“Massage is therapy for the mind, the body and the spirit.” Unknown
I feel very privileged to be living this expat life, it has certainly been an opportunity of a lifetime full of new and wonderful experiences that I have been lucky enough to share with family, friends and visitors. It’s not all sunshine and flowers though and like anywhere some days are not so good, then others are fantastic and last week was one of those amazing afternoons. I was invited by the lovely Hande from the Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas to enjoy lunch together at the award-winning Beach House restaurant and then treated to a massage at the hotel’s beautiful Atarmia Spa.
Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Villas is a contemporary luxury resort located on a nine-kilometre stretch of environmentally protected pristine beach on the natural Saadiyat Island. The Beach House, which was voted Best Mediterranean restaurant at the recent Fact Magazine Dining Awards 2015, is a charming two-story beachfront affair with a terrace that has fabulous views out across the white sands of a private stretch of Saadiyat beach and the glistening turquoise sea beyond, put simply it’s just stunning. The restaurant serves traditional family style Mediterranean cuisine and a great selection of wines, sangria and cocktails as well as soft drinks.
Taking advantage of the last couple of weeks before the humidity prevents outdoor dining, we sat outside to maximise the view and ordered some starters to share which were all fresh and equally tasty in their own right and so delicious when eaten together too. Orange quinoa salad with fresh figs and roasted almonds, watermelon and feta cheese with marinated red onions and my favourite creamy soft burrata with fresh, ripe cherry tomatoes garnished with basil leaves. For the main course, my host enjoyed grilled fish with a salsa verde, shaved fennel and arugula salad and I had an asparagus risotto adapted by the chef from the rock lobster risotto and green asparagus option on the menu. Even though I was ridiculously full I did have a few bites of the very zingy Portuguese lemon tart paired with a tangy lime sorbet. A fantastic alfresco lunch with a stunning panorama and great company, The Beach House gets my vote every day of the week. The restaurant is also open for breakfast and dinner and has a dedicated kids menu and in the evenings the Beach House Rooftop offers cocktails, lounge-style music and Tapas which I can also vouch for from a previous visit. Click here for the lunch menu and here for the Rooftop Tapas option.
Next stop was the Spa, voted Best Luxury Spa Destination at the World Spa Awards in 2014, Atarmia means aromatic flowing waters in Arabic and the spa encompasses ancient Arabian therapies with the contemporary design of a modern-day spa. With lavish treatment ingredients from Arabian heritage, Atarmia Spa takes guests on a journey of sensory awareness using the ancient Attar fragrance, extracts of pure essential oil from flowers and flora and aromatherapy methods that have been practised for centuries throughout the region.
Located at one end of the hotel, accessed from the impressive ultra-modern main lobby or its own private entrance, the spa has a full treatment menu which is based on the four pillars of philosophy combining Opulence (exuding luxury and sophistication), Brilliance (lightening and brightening the skin complexion), Lustrous (offering restorative and nourishing treatments) and Majestic (restoring energy and vitality) each designed to address specific desires, physical, mental and spiritual needs. There is an array of packages and treatments can be tailored to meet individual requirements with type of oil, areas to focus on and those to avoid and the massage intensity. The tranquil spa spans two floors centred around a water feature offering nine spacious en-suite treatment rooms including a very large VIP Couples’ room with its own Jacuzzi, separate hydrotherapy facilities for men and women, a beauty-salon and hairdressers, a lap pool and gym.
Even though I arrived (well kind of rolled in full to the brim) slightly moist from the walk past the impressive pool area I was soon relaxing in my own exotic and sumptuous dark wood and gold private candle-lit sanctuary, being very well taken care of by my professional and welcoming therapist Natasha who hails from South Africa. I opted for a sixty-minute Lustrous Aromatherapy full body massage, a soothing and relaxing treatment with therapeutic deep tissue work on the muscles, that promised an energising feeling of lightness with the oils bringing balance, while promoting inner harmony. The treatment began with a foot ritual followed by a fantastic medium pressure rebalancing massage that was more intense at times, targeting my stiff shoulders to ease out the tension and knots, just the right pressure as I requested. As the massage came to an end I felt calm and relaxed with my skin feeling nourished and soft. Post-treatment I was served green tea and mini date cookies and left to relax in my robe indulging in my treatment experience, before being escorted back to reception in my new rejuvenated state, relaxed from head-to-toe and in touch with my inner harmony (I think). Click here to see the full Atarmia Spa menu.
This amazing resort is not just all about five-star luxury but also about connecting with nature and protecting the environment, fully embracing environmental sustainability initiatives. Resident hotel marine biologist, Arabella Willing heads up the hotel’s Green Team and along with running eco-tours in association with Captain Tony’s boat company, giving educational talks and organising beach patrols, her main focus is on marine conservation. She helps to protect the critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtles that come to nest on Saadiyat Beach in spring, with the baby turtles hatching from June until August. The Park Hyatt programme gives these sea turtles a safe place to nest, feed and migrate freely by switching to red light bulbs instead of using standard ones, protecting the beach and shutting it at night when these nocturnal creatures are out and about to further protect them.
I can thoroughly recommend a visit to the wonderful Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi resort whether it’s for lunch at The Beach House, dinner at The Park Bar and Grill, afternoon tea at The Library (winner of Best Afternoon Tea at the recent Fact Magazine Dining Awards) or pop in for a treatment at Atarmia Spa, there are just so many options to choose from. Thank you Hande and the Park Hyatt team for a truly fabulous afternoon of Arabian hospitality at its best, it’s no wonder this hotel is winning so many awards!
PARK HYATT ABU DHABI HOTEL AND VILLAS
Telephone: 02 407 1234
Telephone: 02 407 1170
I was invited to review the hotel but all the views are all my own. Unless otherwise stated, all photos on this page © Jo Brett 2015. All rights reserved. Photo credit for photos 3 and 6 Park Hyatt Abu Dhabi Hotel and Abu Dhabi Week.