I have been to Dubai three times because my very good friend, Mrs Vino, lives there. She and I met at a NHS run ante-natal class at Frimley Hospital, circa 2003, and we have been friends ever since. The first visit was part of a 24 hour stopover from Fremantle, Australia. I was managing the communications for the 2006 edition of the Velux5Oceans. The fleet had just left under starters orders and began to traverse the hostile Southern Ocean. My flight home had a transfer in Dubai. Mrs Vino said that she would strike me off her friend list if I didn’t change my flight so that I could have one night in her new villa in Jumeirah Islands, Dubai. Like the loyal friend that I am, I did as I was instructed and so had a whistlestop stay, which included a Thai bbq in the Jumeirah Beach Hotel, overlooking the Burj El Arab Hotel, in the balmy Dubai heat. On the whole, I was exhausted, jet-lagged, hungover, unwashed. Due to the fact that I checked my hold luggage all the way to London, I turned up with a pair of pants and my laptop so was I barely equipped for a fancy dinner. It wasn’t my finest hour.
The second trip was a family affair, including kids and Hagar, and the full Dubai tourist experience. Quite frankly, we opened a financial artery and let the money flow out of it with glugs. I am a hippy at heart, and as much as The Grenade had ‘the best holiday ever’, for me, I like to experience at least some of the soul of a place.
This trip was going to be much more low key. I had agreed to write a travel piece for View Magazine and so I was looking for a few things to do for a budget travel Dubai experience. As part of this using my Barclay’s Bank lifestyle management service, which is part of my banking package they negotiated a complimentary Angsana Spa signature massage at Angsana Spa Arabian Ranches Dubia Polo & Equestrian Club
This is what I had in-store:
Calm your mind and draw in the serenity of your surroundings. Allow our therapist to offer you a soothing foot wipe, herbal drink and a few minutes to leave the cares of the world behind. Angsana sessions include a complimentary 30-minute calm time on us. Enjoy the difference.
Angsana (120-minute Session) AED 500
OUR GIFT TO YOU
Spa Tip: Work on your body’s key pressure points with Euphoria Oil to strengthen inner â€œqiâ€ or energy. This signature massage was created exclusively for Angsana Spa.
The Spa Manager met me at reception and introduced me to my masseuse ‘Dream’. As a woman, a wife and a mother I have slowly felt myself being suffocated by the selfless requirements of these roles. My self feels that it is often being eroded away. I watch from a distance as the female community attacks each other, in-fighting and misogyny is rife. Men rule. I hope that maybe taking some time to enjoy a massage, or ‘me time’ is something that we can all agree on.
I love spas because they are peaceful, calm places that give me time to reflect and relax. A chance to connect with myself again and try and restore the real me. The person who is deep beneath the mask of mother and wife.
I have to say that this massage was by far the best massage I had ever experienced. Dream asked me the pressure that I wanted ‘gentle, medium or hard’. To be honest my back is shagged from the car crash and so I said “yep, give it all you have got.”
She said, “Madam, I start medium and then if you want more pressure then I can oblige.”
This was fairly sage advice because medium pressure was bang on. I couldn’t have handled any more. My back crunched and grinded as she began the stages of the massage. The lights were low, the music was serene, the room was warm and I was at peace.
The oil that she used was ylang ylang oil, and somehow Dream seemed to strike the balance of not so much that I was slippy as a wet bar of soap and not so little that she exfoliated away a layer of skin. The massage was relaxing but detached. I felt removed enough from the masseuse that her presence was only her hands. I wasn’t aware of her breathing. It was a transcendental experience and I was catapulted into a dream like state. It was heavenly bliss and a rare moment of inner peace.
After the massage, and my complimentary ginger tea, I gathered my possessions and wandered over to the floodlit training ground for the Polo players. The light was hazy and there was a dew in the air. On the terrace of the Polo Club members enjoyed their supper and I stood and watched a lone horseman practice his play.
I was dreamy in Dubai and it felt really good.