My alarm clock rang far too early in the morning. I couldn’t believe it was already time to leave Dubai. I was traveling through the United Arab Emirates on business and loving every experience. However, my body was fighting a fever and I was experiencing allaround soreness, the result of long meetings, late evenings and too much time spent on my feet — in fashionable but painful high heels.
On the way to Dubai International Airport (DXB) to catch my Emirates flight home, I ran through my travel schedule in my head. Like most business travelers, I follow a steady routine once I get to the airport for a long-haul flight. But today was going to be different. I was changing my routine.
I arrived at the airport an hour earlier than necessary — but I was still running late. I had planned the extra hour not as a time cushion to get through security. Instead, I was going to enjoy my first pre-flight spa treatment at the Emirates Timeless Spa located in Terminal 3. After I checked my luggage and received my boarding pass, I went straight to the hotel inside the terminal. I followed signs to the spa, where a smiling staff member greeted me and asked me to have a seat as my therapist prepared the treatment room.
The waiting room seemed a bit small considering it had to accommodate not only the spa guests but also all their luggage. The spa is popular and busy, and the added luggage is quite cumbersome.
As I perused the extensive treatment menu, I discovered the concept behind the Timeless Spa was developed at the Al Maha Desert Resort & Spa, a 5-star oasis in the middle of the desert outside Dubai. The spa uses Babor and Sodashi products. The therapists are trained in healing practices inspired by global cultures, modern rejuvenation and wellbeing and beauty techniques — all qualities that are ideal for harried travelers squeezing in a visit to an airport spa.
I decided on the hot stone treatment. This is usually scheduled for 90 minutes, but since I didn’t have that much time, the therapist adjusted the treatment to an hour.
I took my hand luggage with me into the treatment room, which was compact but had all the amenities of a luxury spa. The therapist stepped outside the room while I undressed, so happy to finally be off my feet.
It was my first hot stone treatment, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I found it relaxing, though not entirely to my liking. While my therapist skillfully utilized the stones during a foot massage, I realized that — after being on my feet in uncomfortable shoes — reflexology may have been the better choice. On the upside, the heat was good for my cold and fever, and the hour flew by.
Following the treatment I went to a neighboring room, equipped with shower and vanity, to get ready for my flight. I was provided a bathrobe, but was not completely comfortable having to go back and forth while my luggage remained in the treatment room.
The hot stone treatment left me feeling more awake and much less achy. My fever seemed to be gone. And I had that after-spa glow — I seemed to glide across the terminal rather than dragging myself and my luggage to the business-class lounge.
The lounge was so busy I forgot it was 7 a.m. The space can accommodate more than 1,000 people, and I had a hard time finding a seat. I took a look around and noticed that the Emirates Timeless Spa also has facilities in the lounge and throughout the terminal for smaller treatments, ranging from 15 to 25 minutes.
Business- and first-class passengers can access the satellite Timeless Spa outlets at 10 stations around Terminal 3; the full-service spa where I had my treatment is open to all passengers. Emirates’ first-class passengers receive complimentary 15-minute treatments, including half-back massage, a mini-manicure, express reflexology and basic hairstyling (blow-dry, trimming, beard-shaving), while the carrier’s business-class passengers can enjoy 25-minute treatments for a small charge.
If I hadn’t taken advantage of the full-service spa, I certainly would have indulged in the therapeutic head and shoulders treatment and the stimulating leg and foot massages that increase blood circulation and reduce stiffness and aches.
The spa also offers a de-stress back massage, full back and body massages and deep-cleansing facials. The Timeless Traditions Signature Body Treatment looked enticing on the menu, and the hair salon featured Schwarzkoph SEAH Hair Spa products and Blossom Bath Shampoo and Cashmere Wrap Lotion Conditioner. Next time I travel through DBX, I’ll make time for one of the regenerative hand therapies and maybe a manicure or pedicure.
After walking around the terminal and checking my email one last time before boarding, I started to feel like I was coming back down to earth. However, as I boarded, I noticed I was much more relaxed. Normally on a long-haul flight I take the first hour or two to decompress before focusing on what the next few days have in store. Thanks to the massage I was already feeling relaxed, and I was able to focus from the moment I sat in my seat. Upon landing in New York, my body — and mind — felt fresh and ready to take on a brand-new day.
Emirates Timeless Spa
Hotel Level Terminal 3
Dubai International Airport
tel 971 4 505 9555
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TAP Air Portugal is adding 15 new weekly flights from the United States and Canada by summer 2020, a new record for the carrier of 71 weekly flights between North America and Portugal.
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