We roadtest SensASIA Stories Kempinski Mall of the Emirates to see how it compares to Dubai’s best…
If there’s one thing Dubai loves (other than burrata, wagyu sandos and gold everything), it’s spas. Dubai has unbridled enthusiasm for being pampered, but the reality of the spa experience doesn’t always meet the expectation. Not many are able to pull off the combination of both a spa that feels luxurious from the moment you enter and an experience that has you leaving on cloud nine. Thankfully, Dubai’s newest arrival, SensASIA Stories at Kempinski, manages to tick both of those boxes in style.
SensASIA Stories might not be the largest salon around – but what it may lack in size, it definitely makes up for in quality. SensASIA may not be new to Dubai, but the Stories concept is, curated exclusively for Kempinski Mall of the Emirates. We loved the spa’s sophisticated sand and stone palette with its rich textures and mood lighting; this is a fit-out to rival even Versace Spa for lushest interiors.
As we mentioned, SensASIA is playing with a compact space, taking over an existing spa location, so the relaxation and extra spa facilities aren’t enormous but do tick the boxes. There are comfy lounges to enjoy your post-treatment tea and a sauna, experiential shower and a jacuzzi (the latter of which is currently non-operational due to COVID restrictions).
Speaking of COVID restrictions, SensASIA has gone above and beyond when it comes to making you feel safe while being pampered. It’s a bit hard to relax and enjoy your treatment if you’re worried about the health and safety protocols implemented (or lack thereof) so we were relieved to see how seriously SensASIA is taking the health of their guests (and staff). Sanitisation measures start the moment you check into the spa – you are given slippers to change into so no outside shoes carry any bacteria into the salon. Inside the salon, everything you interact with (robe, disposable underwear, towel etc) is hygienically plastic wrapped. (Yes, we know excess plastic isn’t great either but well, 2020.) Our therapist kept their mask on at all times, and while we had to keep ours on while we were face up, we could remove it when lying face down and of course, when having our facial treatment.
And finally, let’s talk about those treatments. Our massage was absolutely one of the best we’ve ever had, rivalling that of Willow Stream Spa at Fairmont Fujairah. Our therapist, Tami, was sensational from start to finish, administering both our ‘Build your own’ massage (not as customisable as we had hoped, but that really didn’t matter much in the end) and mini facial treatments. The massage felt relaxing yet also therapeutic, a mix that’s very hard to come by. Too often we find massage treatments are either all fluff or all pain – rarely do relaxation and rehabilitation coexist successfully. The masseuses here are clearly extremely well trained; while we would be curious to see if a treatment from another salon member would be just as good, we are hoping this is fabulous technique taught to the team as a whole. Really, we can’t fault the massage.
Our 30-minute facial treatment was even more relaxing – never have we had our make up removed in such a luxurious manner. Clearly, we are doing it all wrong. The mild peel did brighten our skin but overall the effect was more relaxing than transformative, but let’s face it – we don’t expect a 30 minute facial to turn back time (but oh, how we wish it could).
SensASIA stories impressed us in every aspect of the spa experience. From decor to service to treatment, this is a seriously heavenly way to escape the world for a couple of hours. If spending a lot of time in the ‘extra’ spa facilities is important to you, you may find the facility a little compact – but for us, it was just perfect for an urban escape. Would we return? Absolutely. Would we recommend it to you? Wholeheartedly. SensASIA spa at Kempinski is absolutely one of the very best in the UAE – don’t hesitate to book.
Spa style: Uptown sophisticate
Spa features: Experiential shower, sauna, relaxation loungers, jacuzzi (currently non-operational)
We road-tested: 90-minute ‘Build Your Own Massage’ treatment and 30 minute Skin Regimen Urban Longevity Facial.
For more information, head to the SensASIA Stories website.