours but for massages. We, for sure, will be back for another treatment; perhaps heading to the private beach and pool afterwards!