It wasn’t until we moved to the Middle East that we learnt frankincense comes from trees and it wasn’t until later still that we discovered the ‘king of oil’ is also a sought-after beauty treatment.
Luban Spa specialises in using the aromatic Omani resin (luban, in Arabic) to pamper and rejuvenate inside a sleek white and gold Jumeirah villa. We’re welcomed by a huge bowl filled with frankincense nuggets and can’t resist a big inhale as we read scripts telling us its history.
Frankincense has been traded in this part of the world for more than 5,000 years, but Luban reckons it’s the only spa in Dubai that’s caught on to beauty therapies using frankincense, which is said to reduce stress and inflammation, ease digestion and balance hormones.
Its bespoke massage is ideal for anyone who doesn’t know what they want, other than a lot of pampering. Treatments are delivered in spacious, low-lit rooms on the first floor of the two-storey ladies’ only spa. Ours is a mixture of hot stones and frankincense oil. We like that we’re able to refresh with a quick shower beforehand and already feel ourselves winding down when we hop up on the massage bed.
Our therapist asks us to inhale deep lungfuls of scented oil and the woody scent of frankincense surrounds us as the massage begins. She’s not happy with how tight our shoulders are and exerts all her efforts into smoothing them out, using smooth heated pebbles and determined amounts of pressure from her hands and forearms. Our legs get a good going over too and the rest of the body isn’t neglected. Because we’re heading straight home afterwards, we agree to have our face and head massaged, but you might want to skip this if you have plans.
Afterwards we relax with herbal tea and a plate of sweet date balls. There’s no hurry to move on and the spa also offers nail treatments and facials, if you’re keen to prolong the pampering.
Special offers for Mother’s Day 2018 at Luban Spa include a three-hour chill-out package with a bespoke massage, 60-min Jehbel Akhdar rose body mask and an hour-long Elemis dynamic resurfacing facial, for AED 1,100.
Dubai Week was a guest of the venue.
90 minute bespoke massage AED 560. Villa 100, Umm Al Sheif Road, opposite Spinneys. 10am to 10pm Saturday to Thursday and 12pm to 9pm on Friday. 043 460 000.