Ask any woman in Egypt about the secret behind beautiful skin and scrubbing is bound to be stressed as a key ingredient in the wealth of age-old beauty recipes you’ll be flooded with.
A more professional opinion would explain that body scrubs remove dead skin cells and help blood circulation.
This is why, when presented with an invitation to review the spa of the Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence, I opted for the Egyptian Loofah Scrub body treatment.
In addition to the relaxing break this 60-minute treatment would provide, it also carried the promise of the ever sought-for beautiful skin.
I called to set an appointment. Conveniently, I was sent an email with the offerings attached, so I can take my time to compare and choose.
With over 20 options of body and facial treatments and massages, I called back for recommendations. Over the phone, I was given brief, yet thorough, comparisons between the entries. Body treatments range in price (from $219 to $132) and nature (from the Cleopatra milk and honey bath to Javanese exfoliation). The same goes for the massages, which are offered in 120-, 90- and 60-minute packages. They again encompass different regions and techniques: Pharaonic, Swedish, Balinese, Indian and stone therapy. Prices start from $129 and climb to $299. Facials, covering hydration, exfoliation and a number of aromatic and Egyptian treatments, fall in the $122-$169 price range.
The aptly named treatment First Residence Renewal Experience incorporates all three (body, facial and massage) for $269.
Let’s go traditional Egyptian then, I told them.
The hotel s Wellness Center boasts that it is one that focuses on luxury and hospitality. “Our spa facility provides an environment, which encourages escapism – an oasis of tranquility, reads the introduction to the extensive menu of treatments and massages.
I entered this oasis the minute I stepped into the hotel and headed towards the spa. Following the richly designed corridors, I went past the pool, its crystal blue water and comfy shaded seating setting the mood for the spa behind the glass doors.
Once inside, I was given a brief tour of the place, shown where the lockers are and where to change, and given a cotton bathrobe, whose rich, silky feel on my skin made for another shelter from the noise of the city and its stress.
I asked to be walked through the process, to be told what ingredients are used and their benefits to the skin. Annie, who administrated the day’s treatment, had a wealth of information. She knew when to offer explanation and when to allow me to relish the relaxing treatment.
As its name suggested, this treatment comprised of loofah and scrubbing à la Egyptian tradition. When applying the not-so-rough loofah, Annie explained the benefits of the practice to blood circulation and its consequent effect on the skin. Always use the loofah in circular motion, she advised.
When it came to the traditional scrub, she walked me through ingredients used in the all-natural recipe: The sesame oil (to soften the skin), the yogurt (for body detoxification) and ginger (to increase blood circulation), from Egypt. A Balinese herself, she added an ingredient rooted in similar treatments in her home country: coconut. It’s rich in fat, which is good to the skin, she told me.
Following a warm shower to wash off the organic mix, Annie led me to another room for the final part of the treatment: Orange blossom cream acted as polish to add a healthy glow to my now-softer surface.
Rubbed and pressed on the skin, this polishing phase was akin to a soft massage, leaving the muscles relaxed and rejuvenated.
I was then led to a small lounge and advised to wait 10-15 minutes before using the other complimentary services: sauna, steam and Jacuzzi. Allow the skin to absorb the cream so its effect would last longer, Annie told me.
There, presented with fresh apples, dried apricots, walnuts and different types of herbal tea, I sat in a comfy armchair with a foot rest. I got ahead in reading the 700-page book I had, but eventually fell asleep in the quite lounge.
Four Seasons Hotel Cairo at the First Residence, 35 Giza Street; Tel: (20) (2) 3573 1212; Email: email@example.com; Web: http://www.fourseasons.com/cairofr/