For revellers feeling worn out from daily stress, Dubai is the perfect wellness destination to step out of the ordinary and recharge with experiences that both relax and nourish the body.
There are several things to do, experience and eat for a wholesome visit to the beautiful Emirati city.
There are holistic getaways, nature escapes, wellness centres, unique rejuvenation, fitness events and health spas to nourish the body.
The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel is the Middle East’s first holistic wellbeing resort, tucked away on the shores of Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah. The resort provides a variety of treatments and 3- to 14-day retreat packages, including indulgent spa experiences, relaxing yoga sessions, and fitness programmes with healthy meals prepared by wellness chefs.
Rayya Wellness Resort, located in the heart of Palm Jumeirah, offers specially created wellness, fitness and spa treatments, as well as access to highly skilled consultants including life-coaches, spa therapists, NLP practitioners, nutritionists and doctors of naturopathy for personalised consultations. The resort also provides wellness programmes for kids aged 4-12 years.
Active Escapes Dubai combines fitness, relaxation and fun, in collaboration with leading hospitality and fitness brands for action-packed escapes, tailored workouts and fitness events & activities across the Palm Jumeirah.
Nara Escapes hosts the ideal getaways for those looking to get closer to nature. Guests can choose from two types of private tents amongst the city’s desert dunes and opt for a diverse programme of activities including yoga and meditation, or a Thai or shiatsu massage.
For those looking to unwind, reset and start anew, Dubai is home to tranquil getaways set amidst breath-taking natural settings. These also draw on the Shinrin-Yoku concept, a Japanese term that means “taking in the forest atmosphere” or “forest bathing”, to mobilise the alternative healing power of nature for calming and rejuvenating benefits.
The Hatta Dam is a picture-perfect lookout amidst jagged peaks, perfect for kayak or merely a hike through the mountains. For those looking for a serene stay amongst the hills, the JA Hatta Fort Hotel, Hatta Damani Lodges and Hatta Sedr Trailers offer incredible ecotourism experiences, while overnight stays are also available at the Hatta Campsite where tents can be set up to provide an indoors-meets-outdoors experience.
Al Qudra Lakes are a hidden desert oasis of human-made lakes spread across 10 hectares of Dubai’s Saih Al Salam Desert landscape, home to desert foxes, oryx and 170 species of birds. The Lakes are also perfect for a private, out-of-town picnic and to experience Dubai’s beautiful desert sunset with a waterfront view.
Dubai also hosts interesting classes around the city to help you switch up your savasana by adding water, incorporating instruments or including four-legged yogis.
Yoga on the Beach: Several resorts and wellness experts host refreshing yoga sessions on the beach, blanketed with the radiance of the open skies and the moonlight and the sound of gentle waves. The sessions across Fairmont The Palm, The Talise Spa at Madinat Jumeirah and The Ritz-Carlton, Dubai welcome novices and experienced yogis alike.
Yoga ‘Under the Sea’: Rejuvenate and restore yourself in a unique aquatic surrounding in The Lost Chambers Aquarium at Atlantis The Palm. The Hatha Yoga class aims to improve strength, flexibility and balance and provides the perfect opportunity to catch your breath in the middle of a holiday filled with exciting activities, surrounded by pristine waters that are home to 65,000 marine animals.
Paddle-board Yoga: A classical form of yoga known as Yin yoga consists of slow-paced postures held for long periods, generally between 45 seconds to two minutes. You can now practice this form of relaxation as your body floats on a paddle-board in the Dubai seas, courtesy Zen Yoga Dubai.
Aerial Yoga: Also known as swing yoga, or anti-gravity yoga, this style of exercise involves hanging from hammocks or swing suspension systems to support the hips for forward and backwards bends.
Several holistic destinations around the emirate promise relaxing settings to focus on nutrition, rehabilitation, healing and mental health.
