A CALMING SESSION FOR TWO

It’s girls’ time! And Kirsty Walker and a friend tap into their energy with a bespoke massage treatment at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Doha.

Find your element, find your balance. Today, my element is wood and I’m to be awakened. My friend’s element is fire and she is to bloom. The Chinese are famous for many things, but the near-obsession with energy, the five elements, and balance plays a crucial role in my exceptional pampering today. And when a 2,000-year-old philosophy intertwines with the opulence and Middle Eastern charm of modern-day Qatar, we’re blessed with a unique treatment at The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Doha.

Based on ancient Chinese concepts, treatments at The Spa seek to restore balance and reposition energy, enabling guests to rest and rejuvenate in the midst of their busy lives.

The Mandarin Oriental, Doha sits at the head of Barahat Msheireb, the heart of the vibrant new downtown area. Its commanding position belies the luxuriously intimate interior. Spa Manager Michaela warmly welcomes us in the hotel lobby and then leads us downstairs into the serenity of the marble-clad, subterranean spa. We pass treatment rooms and entire suites as we walk through tastefully decorated, seamless passageways. After glimpsing heated loungers around a beautiful indoor pool, we arrive at our home for the next few hours – The Mandarin Suite. There’s an aura of exclusivity and privacy and it feels like we’ve entered our own secret hideaway.

Waiting in the suite are therapists Padmi and Anisia, holding two glasses of refreshing cold peach tea with ginger and lemon. There’s a pair of steaming oshibori (hot) towels on a small circular table and a questionnaire for each of us.

This isn’t your regular spa form asking about pre-existing conditions or any areas of muscle pain and sensitivity that our therapists should be made aware of. Not at all. This is an in-depth diagnostic questionnaire that delves into our feelings and emotions, our physical condition and overarching personality trends. It would, as Padmi explained, determine our individualised, bespoke treatments, guiding the oils and scents they use and the massages they employ.

The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Doha uses the Aromatherapy Associates range of therapeutic essential oil spa products and they smell and feel incredible. My element today is wood and, as a night owl prone to dry eyes from heavy screen time, it is clear from the survey that I have to ‘awaken’. Deeply aromatic, my scented oil is bursting with lavender, grapefruit and neroli. My friend’s element today is fire, and Anisia selects a gorgeous ylang-ylang, geranium and rose oil.

I can’t wait for my 90-minute, personally tailored massage. There’s nothing off-the-shelf about this experience. My room is cool, tranquil and filled with whispered chanting and soft classical piano. The bed is fluffy, heated and perfectly angled for maximum comfort. They say that scent travels faster to the brain than either sight or sound. Essential oils are volatile – quickly gasifying and permeating the limbic system once inhaled.

And wow, my body is responding fast to this scent. After a few deep breaths, with Padmi working her strength over the pressure points in my feet, along my legs and then across my back, I’m astounded. Now, I don’t need to explain just how divine it feels to receive a proper five-star massage. Yet, one thing is trickier to rationalise – I feel deeply relaxed yet buzzing with energy for the upcoming evening. Padmi gifts me exactly what my mind and body have been craving.

I relish every minute and after both an eternity and the blink of an eye, the treatment is over. Wandering back into the main suite, a stunning afternoon tea has been laid out for us – a perfect end to a wonderful afternoon. What a beautiful, bespoke experience. It tapped into my energy, it was deeply personal, and truly the revitalisation I needed. I’m wide awake now. Are you?

For more information or to book an appointment, please call The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Doha on 4008 8888.

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