A royalty-worthy, full-body massage is what Homara Choudhary experienced at Eforea spa at Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas.
Perched along the southern coast of Qatar, the Hilton Salwa Beach Resort & Villas is one of the largest of its kind in the Middle East. Sprawling across 3.5 kilometres of pristine coastline, it’s the first leisure and holiday destination in the Gulf state. It takes just over an hour from Doha to reach this magical palace by the sea.
Upon arriving at the resort, I was struck by its unique structure and size. The bright white and blue exterior combined with traditional Arabian heritage was palatial. As I walked towards reception, the airy interior made me feel like I had been taken back in time, transporting me to a Mughal palace.
The luxurious award-winning Eforea spa was built on the concept of ‘emerging brighter’. The spa is dedicated to restoration and renewal by combining ancient traditions with modern expertise. Designed over two floors, it features 13 treatment rooms, two VIP suites, a traditional Turkish and Moroccan Hammam and superb thermal suite facilities. It offers a wide range of traditional thermal bath spa therapies, including sauna, steam, monsoon showers, ice fountains, heated vitality pools and peaceful lounge areas.
Staying in theme with the rest of the resort, beautiful handmade Arabian chandeliers dangle in the centre of engraved white arches as you enter. The arches are immersed in a pool which you walk across to enter the spa, immediately submerging your senses in an oasis of calm.
As I arrived at this magnificent space, I was greeted by the spa manager Nadia and shown to the changing rooms where my therapist Lela was waiting for me. After slipping into a sumptuous white gown and putting my personal belongings into a locker, we took the lift to the treatment room.
This was a haven like no other.
I was greeted by the sounds of soft gentle music playing in the background and the smell of sweet jasmine. Before beginning my ‘Aroma wellbeing’ massage my feet were given a cleansing ritual which Lela explained would relax my body and mind. After being soaked in water, my feet were lightly buffed with a lavender and menthol scrub and then dried with soft warm towels.
I was given the choice of rose or fruit oil for my treatment before lying down for my massage. To my surprise, the fabric was comfortably warm and Lela explained there was a heated blanket to make sure I was just the right temperature and didn’t feel cold.
My massage began with a relaxing ritual of inhaling lemongrass oil and chimes of a singing ball, which Lela said was good for the seven energy points, or chakras, in my body. I was immediately transported to another world as she began to work her magic.
Before using oil, Lela stretched my aching limbs and carried out what she described as a dry massage to soften the stiff muscles in the body. She began with my feet, gently pressing the pressure points and kneading out the tension along the arches of my feet. I instantly relaxed as she gently worked her way up to my back which was in desperate need of some attention. With firm pressure, I could feel the stress being released from my body as Lela rubbed my shoulders, kneading away the tight balls of knots in my shoulder blades and along my neck.
Next came the head massage. It was unlike any other. After gently gathering my hair in a ponytail, Lela lightly tugged my head, releasing the pressure in my scalp. My head instantly felt lighter. After turning over, she focussed again on my shoulders, and worked her way down to my arms, legs and ended the massage when she had begun, with my feet. This time she focussed on the centre, slowly easing away the last of tension in my toes. I almost drifted off but my senses were awoken with the last ritual of cleaning the hands and feet with hot towels, removing any excess oil. I was instantly revived and ready for my next treatment.
I opted for the Sothy’s personalised facial. A gentle yet thorough cleansing experience for the visage. Lela began with using micellar water to remove any make-up and dirt and then proceeded with a light cleansing milk with grapefruit extract. My skin was primed for the modelling cream which contained olive and avocado oil and shea butter. A light face scrub containing rice powder was then applied, using shea oil to remove any dead skin and blackheads. My face was then enveloped in hot towels and the scub was wiped away, revealing softer, brighter skin. She then applied a hydra-smoothing mask for 15 minutes. As the mask got to work, I was pleasantly surprised with the option of a head or foot massage. A rare treat during a facial. My tired toes were transported straight to heaven. After removing the mask, Lela applied some light serum and a restructuring youth cream to make my skin glow like a goddess.