Hidden beneath the bustle and chatter of Baharat Msheireb, Amica Sicilia finds a reservoir of calm, technical expertise and deep relaxation at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Doha.
Arriving at the Mandarin Oriental, Doha, in bustling Msheireb, I am presented with a choice. I can go up to the chatter of socialising over afternoon teas, the tempting aromas issuing from the kitchens, the urgent buzz of meeting rooms and a wide horizon of inspiring views. Or I can descend to a more intimate, secluded, quiet, protected and tranquil place: the prestigious spa. I opt for the latter.
The space oozes refinement, with décor of the kind of understated elegance born of true class. Sofas in pale powder-blue leather; a single orchid in a spherical vase. Beyond white chiffon curtains extend over 3,000 square metres of treatment rooms and facilities, and yet the spaces are cosy and welcoming.
The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Doha takes a holistic approach to wellness, rooted in the ancient Eastern philosophy that prioritises balancing the five elements of wood, fire, earth, metal and water to optimise the life force that flows through them and us all. They do this by uniting mastery of ancient methods with the latest technical innovations. I am here for one of The Spa’s new signature wellness journeys: Intelligent Movement. A treatment designed to help guests move more and move better, increasing mobility and reducing tension through a combination of stretching, deep massage and trigger point release.
In the luxurious changing rooms, I slide into soft slippers and wrap myself in a fluffy robe. Lined in cream marble, the space has the feeling of the bathroom of dreams, with double-width sinks and mirrored dressing tables stocked with Mandarin Oriental’s own skincare. There’s a sauna, steam room and a beautifully illuminated indoor swimming pool, giving the impression of swimming in a seawater pool in a marble cave. As I explore, my therapist Yasmini arrives to show me into the elegant private treatment room, which will be my home for the next 90 minutes.
The first step is a scent test, as we determine which Mandarin Oriental exclusive massage oil blends to use. The one that captures my mood immediately is called Reflect: a meditative blend of jasmine, black pepper, ginger, juniper and petitgrain from bitter oranges infused with nourishing coconut oil.
She begins with small movements, stretching and manipulating my feet and ankles, then using gently increasing pressure to work her way up and around my whole body. These precision stretches work like a warmup exercise for deep-tissue oil massage. I can feel the depth of Yasmini’s technical expertise as with firm strokes and kneading motions, she works into the deeper knots and points of tension, even using her elbows and forearms to access and unlock the deepest layers.
We then move into a second phase of stretching, this time focussing on the larger joints as Yasmini utilises techniques from traditional Thai massage to release skeletal and muscular strain. With assured and precise motions, she lifts me from my shoulders, delicately stretching down the vertebrae or extending, turning and lifting my ankle from my hip to target tightness in the pelvis. I turn on my side and with care and precision, Yasmini uses a massage gun to exactly target and release trigger points in my hips, glutes and lower back.
The most magical part for me comes after the process is repeated on my front, when Yasmini takes a few minutes to concentrate entirely on my neck, head and face, with minuscule movements smoothing away frown lines, releasing tension from the temples and jaw. These crucial pressure points send signals down the length of my body to relax entirely.
And then, the final and most satisfying stretch of all, she stands on the bed behind me and gently twists my whole body, leveraging my shoulder past the knee, first one way then the other, lengthening and aligning the entire system. I don’t want it to end, but I hear the resonant chime of the massage bell ring out through the space and the spell is broken.
Afterwards, in the relaxation lounge, I refuel on spiced carrot cake and warming ginger tea from a handmade stoneware pot. The lounge is beautiful and dimly lit with individually screened, cushioned recliners. But I can’t resist and go back to the ethereal swimming pool room to lie back on a heated marble lounger and watch the peaceful play of light on water and water on stone and let my mind continue the journey.
The Spa also offers a Luxury Spa Suite Experience to celebrate special occasions with your partner or friends.
For more information or to make a reservation,
please call The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Doha
on 4008 8888, email email@example.com or
Intelligent Movement therapy is available at QR1,050.