Spa Day: Talise Ottoman Spa at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray

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The eight-seater Jacuzzi at Talise Ottoman Spa offers a tranquil escape in a majestic setting

 

Located at the majestic Jumeirah Zabeel Saray hotel on the Palm Dubai, Talise Ottoman Spa is an iconic destination in itself. Home to a plethora of facilities and signature treatments, an entire day must be dedicated for relaxing at this peaceful haven.

Arrive early at the spa and relax at one of the facilities like the Thalassotherapy (salt water) indoor pool, Jacuzzi, sauna rooms (two different temperatures), steam bath, adventure shower, heated marble beds, outdoor or indoor private cabanas and snow room.

There’s a couple spa as well with separate facilities. I didn’t visit that, so I can’t tell you much about it 🙂

Being a big Jacuzzi fan, I enjoyed my session in the hot tub the most. But I found the outdoor cabana setting equally relaxing. Tucked in the middle of the spa – in a garden setting – the outdoor cabanas’ area is one not to be  missed. You can lay on one of the cabanas while having a light snack and reading a magazine. Or simply sit in absolute peace in a zen-like atmosphere of birds chirping and beautiful breeze. Honestly, this is the ideal meditation spot.

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Peaceful moments at Talise Ottoman Spa’s outdoor cabana

 

Since I’ve never experienced a Turkish hammam treatment, I booked the spa’s signature Royal Ottoman hammam. The 60-minute session includes a body scrub with a loofah, a moisturising wash with the magical olive soap, followed by a warm rinse for the body and hair wash. The royal treatment ends with a honey mask, made up of natural honey, lavender, sesame and dry mint. The sweet-scented and skin-smoothing mask is applied on the whole body and left for five minutes, before being rinsed off with beautifully warm water.

My therapist was a smiley and friendly Mongolian lady called Empee. She constantly asked me if I was comfortable and adjusted the pressure of the scrubbing to my liking after I informed her of my sensitive skin issue.

The hammam therapy is done on a marble surface that takes up to four ladies at once! that was news to me as I had only done a Moroccan bath in the past, where the treatment is done privately in a closed room. Another thing worth noting is that I didn’t wear the top piece of my disposable underwear! since this was my first Turkish hammam experience, I wasn’t aware of the formalities and procedures. So when I saw two disposable underwear pieces (one was rolled in a plastic wrapper), I assumed that this was an extra disposable panty and I didn’t bother to open it. Then, when I get to the hammam facility, I was surprised to find out that I will be joined by other ladies (and their therapists) in the same area. And everyone was wearing both pieces of their disposable hammam underwear 🙂

I wasn’t that embarrassed though, since everyone is either closing their eyes to enjoy the treatment or busy scrubbing the body of the client laying in front of them. Plus, it’s a good opportunity to get all those little areas scrubbed properly – if you know what I mean 🙂

At the end of the rejuvenating and detoxing session, a Turkish evil eye bracelet (which I loved) is given to the client. It’s a simple, yet so cute and meaningful gift that I plan to wear it daily (to match my evil eye necklace that I wear almost daily).

For my Balinese massage, I chose an Indonesian therapist – Asie. The music played in the massage room was relaxing, the treatment was rejuvenating and it was the perfect add-on to my royal hammam session.

The result was shiny, glowing and super soft and supple skin, a relaxed mind and a memorable spa day.

What I didn’t like about my visit to Talise Ottoman Spa was the following:

  • Most of the staff at the spa were in a rush, the service was always quick. I understand that it’s a popular spa and this is natural due to the high number of visitors. But I think they should try to maintain a professional and calm approach and at least try to hide the fact that they are always very busy and have no time for questions or assisting clients.
  • I felt like I was in a factory and not a spa. Again, this is due to the high number of visitors.
  • I felt like a tourist. It’s a spa mostly frequented by tourists and that’s the sense of service that you will get. Rushed, commercial and not personalised at all.
  • I felt like I was just another number. Again, there’s a fast-paced atmosphere at this spa. Which is the last thing that you want to feel when visiting a spa. Since the whole point is to take a slower pace to life and pause for a moment. But not here. They want you to go in, get the treatment done and leave as quickly as possible so that they can take in the next client on the list. Not good.
  • The staff will try their best to sell you products and that’s common in most spas. I just felt it was a bit stronger and more obvious at this spot. They didn’t try to hide it or say it in a discreet way. They want you to buy products post treatment and they will sell you whatever they can, from olive soap bars to organic hair oils.
  • My hair was as dry as the loofah used after the treatment! the therapist used a mint shampoo to wash my hair and a jasmine conditioner during the hammam. But I think she scrubbed my hair too much, that I ended up with this big frizz and extremely dry wig of hair. I even had to put some leave-in oil in my hair this morning before leaving the house.
  • They served basic black tea at the relaxation lounge post-treatment. Now that is one thing that you don’t expect from the Middle East’s biggest spa. I wasn’t even asked what type of tea I wanted to have. I was just served normal English Breakfast tea with dates and cashew nuts. Shouldn’t there be a long list of herbal/organic tea types to choose from? this was very disappointing.

Will I make another visit? absolutely. I would like to try the Arabian Rose or Gold hammam. Plus, I would arrive earlier than I did and spend more time in the Jacuzzi and the outdoor cabana. Pure bliss.

Royal Ottoman 60-minute hammam for AED 565; Balinese 60-minute massage for AED 500; Evil Eye Olive Soap x2 for AED 29 (each), jumeirah.com

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The Jacuzzi at Talise Ottoman Spa is a wonderful respite from the hectic city life

 

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Heated marble beds for added relaxation pre-treatment at Talise Ottoman Spa

 

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The Thalassotherapy indoor pool at Talise Ottoman Spa features mineral salt water to soften the skin

 

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