I have been on holiday in Dubai and managed to fit in a flying visit to the Palazzo Versace Dubai to take a peek at the spa. I was really curious to see what it was like. I’d heard that it was pitch black and a bit flashy, but that wasn’t the impression I got – I’d say it’s dark, sleek and the ultimate in luxury.
First impressions: this place is grand with a capital G. A huge sweep of an Italianate building, it is set up on Dubai Creek, a bit of a way from the clustering of hotels and skyscrapers around the Dubai Marina, and well north, through the sandy scrub of ongoing developments, of the malls and the Burj Khalifa. It’s more than a bit Las Vegas, seeing this sort of thing rise up beyond the tangle of new freeways, but then many of the resorts in Dubai have that sort of alternate reality feel to them.
This huge mosaic with Versace’s adopted Medusa-head design and meander-pattern border is in the entrance hallway.
The spa is very dark – a lot of it is done out in black mosaic – so it feels as if it’s subterranean, even though it’s on the ground floor. Dark and inviting, I’d say, especially the gorgeous jacuzzi with its star-spangled-sky lighting, and it is all a startling contrast to the searing sun outside and the spacious, light-filled foyer of the hotel.
There are just seven treatment rooms here so it feels small and private which is no doubt a draw for the more famous visitors.
I loved the curved-ribbon-relief pattern on the wall in the treatment rooms, above. And it’s not black, more of a warm, beigey-brown, like the luxurious robe and slippers, above and below.
This is Ruth, who is a very talented masseur, showing the two Neom candles she used to help me choose which massage to go for. I reckoned ‘destress’ – with jasmine, lavender and Brazilian rosewood – would be just the ticket, but my nose chose ‘sleep’, a blend of jasmine, lavender and sweet basil.
The massage was just terrific. It started with subtle work on acupressure points up and down my back, then moved on with slow, sweeping strokes that did a fantastic job of unknotting all the tight spots around my neck, under the backs of my shoulders, and in the lower part of the back. Supremely relaxing, but also really beneficial. Afterwards, there are the heated black mosaic relaxation beds to flop on with a cup of camomile tea and a saucer of walnuts. And don’t miss the ‘experience’ showers. I normally skip these but after Ruth gave me a demo of the power and noise and jets of water that ‘Carribean Storm’ could crack out, I couldn’t wait. Yes, it’s just having jets of water shot from the sides, but added to the crashes of thunder and flashes of light (interspersed with pitch darkness), it was quite the experience.
Out in the daylight… this is the second pool at the side of the hotel. Just gorgeous.
…and there’s another pool in front of this terrace that lies beyond the foyer.
Very Versace: the decor in the foyer.
Somehow, amid such grandeur, it didn’t seem out of place to find a hooded bird of prey on a perch in the foyer, for guests to admire.
Dream display of vases…
I visited on the Easter weekend – these little egg chicks were among the many delights in the lavish buffet laid on in the Giardino restaurant.. I’ll leave you with a selection of the mouthwatering desserts, below!
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