At $785 a night, The Reethi Rah isn't a resort you'll find on The Backpackers Guide To Male. And as one of The Leading Hotels of the World, it isn't favoured by the jet-set for nothing. It offers manicures and pedicures by world-famous podiatrist Bastien Gonzalzez (though why a Doctor of Medicine would want to give pedis to the rich and famous is beyond me... famous foot fetish perhaps?) The One & Only Reethi Rah (as it is always referred to in hushed revered tones) is most famous of course for it's spa.With Vitality Pools, Crystal Steam rooms, Sauna, Lifestyle Showers and stimulating Ice Fountains (something like sticking your head in an ice box) it's a place where 'time has meaning'. And here I was thinking otherwise.
As a spa junkie, The One &Only Reethi Rah is a dream holiday destination for me. There is nothing that leaves me happier than a good massage, lots of incense and strains of a didgeridoo or some other pagan instrument wafting in the air.
Now as a lowly copywriter, my salary does not afford regular spa trips, unless I choose to not eat for a few months or sell a kidney. So I do the next best thing. I bring the spa home.
I'm a sucker for books about home spas and detoxes. Any hardback book printed on recycled paper that allowed a community of poisonous frogs to survive in the Amazon will have me reaching for my credit car faster than you can say Dendrobates duellmanni. I have a small library that tells me to stew nettle leaves for glossy hair, St.John's Wort (eww) for better skin and Primrose oil for brighter eyes. But since I'm not one of the three witches from Macbeth I take a short cut and go to The Body Shop. God bless Anita Roddick, I hear cauldrons are a bitch to clean.
So now back to home spa-ing. It's easy really. If armed with a few candles (not like the ones we use during power cuts - nice scented ones), natural sounding products that have saved seaweed beds off the coast of Northern Island and funded the IRA and a glossy magazine any one can spa at home!
So on Sunday, armed with all these things I bid goodbye to my husband, left him his dinner on the table and descended in to spa-heaven.
The hot oil head massage (which left my arms begging for a massage of their own) was followed by the hot towel head wrap. Now this is tricky. If the water is too hot it will leave you looking a singed cartoon character, if it's not hot enough it's like wrapping a giant boogger around you head.
So there I was suitably oiled with a face pack on and a rapidly cooling towel on my head. And I took out the home made almond and cashew paste (hey looking good ain't cheap). Since I had a face pack on I rubbed it on my hands and feet. As the fragrance of nuts enveloped me, I had a brief vision of giant squirrels breaking down the bathroom door and trying to eat my limbs.
I followed this with a foot scrub and decided to run a nice hot bubble bath. As the tub filled with steaming water and camomile bath salts, I tried reading this months issue of Living etc. A little hard considering the fact that my hands had turned in to nut treats.
Now when spa-ing it's important to prepare a check-list. And number 1 on that checklist is to make sure that there's enough hot water to fill a bath tub. And as I lowered myself in to the tub I realised that this was something that I had overlooked (one of the occasions in life where the saying 'better late than never' does not apply) After trying for 5 minute to to relax in the luke warm water, I decided to turn the hot water on and wait for for the nice hot soak I deserved. A considirable wait as many of you know. And to pass the time, what did I do? I dumped live Greek Yoghurt on my hair and massaged the rest in to my arms. Not a clever thing to do, as the bathroom was slowly starting to resemble a meat locker - cold and smelly.
After a painfully cold 45 minute wait, I showered in water that was as lukewarm as it had been three quarters of an hour before. The Greek Yoghurt mixed with the lavender body scrub, and the tingling sensation I was promised was more like third degree burns.
So after almost two hours of feeling cold, wet and burnt, struggling with imaginary giant squirrels and trying to put out small fires started by the candles I emerged. The bathroom was a mess, I was no where near relaxed and I exuded a fragrance that was a mix of Greek dairy hand and Naturals' roasted almond ice cream (proximity to candles not advised)
So have I learned anything from this experience? I hope to. I really do. And to help me, I have a fresh copy of Luxury Spa's at Home in my bag.