As the buzzing city lights kept going and we found ourselves in between events and friends, FACT’s Jenny Guttridge went to get herself a muchneeded pampering session at the Sharq Village & Spa, a Ritz-Carlton Hotel…

When you visit a spa with the intention of sinking into luxury and feel the weight of the everyday melt away, there is no better place to create that feeling than at Sharq Village Spa. From the sound of the trickling fountain water in reception to the beautiful interiors, the traditional architecture transports you to another time. I was warmly greeted by reception and offered a glass of their detox water infused with orange, ginger and mint before being shown around the spa facilities. Sharq Spa is a maze of rooms filled with calming relaxation areas, a lounge area, and varying temperature pools.

I was met by my therapist, Jeep, who put me at ease straight away and was incredibly welcoming, as were all of the staff members I came across during my spa experience. Jeep showed me out of the main spa building into a collection of small houses following on from the same traditional architecture seen across the whole village resort, complimenting the vibe of a royal palace you get here from the moment you enter. If you are looking for a private pampering experience it doesn’t get more so than this, as each house is its own secluded treatment room with shower and bathroom inside, combining times past with modern luxury.

The treatment was a 150-minute ‘Hydration Journey’ designed by NaturaBisse (a Spanish skincare company) in a specific product progression, promising to hydrate your skin and leave you feeling refreshed. Jeep explained the journey we would be going through and had an excellent knowledge of the brand and product range, to explain how all the benefits layer on top of one another to create the ultimate hydration for your skin.

The treatment began with Jeep washing my feet in warm water filled with flower petals before moving to the massage bed where she applied the full-body Bamboo scrub. The scrub was a combination of bamboo and ginger, to invigorate, get the blood flowing and remove dead cells. The scent left on the skin was clean with a slight spice to it, which I loved. After the scrub was complete, I showered in the treatment bathroom, changing to a different massage bed for the next stage of the treatment. The NaturaBisse Oxygen Mousse mask was applied to my whole body where I was wrapped in blankets to allow the mousse to soak in for 10 to 15 minutes. After the mask had worked its magic, I had another shower to remove the product before going back to the massage bed. I laid back down and was given a virtual reality headset to wear. A video made by NaturaBisse began playing, leading you through a mindfulness meditation of focusing on the sensations and feelings in your body, while your therapist applies pressure in corresponding time to the video. I had never experienced such an immersive experience as this and the combination of technology with the treatment was such a surprising but fantastic idea! The video lasted for seven minutes, combined with the scents from the detox aroma oil, I felt myself breathing deeper, calmer, and it definitely took me a step further into relaxation. I believe this is the first of its kind treatment in Qatar as I have honestly never been able to experience it elsewhere; further convincing me that the Sharq Spa is in a league of its own.

After the virtual reality video, Jeep applied the Oxygen Perfecting Oil, which has a high concentration of micronutrients (such as spirulina and algae) aimed to detoxify the skin and improve elasticity. Once the oil was applied, I was covered in blankets again and the facial began. Jeep started with the All-in-One Cleansing Cream to clean my skin and remove any makeup. This was followed by The Cure Hydro-gel Toner, which had a beautiful light citrus smell to it, and its gel consistency felt soothing on my skin. Jeep then used the Glyco Peel, which is an exfoliating treatment filled with AHAs and glycolic acid to help renew the surface of the skin and improve skin texture.

The peel tingled on the skin and felt itchy for around 40 seconds, which is how you know it is working! The Oxygen Concentrate was then applied all over my face and left to soak into the skin for a few minutes. The Oxygen concentrate was the part I was most excited about, to give full hydration to the skin and make my face look bright and glowing rather than dull and lifeless, which is always what happens across winter. Once the Oxygen Concentrate had soaked in the Oxygen Finishing Mask followed by the Oxygen Cream moisturiser were applied to add more hydration into the skin. Jeep also applied the Essential Shock Intense eye and lip cream, to both my lips and eyes as well as some oil-free BB cream Brilliant Sun Protection which is SPF50 to help protect my skin as it is more sensitive post-treatment.

NaturaBisse and The Ritz-Carlton have designed this deeply hydrating journey with wellness and mindfulness at the forefront. Each step in the process was its own ritual taking you a level deeper into relaxation. My skin was soft and smooth, with a noticeable improvement in the texture straight away after treatment. My face felt soft and hydrated, but the real impact came two days after the treatment where I heard those words everyone hopes for after a facial ‘your skin looks amazing, you’re glowing!’. It was my first time experiencing the Hydration Journey and what a journey it was. Completely different from a usual spa experience, the use of VR as a mindfulness tool was an experience in itself. Fantastic if you’re looking for something a little different or extra special to treat yourself with.

If you want to take your pampering to the next level, also indulge in the afternoon tea which can be served to you in the relaxation lounge. It was a beautiful selection of sweet treats and sandwiches, complete with fresh juices and tea. The macarons are not to be missed! ✤