Qatar spa market poised to grow

One of Ritz-Carlton Doha’s spa beds

Qatar is looking forward to the opening, in 2006, of what is reported to be the region’s largest spa facilities at the planned Al Sharq Village Resort and Spa which is being constructed for Qatar National Hotels Company (QNH) on the shores of Doha Bay between the Doha Club and the Oasis Hotel and Beach Club.

In the meantime, several of the country’s five-star hotels include spa facilities and the newest will be at the Four Seasons, scheduled to open in this second quarter of 2005. Clubs such as the Doha Club and Diplomatic Club also offer massage and treatments; the Sheraton Doha Hotel and Resort offers Shiatsu and Swedish massage, Reflexology and Relaxation therapy. The Ramada hotel’s Cabana Club also has massage facilities for men and women. The InterContinental Doha has separate Chinese massage facilities for men and women at its Inter-fitness Club.
There is also an ever-increasing range of massage clinics around town; take your pick of Chinese, Thai, Indian, Swedish and Shiatsu massages and reflexology, and of course Ayurvedic treatments are increasing in popularity. Most of the clubs, fitness clubs and independent treatment centres offer a range of face, neck, shoulder, foot, back and full body massages, aromatherapy, and a range of facial treatments and body wraps. Some of the beauty centres also advertise themselves as  a ‘beauty centre and spa’ or offer ‘spa treatments.’
Some of the most popular venues are the fully-fledged spas at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha and the Doha Marriott. The Doha Marriott currently claims to have ‘the most extensive range of facilities in town, including our unique Turkish Bath’, and offers a mix of natural remedies and advanced therapies. The spa facilities, in an extension influenced by Moroccan architecture, include a Jacuzzi, hydro-bath, steam room, plunge pool, massage room and individual treatment rooms.
Ladies’ spa membership costs QR2,000 annually at the Marriott, giving access to the facilities throughout the year with additional charges for the various treatments. Promotions so far this year have included a ‘New He’ promotion for the men, with a 30-minute complimentary back massage offered with every facial – a total of 90 minutes treatment for QR200, while the ‘New She’ for ladies offered a complimentary eyelash tint and eyebrow shape with each facial, the latter including facial deep cleansing and a face, neck and shoulder massage.
Like other facilities in Qatar, and in deference to Arabic tradition, the Spa at The Ritz-Carlton, Doha, includes separate facilities for men and women. Soothing shades of lavender make for an understated and relaxed environment to enjoy signature treatments inspired by ancient Arab secrets of health, wellness and beauty. A total of seven private rooms offer a variety of treatments ranging from fragrant and relaxing Oriental massage to the health enhancing benefits of hydrotherapy.
ShiTao is one of the most recent treatments to have been added to the list at the spa. A detoxifying, relaxing and rejuvenating treatment, it is based on a holistic approach and uses heated basalt stones together with therapeutic ScenTao products – the main emphasis being on relaxing both the skin and senses. 
The ‘Ultimate Champagne Selection Treatment’ at The Ritz’ Spa is a unique skin-care experience involving luxury ingredients including yeast extract, which plays an important role in the natural regeneration process of the skin and its own protective mechanisms. Special essences leave the skin feeling vibrantly renewed and radiant.
Gentlemen visiting The Ritz-Carlton, Doha Spa can now select from a choice of three facials: moisturising, energising and purifying. All the products used have been specifically formulated for male skin. The facial starts with hot towels applied to the face and neck. The Spa also offers a three-hour ‘Perfect Date Package’ for $160. The Ritz describes it as “An exclusive treatment designed for any special occasion”.
In addition, there’s the Majestic Spa Weekend includes two nights accommodation in a stunning Amiri Suite, delectable cuisine and personal health coaching and pampering that will enliven the senses. The package is valid until December 31, 2005, and is priced at $10,000 for two people in an Amiri suite, subject to availability.
The Spa & Wellness Centre at the soon-to-open Four Seasons Hotel Doha uses the concept of the elements to categorise its wide range of spa treatments given that many therapies draw on a combination of the natural resources of Water, Fire, Air and Earth. A balance between the elements reflects the balance between the body and between the body, mind and spirit, with the therapies stimulating the body to create that balance.
Looking ahead to next year and the completion of the new QNH project, the new spa facility at Al Sharq Village Resort & Spa is to be managed by Thailand’s Six Senses Spas. Six Senses Spas, together with Arab Engineering Bureau as the architects and P49, a reputed Thai design firm, as the interior designers, are going to create a Spa at Al Sharq Village Resort that will resemble the form of a traditional Qatari village. The architecture will not be modern and linear but rather like a true Middle Eastern village that has grown organically over time, with winding village streets rather than corridors, and with 23 treatment suites resembling typical village houses.