Holidays are the only time you can truly relax in our modern working culture. Mindfulness classes and express massages might help reduce daily stress - but often the effects are only temporary as you’re thrown back into the frantic workplace.
Today, 52% of people check their smartphone within 15 minutes of waking up, according to 2017 research from consultancy firm Deloitte, with 60% checking work emails on holiday time, according to a 2018 survey from YouGov.
No doubt, it’s clear that working 9 to 5 - à la the Dolly Parton era - is now a thing of the past. By law, you can’t work over 48 hours per week, although thousands of us actively opt-in to. In fact, working over 39 hours per week poses a significant risk to your health. Recent studies show those who work over 55 hours per week increase stroke risk by one-third, while sitting in an office for long periods is just as bad for your health as smoking.
Relaxation is a modern luxury. If you’re heading to Abu Dhabi, it’s the perfect chance to leave your phone behind and totally de-stress in one of their opulent spas or wellness hang-outs.
Emirates Palace Hotel Spa
For the ultimate pampering experience, duck inside Abu Dhabi’s award-winning Emirates Palace Hotel spa. Designed in the style of a traditional Moroccan hammam, this luxurious oasis is home to two jacuzzis, two steam rooms, a heated marble room and an ice cave. Try a traditional Arabian hammam, a vigorous body scrub before being massaged with rich shea butter, or indulge in the 24-Carat Gold Radiance Facial for a rejuvenated fresh glow.
Dahlia Spa, Four Seasons Abu Dhabi
Tucked away on Al Maryah, one of Abu Dhabi’s 200 islands, you’ll find the Four Seasons Dahlia Spa. Known for its calming atmosphere and friendly staff, we recommend treating yourself to a deep-tissue Swedish massage on an alpha-quartz sand table. Warmed to the perfect temperature, it’s specifically created to alleviate pain and tension within the body for ultimate relaxation. Unwind afterwards in the separate men and women’s relaxation room with stunning vistas of the capital’s skyline.
CHI the Spa, Shangri-La Qaryat al Beri Hotel
Soak in a rose petal-infused bath or take a dip in the rooftop pool under the Arabian Gulf’s azure blue sky at CHI the spa, the Shangri-La Qaryat al Beri hotel. Inspired by the ancient Bedouins, CHI offers a luxurious Arabic coffee and sumac body scrub, said to promote circulation, an all-important treatment for jetlagged travellers. Top tip: head up to the pool at sunset for a spectacular view over the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. shangri-la.com
Iridium Spa, The St. Regis Saadiyat Island Resort
Just outside central Abu Dhabi on the white pristine sand of Saadiyat Island, you will find the Iridium Spa at the St. Regis. Reserve a private beach cabana and treat yourself to the Precious Massage, using the the world’s most luxurious ingredients including diamond and platinum-infused massage oil. By working with energy chakras, it’s tailored to leave your mind and body feeling completely restored. It’s no wonder Iridium Spa was voted the Middle East’s Best Resort Spa at the World Spa Awards 2018.
Anantara Spa, Eastern Mangroves Hotel
Escape the hustle and bustle of the city inside the tranquil Anantara Spa at the Eastern Mangroves Hotel. As you step inside the cool marbled walls, you will immediately feel at ease. Fusing Asian and Arabian traditions, there are Turkish hammams, three couples suites alongside a separate male and female relaxation rooms. Try hot yoga in the hammam room or the Neom de-stress candle massage, combining lavender, jasmine and Brazilian rosewood oils with meditation and massage. Guaranteed to leave you feeling blissfully at ease.
1847, Saadiyat Beach Club
Named after the year that the world’s first safety razor was invented, 1847 is one of the first male-only grooming salons in the Middle East. Relax in the barber’s chair for a Gentleman’s Tonic traditional shave that will leave your beard looking immaculate and smelling of sandalwood. We recommend tidying up those fingernails with an 1847 manicure, where your hands are massaged with a herbal exfoliating mask. After all, men like to be pampered too.
Remède Spa, The St. Regis Abu Dhabi
Undoubtedly one of the largest spas in Abu Dhabi, the Remède Spa is the size of 12 tennis courts. However, their speciality is individual service, thanks to their highly-skilled therapists. Try the ‘four hands’ massage, where two therapists work in harmony to relax your muscle tissue using specially-blended aromatherapy oils. Finish your session drinking white tea and eating juicy apricots while overlooking the shimmering Arabian Gulf.