Liz O’Reilly headed to Rimal Spa at Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain for a whole afternoon of much-needed pampering. Did it do the trick?

Who doesn’t love a spa day? Life is busy, particularly with business taking a definite upswing, and sometimes the frenetic pace, though very welcome, can seem a little overwhelming. Muscles ache from long hours spent at the computer, your neck hurts from having your phone clamped to your ear… need I say more?

Sometimes, what we all need is a few hours of time out to relax and rejuvenate. So, a trip to Rimal Spa at Mövenpick Hotel Bahrain was just what the doctor (or rather, my boss) ordered.

One thing I noticed straight away on arrival was the sense of peace and calm, almost like a balm to the spirit before I ever set foot in a treatment room. The waiting area is all glittering mauve tiles, raindrop crystal lights fall from the ceiling to form a circle of light surrounding plush white leather seating. The floors are gleaming wood, no clattering heels here, and gentle music drifts on the air along with a subtle scent. Perhaps I could just settle here for the afternoon with my warming cup of green tea?

But no, I learned that my first treatment was to be the Turkish Hamman and was struck by a small sense of dread. The last time I was in a Hammam, not only was there a power cut leaving me sitting in the dark steam room for, what felt like, ages but I was scrubbed to within an inch of my life leaving patches of my extremely sensitive skin pink and sore.

However, my lovely therapist Azell was completely understanding and soon put me at my ease. She showed me to the changing area, where I donned a soft, fluffy robe and slippers, then we walked along a corridor with walls decorated in swirling sand patterns, in keeping with the spa name, Rimal, which means sand, passing treatment rooms each bearing the name of something sand or sea related such as Waha (oasis), Horiya (mermaid) and Juman (a type of pearl).

On entering the Hammam, the therapist checked that I was comfortable with the hot temperature and asked me to lie on the marble bed. What followed was an hour of gentle pampering the like of which I have never experienced before. To say Azell is a master of her craft would be a definite understatement – she even goes for regular Hammam treatments on her days off – and I was glad of both her expertise and her gentle care.

First, I was washed down, using a shower attached to the bed, then it was into the steam room for a few minutes to heat my skin and aid in cleansing. This had the added benefit of leaving my airways feeling opened as I took several hot, deep, relaxing breaths.

Back onto the table it was time for the famous Moroccan soap with Argan oil which Azell got to work rubbing in and administering the gentle scrubbing for which Hammam is famous. If Hammam is not something to which you’re accustomed, it can initially feel a little weird being washed and scrubbed by another person, almost like going back to childhood. But, trust me, it’s worth it. Release yourself and you will feel super relaxed.

Soon it was time for another rinse down before the application of a deliciously orange-scented, full-body mask of rhassoul clay, a brown clay found only in the Atlas Mountains of Morocco and famed for its cleansing and exfoliant properties. It’s also said to reduce skin dryness and improve clarity and I was more than happy to lie back and let it do its job – so much so that I was snoring gently by the time Azell returned sometime later.

Finally, I was rinsed and steamed again finishing up with moisturiser and a hair wash all of which left me feeling as clean as the day I was born and ready for a few minutes chill, to get back to my normal body temperature, with a cup of relaxing chamomile tea.

Next came a massage with plain, unscented almond oil – Azell had warned her colleague Kartika, my next therapist, that my skin was too delicate for the traditional, often highly scented, aromatherapy oils we had planned. I was glad since I didn’t want to lose the blissful feeling I had on leaving the Hammam.

I’m a bit of a baby when it comes to massage pressure but Kartika was so tuned to my sensitivity that I actually asked for slightly stronger pressure to work on my problem areas of ankles, knees and lower back. With gentle but firm, sweeping strokes she expertly released my knots and I honestly would say this was one of the most comfortable but effective massages I have ever had.

My final stop of the day was with facialist Jane, who expertly explained each step of her process of cleansing, toning, gentle scrubbing and more toning before a facial massage with a potion of seaweed, sunflower and coriander seeds. She explained that this was one of the most important steps of the treatment to really nourish my tender and dehydrated skin.

The massage was followed with a mask of green tea, chamomile and aloe vera working with the skin’s own properties to produce a soothing and anti-ageing effect (yes please) and the treatment concluded with a liberal application of moisturiser containing sunflower and jojoba oil. My complexion felt amazing afterwards and even looked plumped and less wrinkled.

Goodbyes were said over a last cup of tea, this time refreshing ginger, and I learned that all the products used were from Voya, a brand that’s organic and cruelty free. So, I waved my farewell with a clear conscience to match my uber-clean skin and a promise to return to try the signature Caci facial treatments which have an excellent reputation and are only available at Rimal Spa.✤