By Ashlee Starratt
Let me tell you a secret. I hate going to the gym. And with Qatar’s rising heat index putting a damper on outdoor activity as summer fast approaches…well, you could say I’m running out of options. If you can’t handle the heat, get out of the desert you say? Well, here’s a caveat – feeling the burn at the gym becomes a lot more appealing when there’s a massage waiting for you afterwards to work out all the kinks and knots.
It’s here where Bodylines Fitness & Wellness Club at the City Centre Rotana is one-stop shopping. It’s been a little over a year since the Rotana, the newest hotel to join those book-ending City Center Mall, opened its doors – making Bodylines one of the city’s newest fitness and spa outlets. This will be my first trip to their facility and, as I arrive – mid-afternoon on a Thursday – the space is already abuzz with activity. A water Zumba class is just about to start at the pool, while a good number of the elliptical machines are already occupied in the spacious workout area.
The space itself is bright and airy, with plenty of warm, natural light streaming in. A welcoming reception area with adjacent spinning room and massage quarters opens onto the pool terrace, where a children’s play-area stands adjacent to the many sun loungers surrounding the cool, blue depths of the pool. Further down the terrace is the Rotana’s Aquarius Pool Bar restaurant, while the entire outdoor space is complemented by the dappled shade of palm trees and shrubbery that block out the West Bay skyscrapers and transport you out of your surroundings for a short while.
While Bodylines offers top-notch equipment, a variety of high-energy classes to get your heart pumping, and personal fitness instructors to guide you along your way to a fitter you, today, I’m shying away from cardio and weight-training, in favour of full-on relaxation. With several single and couples spa treatment rooms scattered throughout the facility, there’s no excuse not to sign up for a little pampering after you pound it at CrossFit!
Today I’ll be trying out Bodylines’ signature Swedish massage and, upon arrival, I’m greeted by the smiling face of Olga, my Ukrainian massage therapist who’ll be doing the treatment today. She explains to me that Swedish massage is characterized by a focus on full-body relaxation, achieved through long, gliding massage strokes and light pounding techniques to tenderize muscles and encourage ease of blood-flow.
I’m led into one of their treatment rooms and the bustle of the busy space outside quickly fades away as I’m greeted by soft candlelight, flower petals, and a lush massage table to sink into. The room also comes outfitted with a private shower for freshening up after your treatment – which is nice touch away from having to head down the hall to the changing rooms to shower and get changed.
Olga starts the treatment by having me lay face-down. The massage table is unbelievably comfortable – sometimes I find the face cradles to be somewhat suffocating but this one, and the bed itself, are plush and supportive. Olga begins by using a lavender-scented massage oil to do a reflexology rub-down on my feet before moving onto my legs and, then, my back, neck, and shoulders.
I tend to carry a lot of tension in the lumbar region of my spine, as well as my neck and shoulders – being a frequent migraine sufferer as a result. Olga’s technique is well-skilled, and her strokes fluid. I find it hard to tell when one ends and the next begins, the constant motion quickly lulling me to sleep. After she finishes with my back and shoulders, she indulges me in a toe-curling, face-down scalp massage before having me flip over, and the massage process repeated.
Afterwards, I’m a puddle of goo that can’t stand upright. Relaxed not strong enough a descriptor for this level of zen. Olga leaves me, all smiles, to freshen up and come back to life before meeting me outside to answer any further questions I might have about this or any other treatments they offer.
As much as I would come back to Bodylines for the quality of its service and facilities, it’s actually the friendliness and calibre of their staff that impressed me most. To top off your afternoon at the spa, grab one of their refreshing juices or mocktails poolside at Aquarius Pool Bar restaurant as the sun sinks below the metal and glass horizon of West Bay. Operation relaxation? Job done!
About Bodylines Fitness & Wellness Club
Location: 7th Floor, City Centre Rotana, West Bay
Timings: Open 24-hours for hotel guests
7:00 a.m. till 10:00 p.m., non-hotel guests
11:00 a.m. till 9:00 p.m., massage treatments
Price: QR 295, 60-minute Swedish massage
Contact info: (+974) 4445-8888
Have you been to Bodylines at the new City Centre Rotana? Tell us about your experience in the comments below and don’t forget to give us a like and a share – it keeps us going!
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