The Hundred Wellness Centre takes a contemporary and holistic approach to combine ancient therapies such as yoga, pilates and naturopathy, with cutting-edge technologies like DNA Testing and Body Composition Analyser to measure body fat, lean mass, and basal metabolic rate. The centre is also home to a homoeopathy clinic, as well as physiotherapy and chiropractor treatments.
Dubai Herbal and Treatment Centre is a fully integrated medical centre that offers conventional (allopathic), herbal, homoeopathic and alternative medicine combined with tailor-made medical and wellness treatments. These include personalised treatments and therapies available for both adults and children, facials, massages, guided meditation, Reiki, yoga, Pilates and personal training.
Miracles Worldwide’s highly qualified and experienced therapists and facilitators offer a variety of alternative therapy techniques and activities to inspire a deeper understanding of the mind-body-energy interplay – including crystal therapy, chakra balancing and aura reading, Feng Shui and space clearing, hypnotherapy, numerology, meditations, reconnective healing, Reiki healing, relationship counselling, spiritual response therapy, and many more.
Some of the world’s most beautiful hammams can also be found in Dubai, inspired by traditional Middle Eastern spa rituals for the ultimate soothing experience.
JW Marriott Marquis’ Saray Spa combines ancient healing techniques with locally sourced natural ingredients. A key highlight is the “Arabian Body Rituals” treatment, with healing salts of the Dead Sea, Frankincense, and exotic perfumes of Rose and Jasmine. The spa features 17 treatment rooms, inclusive of two private Hammam rooms, two Thai treatment rooms, one Dead Sea treatment room boasting its own Dead Sea Floatation Pool, and two Private Luxury Spa Suites, as well as men’s and women’s Hammams, Jacuzzis, steam rooms, saunas, additional hydro-facilities and spacious relaxation areas.
The One &Only Royal Mirage is home to an oriental Hammam, a traditional Arabian body steam and bath experience. This treatment starts with cleansing and exfoliation from head to toe, followed by a body wrap with ‘Ghassoul’ mud and a honey mask. An extended relaxing massage in a private room completes the experience.
The Spa at Palace Downtown welcomes guests into an indulgent retreat, with facilities ranging from an Oriental bathhouse with a hammam slab to Jacuzzis, monsoon showers, steam rooms, consultation spaces and a relaxation lounge. The signature rituals and hammams on offer provide luxurious pampering with body scrubs and relaxing massages infusing natural ingredients for a nourishing treatment – including desert sand and salt, shea butter, mandarin, coriander, Moroccan mint varieties, Dead Sea salt, volcanic hot stones, Rhassoul clay and the world’s first luxury seaweed body oil.
Healthy hidden gems
Serving global flavours to please all palettes, Dubai is home to many vibrant, healthy eateries.
Serving up healthy and wholesome dishes, Common Grounds is a trendy eatery located at the Mall of the Emirates. The always-bustling casual café serves full breakfast plates, along with superfood salads, wraps, tacos, soups, as well as freshly brewed artisan coffees, or veggie-filled juices or smoothies.
Comptoir 102 combines an insta-perfect kitchen, lounge, garden and terrace with a fashion, homeware and organic café on Jumeirah Beach Road. The concept has long been a favourite for healthy eating and a hidden treasure for discerning shoppers with its curated eclectic mix of fashion, interior design and furniture from around the globe.
Life ‘n’ One is an urban retreat in a cosy villa space in Jumeirah, offering everything a health enthusiast could want; from a gluten-free, sugar free, soy-free, GMO free, vegan and organic cuisine at the café, to a rejuvenating yoga, pilates, barre, or meditation class with renowned instructors.
Bounty Beets prides itself in promoting healthy eating, going green, and inspiring a positive community overall, with delicious organic, gluten-free and vegan options. Located in Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, the restaurant is dedicated to reducing its carbon footprint and tackling waste with its own Mina Composter which will turn 100kg of food waste into water and 3kgs of fertiliser, while all take-away coffee cups are recyclable.