Inside/Out: Away We Go
A closer look at the concept, design aesthetic and retail offering at W Dubai The Palm’s AWAY Spa
The first spa of its kind in the UAE, Away Spa aims to create an energetic atmosphere rather than one that is Zen and laid-back. The focus here is on rejuvenation and revitalisation, rather than straight forward relaxation.
The concept is in keeping with the hotel that houses it. Known for its irreverent approach to hospitality, the W Hotel brand is aimed at a young, millennial, tech savvy clientele and its latest property on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah is no different.
Although there are 55 W hotels dotted around the world, only two thirds house an Away Spa concept. This latest venue opened with the Escape on 1 February 2019. The spa is based on a concept that invites guests to ‘stroll in and strut out’, with the aim of giving them the energy and confidence they need to face the day. The spa offers face, body and beauty treatments. For guests wanting to have their hair done, there is a separate salon in the escape.
Spa manager Deborah Mircouris has worked within the industry for more than 15 years in locations ranging from South Africa to the UAE. AWAY Spa is not your typical Zen spa, allowing guests to mix and mingle.
The extensive meanu features results-driven body treatments as well as pampering manicures and false eyelash application.Emulating the playful vibe of the hotel, AWAY Spa is an unexpected, non-traditional spa destination.
A central light feature in the shape of a water drop hovers over the spa’s mix and mingle space, the Beauty Bar, creating a distinctive social area. The Beauty Bar is equipped for a DJ set-up.
The away spa comprises 11 treatment rooms including a couple’s suite and a hammam. Guests can take advantage of the steam room, sauna, experiential shower or whirlpool pre- or post-treatment or lounge in the relaxation area which features headed beds. Signature treatments include the Detox Facial, Detox Massage and the already popular Couples’ Rasul treatment. Taking the spa experience beyond the four walls of the spa and adopting a customer-led ethos, cabana treatments by the beach and glitter sessions by the pool are also available to guests.
Monthly offers aimed at groups of female clients have also been launched, again, underlining the concept’s social approach to pampering. The launch offer, Tropic Like it’s Hot, includes four treatments (a lip treatment, facial glitter, eye lash application and a polish change) as well as unlimited sparkling drinks at the Beauty Bar.
The design of the spa was conceived by architecture and design company dwp and the fit out was handled by Depa Interiors. Currently located in Australia, Asia and the Middle East, the company’s director of design, Mohamad Kaful created a space that is decidedly different from other spas. Anything but demure, AWAY Spa is bold in its design yet thoughtful in its treatments. The design creates social spaces where possible, starting with the central circular bar that greets guests as they enter the spa.
Giving the space a sense of place and context, the design is based on pearl diving which was the currency in Dubai before oil. The walls are tiled with layers of deep blues, pinks and purples that reflect the light and simulate what a pearl diver would see when underwater. The main light feature above the Beauty Bar represents a water drop, dripping off an oyster shell. The spa features pearl artwork throughout the space in various forms including paintings, graffiti and gobos.
Products of various price points are featured including Comfort Zone, a brand offering a comprehensive range of products and formulations for the face and body. The brand was launched in 1996 as the skincare division of The Davines Group, which was founded 35 years ago by the Bollati family. Other brands featured include Biologique Recherche a brand that takes clinical and personalised approach to skin care using raw active ingredients as well as Maroc Maroc, Smith & Cult Nail Polish and Coola. Having just launched its retail offering in the region, a selection of Knesko Skin collagen masks can be purchased at the mask bar.