Back to the future
James Fryer puts a pipe and slippers on his Christmas list after some nouveau gentleman’s club style pampering.
Dubai’s metrosexuals and modern men will already have regular 1847 visits scheduled into their PDAs, but these men-about-town may not have heard about the second instalment in the now legendary men’s grooming lounge, recently launched as part of Grosvenor House’s ever-expansive health and beauty floor.
If you haven’t been to a spa, sorry, ‘grooming lounge’, before, fear not; 1847 has all the bases covered with a no-nonsense menu which clearly and simply sets out what’s in store. On my visit, I found myself sat in a rather compact chillout lounge sipping Evian while the therapy suite was prepared by my soon to be pampering guru, Kat. The entrance area and corridors are intricate to say the least, and their cubby-hole proportions make negotiating your way past other guests or staff a little tricky, but once you do make it to one of the secluded areas for a facial or massage, the space is your own.
After donning the comfy white linen pyjamas and pretending I was a martial arts master in the mirror, I was taken through what was involved with the 60 minutes, Dhs 175 gentleman’s facial I had opted for. Cleansing, exfoliating, a hydrating mask, head massage, hair and scalp treatment, soothing eye therapy and wrinkle smoothing serum application was the course of the day, before a hot towel infused with essential oils was used to refresh the skin and an anti-oxidant moisturising treatment left the face feeling truly indulged. Oh, and then there’s some more massaging involved. Did I mention the cleansing? Each subsequent progression in the road to a higher state of facial cleanliness worked wonders on my skin; unblocking my pores, neutralising any oils and invigorating my complexion. And as hoped not one part of my face was neglected, even my ear-lobes received their due attention.
I was so pleased I’d opted for shoes over the usual trainers on my visit as they were whisked away for a much needed shine during my pampering, returning so shiny I could see my face’s new found radiance in them.
As with the Emirates Towers branch, the new 1847 lounge offers the signature 1847 shave in the fantastic barber shop. Hand-made Italian barber chairs and built-in sinks are a modern take on an age-old tradition and lost art. A 35-minute, Dhs 90 shave will separate the men from the boys, and may leave you wondering if you can ever go back to cheap shaving foam and the faithful Mach 3.
Pre-shave oil follows a hot towel before warm shaving cream is applied with a sterilised badger brush (an essential part of the traditional shave, so I’m told) and the face is shaved twice, once with the grain, and once across. Alum block, an aftershave mask and light moisturising balm follows to close the pores and complete the shave fit for a king.
What’s more, chaps can also treat their ladies to a simultaneous afternoon of pampering at the first ever JetSet wash and blow dry centre or the sixth instalment of the N-Bar chain, both located just a few steps away from the new men’s health and beauty offering. Some men may still prefer to be more discreet and visit on their tod, however, or maybe as a bit of a boys’ outing after a round at the nearby Emirates Golf Club. A tiny button sunk into the lounge’s meaty dark wooden front door is in fact so discreet you may find yourself locked out of the Aladdin’s cave of all things beautiful if you don’t have a bit of insider info.
At first 1847 seems like the sort of place American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman might find himself, but it really isn’t all that scary. The facial was a nice treat, but didn’t have any lasting effect once I returned to the mean streets of Dubai. The 1847 shave, on the other hand, may pull me back to the Marina a couple of times a month. Old-fashioned men’s grooming is making a comeback – now where are my pipe and slippers?
1847, Grosvenor House, Dubai. Tel: (04) 3998989.