The signature facial at the Native Club, Zabeel House by Jumeirah, is one of the best I’ve ever had – and with my job, I’ve had a lot.
It lasts a decadent 90 minutes and includes the elements you might expect (cleaning, exfoliating, moisturizing) along with a few of the touches you hope for (a head massage and a face massage, with no pressure to buy products). But the real kicker is the spa’s use of cupping.
With cupping, tiny glass cups are placed on the skin, with heat applied to create suction. Used typically in Chinese medicine, cupping is often done along the back to help remove impurities. But I’ve never seen it done on the face.
“It lifts the facial muscles, it’s a mini-face lift,” explains spa director Sinead Scott. It is also meant to help with detoxification, stimulate lymphatic drainage and unblock the sinuses. And it feels amazing.
This focus on all things natural is part of Native Club’s overall ethos. As one of the first organic spas in Dubai, the venue incorporates seaweed wraps, acupressure treatments and plant-based products. They even have an in-house nutritionist and naturopath.
I don’t get to try the latter on my visit, but I do spend a lot of time at Native Club’s impressive indoor/outdoor gym, complete with a TRX machine, a CrossFit section, high-tech treadmills and free weights. There are even slam balls and soft boxes. At the gym’s reception, there is free fruit-infused water on offer along with fresh towels. Throw in the venue’s sizeable pool and it’s easy to see why people are flocking to The Greens to check it out.
The food doesn’t disappoint, either. Lah Lah, Zabeel House’s Pan Asian restaurant, absolutely buzzes with a trendy after-work crowd on Thursday nights. Tuesday is Ladies Night with three complimentary beverages, and the weekend brunch, I’m told, always sells out.
During my visit, I try Lah Lah’s new vegan offerings, which include vegetable green curry, wok-fried crispy tofu and Thai green mango salad. There’s also plenty of non-vegan options, including sushi and duck pancakes. Dishes are served sharing style and are delicious. The staff is switched-on too, lingering nearby when I need something but not interrupting when I don’t.
For breakfast the next morning, I grab an acai bowl at the airy Social Company. When I pull out my laptop and start working, I’m not alone; the eatery’s relaxed vibe and solid coffee draws plenty of remote workers. The space itself is bright and inviting, with floor-to-ceiling windows lined by potted plants and plenty of cushioned areas for lounging.
Zabeel House’s 210 rooms keep the design focus alive. Inspired by New York lofts, rooms feature unshaded bulbs, oak wood and black metal, plenty of natural light and quirky inspirational quotes. As a fan of clean lines and bright spaces, the floor-to-ceiling windows and white walls suit me just fine. A SMEG mini fridge is great for Instagram photos, while the espresso machine keeps me going. The only tiny niggle is in the room’s AC control unit, which glows a stubborn green throughout the night.
In the lobby, guests are invited to take a rolled-up piece of paper containing a guest-written tip from a sharing wall, then leave their own. I take and return three throughout my stay, receiving: “try Legoland”; “ask not what you can do for your country, but what your country can do for you”; and “go on a safari”. It’s another nice little touch.
As for the cost? Like the rest of Zabeel House, the price is accessible, with rooms costing about Dh300 for the night.
Featured image courtesy Zabeel House, The Greens
Danae Mercer is a freelance health and travel journalist. In addition to working as editor-in-chief of Women's Health Middle East and Men's Health Middle East, Danae has written for The Sunday Times, CNN Travel, Dubai Tourism, The Guardian, Afar, Bloomberg and many more. She's based in Dubai and is a trainer at Crank. instagram.com/danaemercer