1) O Spa by L'Occitane at Intercontinental Fujairah

The drama of the surrounding Hajjar mountains is reflected in the hammam, as if carved into a mountainside, with natural materials and a striking ceiling feature

Style notes

  • While the newly opened InterContinental resort in Fujairah was designed by London-based K/M2K, Esadore International in Dubai oversaw the design of O Spa by L’Occitane, the first spa by the renowned French retailer of body, bath and home fragrances.
  • In the spacious, double-height reception natural, earthy tones, dark wood and vertical Arabesque etchings draw upon the surrounding Hajjar mountains and their dramatic natural beauty. Lighting cleverly casts a mashrabiya-like lattice of shadows from the delicate wooden balustrade of the staircase. L’Occitane products are displayed subtly on pedestals, like fine jewellery or art pieces, while turquoise seats with curved edges aid the feeling of serenity and reflect the sea outside.
  • Above the spa’s reception, a mezzanine gym level features floor-to-ceiling windows offering a sublime view of the mountains and beach-fronting pool, where guests can meditate and work out with the spa’s yoga therapist as the sun rises.
  • While the treatment rooms are generously proportioned, the Turkish hammam is cavernous. Over the creamy marble centrepiece a huge dome is carved like a lemon squeezer into the ceiling, encouraging spa-goers to breathe and relax.
The double-height reception has a warm palette of wood and turquoise, reflective of the resort’s surroundings, while the stairs project a latticework of shadows


2) Natureland Spa at Rixos Premium Dubai

The Ottoman hammam is bright and fresh, with unspoiled white marble and pops of turquoise

Style notes

  • Turkey-based commercial turn-key developer Mega Projeler (aka mega projects), has collaborated on the architecture and construction of all of the Rixos Group hotels in the Middle East, including Rixos Premium Dubai on the shoreline of Jumeirah Beach Residences, which opened in June last year. On the second floor, Natureland Spa picks out certain design elements of the  contemporary hotel, such as the delicate gold mashrabiya screens in the bedrooms, which feature in the spa’s relaxation lounge.
  • There’s a well-designed mix of traditional and modern materials; brown marble flooring features throughout and leads down a long corridor towards a sunken hot tub, surrounded by smooth concrete and beautiful white porcelain wall tiles etched, almost as if by mistake, with irregular patterns. Brass and gold metal wall art accent the walls, and ornate fantastical dragon heads by the elevators will transport anyone back to Chiang Mai who’s been there.
  • The highlight is the Ottoman hammam, a huge, round, white marbled room with a large white and grey-veined marble centrepiece for the scrub down. Asymmetric turquoise tiles frame the brass tap fittings, which sit above large marble basins. Only one detail has been overlooked: The bare ceiling would benefit from an interesting mural or centrepiece to look at while you lie back for an hour-long hammam treatment.
The relaxation room features brown marble flooring with a statement lighting installation


3) The Retreat, Palm Dubai at M Gallery by Sofitel

Waterfalls beside the tranquil infinity pool creates a soothing soundtrack to fabulous views of Palm Jumeirah’s waterways, while a scheme of turquoise and white reflect the gently cresting waves of the sea

Style notes

  •  The Retreat Palm Dubai, part of M Gallery by Sofitel, is a complete holistic wellness concept, with wellbeing design credentials throughout the hotel, grounds and spa. Utilising colour therapy, the hotel palette incorporates green, purple, white, orange and blue, with each hue designed to soothe ailments of the modern mind, from feeling uprooted to overthinking.
  •  The lobby embraces mid 20th century design, with ‘60s style seating and coffee tables. A known mood booster, plants abound with tropical fauna, including palm trees, tumbling down the walls and growing amid the banquette seating.
  • Lining the corridor to the Rayya Wellness Centre is a gallery of work from local artists with “happiness” as its theme, forming an inspiring introduction to the relaxed spa environment. Inside, a central rotunda surrounds a stone pool filled with flower petals, while sliding wood doors with brass handles lead to gently lit treatment rooms.
  •  Along with a comprehensive list of rejuvenating spa treatments, guests can enjoy a tailored package that addresses every aspect of their health, from delicious meals made by the resident wellness chef to expert advice from the onsite Glenville Nutrition Clinic.
The spa’s treatment rooms are designed in cool grey tones and contemporary slate-effect tiles


4) Soul Spa at Sheraton Grand Hotel, Dubai

The post-treatment room offers privacy with gauze curtains and a contemporary take on mashrabiya screens where guests can relax and look out over the stunning vistas of Old Dubai

Style notes

  • Perched on the 52nd floor of the Sheraton Grand Hotel and envisioned by LW Design, Soul Wellness and Spa immediately welcomes guests into a palatial lobby of ambient low lighting and polished ceramic tile floors. A focal point is made of a circular cream banquette, surrounded by a curtain of silver chains and lit from above by a series of oval rings for an atmospheric result.
  • A palette of neutral tones – pebble, taupe and cream – is punctuated by aqua, while dark wood used in the doors, mirror frames and counters ground the interiors for a sophisticated look. Quirky elements appear in a cluster of fibre optic strands that hang from the ceiling or in recessed spaces for succulents in the centre of the changing room seats – part of a host of green leafy plants scattered about the spa, often in tall, statuesque white planters.
  • Attention to detail has been absolute; asymmetrical designs in the spa’s steel door handles are echoed in decorative wooden room dividers and wall panels, which are inlaid with glass cubes, each housing a flickering light.
  • Materials are mixed with flair throughout, ranging from perspex to bamboo, and artwork ensures the space rejuvenates your soul as much as your body, including organically shaped sculptures and abstract paintings
The spacious lobby sets the tone with low lighting and a soothing palette


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