Dubai: With all the stress in life, a good massage is something I look forward to every now and then. I always see to it to release all the stress and toxic elements in my system every few weeks, and what better way to do it than to have a relaxing and rejuvenating massage at least once a month.
Recently, I was positively intrigued when I heard about the Philippine-style massage called "hilot" now being offered in Dubai by an award winning spa centre.
Having established itself as a must-visit spa centre in Boracay Island, arguably the Philippines' most popular resort island among foreign and local tourists, Tirta Spa decided it was time to offer its brand of wellness to Dubai's discriminating audiences.
From the outset, Tirta Spa has received great reviews from local and international clients. So I went to Tirta Spa with high expectations and with a mission to find a new place to recommend to my friends.
Heard about hilot?
I tried their Tirta Hilot Massage, which was the one thing that brought me to this place anyway. Hilot is an ancient Filipino art of healing. Before the treatment starts, a masseuse or masseur will do a chiropractic-like manipulation and massage for the diagnosis and treatment of musculoskeletal ailments.
When I entered the women-only spa, I was greeted by friendly and smiling Filipino staff, which for me is really important as it helps set the mood and helps pave the way to a genuinely relaxing experience.
The receiving area is clean and smells really good, which I think is an area where some spas have overlooked. Guests are also asked to list any existing ailments or medical conditions, which is very important.
The therapists are also trained to ask guests about the intensity of he massage they are comfortable with and if there are any particular area they want the massage to be concentrated on. For me, I always want more time on my upper back, shoulder and head.
It may sound unimportant to others, but for clients like me I truly appreciate a spa's effort gesture to ask relevant information that can help in the therapy and ultimately make me feel more relaxed and comfortable.
I've had so many bad experiences with massage centres here in Dubai, but at last I can say Tirta is among those that really put a genuine effort to give clients a satisfying experience. They will even let you choose the oil you want during the massage and take time to thoroughly explain the different benefits of each oil so clients can choose properly.
The spa has only a few rooms, but each has a distinctive architectural motif. There's the traditional Filipino massage room, which should make Filipinos feel at home. There is also a Japanese like room and a BFF room, which a guest and a friend can have a treatment together.
All rooms have clean toilets and great ambiance, which I think is one of its advantages over other spas that feel crowded and small that you can hear conversations from other rooms.
Before the massage starts, guests are asked to wear a sarong, a garment consisting of a long piece of cloth worn wrapped around the body and tucked at the waist or under the armpits. It is traditionally worn in Southeast Asia. The therapist then washes your feet with warm water and offers you hot tea. To signal the start of the massage, the therapist sounds a gong, which I actually find quite relaxing.
But the most important part, of course, is the massage. For this visit, I can say that the service was impeccable. My therapist was really good at it, from making sure the pressure was just right for me, to finding out the specific areas in my body that really need attention, without even me telling her about it.
In some really bad experiences in the past, the massage went so bad that the next morning I couldn't even stand because of the pain from the massage. But with this one, I actually woke up the next day feeling energetic and ready to face another stressful day.
Whenever I need a really good massage, now I know where to get one. The therapist's attention to detail and passion towards her craft made my massage experience a true stress reliever. Having said all that, the service does come at quite a steep price. But I think any good service really comes at a price.
Tirta Spa Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Road.
Tirta hilot massage: Dh490 (1 hour and 40 minutes)
Location: 88 Al Tawaash Street, Jumeirah 3, Jumeirah Beach Road