Dubai may be known as a party hotspot, but it’s becoming a hotspot for wellness tourism, making it the perfect place for rest and restoration, writes Elise Pederick.
When planning a wellness-orientated trip, Dubai may not be the first location that springs to mind.
From its reputation as a vibrant hotspot for parties and luxurious restaurants to the picturesque sand dunes and impressive skylines, many wouldn’t associate the city as a go-to place for rest and relaxation.
But, if you’re fortunate enough to take a trip to the metropolis, you’ll soon realise that we couldn’t be more wrong.
Wellness tourism is now on the rise (a 2021 report from the Global Wellness Institute projected that the wellness tourism market will grow by 20.9% annually through 2025) and Dubai is getting ahead of the trend and becoming a secret spot for those truly looking to unwind in the sun.
Arriving at the stunning Park Hyatt Hotel, I couldn’t help but feel completely at peace from the moment I was shown my room (and was greeted with a bottle of red wine, a basket of fruit and a cheese spread) to the moment I found myself at one of the hotel bars sipping on a glass of bubbly and listening to calming jazz music in the background.
It was the perfect way to kickstart my first trip abroad since, well, you know what. The next few days were packed with relaxation-goodness that wellness lovers would be sure to appreciate.
Whether you merely fancy a stretch or you’re a fully-fledged yogi, underwater yoga at Atlantis, The Palm is a must on your wellness trip bucket list. Tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the city and located in The Lost Chamber Aquarium, it’s an unlikely but perfect spot for yoga. At times, I couldn’t help but feel as though we had an audience as shoals of fish would often stop to check out our moves. Needless to say, the environment was absolutely incredible – how often are you surrounded by 65,000 marine animals whilst doing a downward-facing dog?
Just a short taxi ride across The Palm is the Aura sky pool (although if you’ve experienced the infamous Dubai traffic, you’ll know to add on slightly longer). Situated 200m in the air, on the 50th floor, sits the world’s highest 360-degree infinity pool.
As the title suggests, it boasts incredible views across The Palm Jumeriah and is the ideal place to slip off your sandals, sip on a Mai Tai and de-stress. If, like me, you enjoy cloud gazing and people-watching, then this is a cracking spot for both. From the comfort of the pool, you can gawk as tiny dots evolve into skydivers and emerge from the clouds. It should be noted that Auro also offers wellness mornings that aim to ‘restore the mind, body and soul’. These are held every Friday, with the choice of two yoga classes, followed by a selection of delicious breakfast options.
Another incredible place to visit is Drift Beach Club. With a saxophonist, amazing food and relaxing sun loungers, it is the perfect tranquil place to re-charge.
And if you’re after something a little more hands-on, perfume making at Oo La Lab will do just that.
The masterclass was situated in Alserkal Avenue; a cool, urban area of the city with studios housed in warehouses, and I got to learn the science behind perfume making which was an engaging, multi-sensory experience. I was guided when making my own scents and able to take them home.
Another of my favourite experiences on the trip was a private sound bath healing session at Seva Experience. If I’m honest, I had been a little sceptical as to what to expect but I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.
The coach was amazing; he helped us tune into our breathing while guiding the meditation. Once the initial nervous giggles were out the way, I actually found myself in a state of complete peace. He used singing bowls in the session, which are said to dissolve any blockages and relieve stress so the mind and body can reset. It was 60 minutes of pure bliss. The private group session is on the pricey side, (60 mins with a base price of around £207 per group) but it was so worth it. I was left floating around in a dreamlike state for the rest of the evening.
While at Seva, Plant-based restaurant SevaTable is located close by and looks as though it’s been plucked straight out of a fairytale. Nestled under trees, I sat on stools made from logs, surrounded by candles and lanterns, while enjoying a six-course taster menu, which can only be described as heavenly. If you find yourself there, the raspberry mousse is a must.
Visiting Dubai as my first post-pandemic trip was truly an eye-opening experience.
It was an opportunity to relax and reset from an extremely intense two years, accompanied by gorgeous weather and delicious food.
The trip really opened my eyes to what Dubai has to oﬀer and why it’s important to look beyond the surface discover the magic that can be found beneath – and what’s underneath is pretty damn extraordinary.
Images: Aura, Park Hyatt, Platinum Heritage, SEVA, The Lost Chambers Oo La Lab; Teible
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