It’s the first holistic well-being resort in the Middle East and a must-visit place this season. What about a resort that offers you yoga lessons, wellness programmes, tailor-made retreats, health therapies and more? Sounds like a dream, but that’s what The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel is all about! Tucked away on the exclusive coastline of Palm Jumeirah’s East Crescent, the beachfront destination houses 255 picturesque rooms and suites, all designed with natural elements, earth tones and a harmonising Feng Shui philosophy throughout the property. Design Middle East had a candid chat with Samir Arora, general manager at The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel, about this new concept in the region.
One-of-its kind in the UAE—The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel. What’s the philosophy behind this well-being inspired resort?
As is characteristic of MGallery’s ‘Serenity’ properties within its portfolio of over 90 hotels, The Retreat Palm Dubai MGallery by Sofitel allows guests to embark on a transformative journey. The first wellness concept of its kind in the region, the resort’s philosophy goes far beyond simply offering health and well-being therapies. It is about reimagining and defining personal rejuvenation, providing holistic, tailormade wellness retreats. At the heart of the resort is the Rayya Wellness Centre, inspired by a 360-degree holistic wellness concept, offering organic-based products and an uplifting relaxation and rejuvenation experience.
How do you define wellness and why guests need to realise its importance? I define wellness as a perfect balance of your body, mind, and soul. How do you achieve that?
Indeed it is your lifestyle – your food, your physical activities, and spiritual exercises for your mind and soul, combined with work and life balance. UAE is leading the way with spa openings, but people are looking for more – a holistic and immersive outlook to complete wellness. It is important to find that balance in life, and very often we don’t know where to start, and that’s where our inhouse wellness expert can help our guests. Our doors are open to anyone interested in wellness – we are not focussing on one particular audience, but rather showcasing to all, that wellness is something you can be the master of within our property. We are here to help and advise to ensure each guest has the very best experience. Before the guest arrives, we send them a very detailed wellness questionnaire that allows us to select, adapt, and tailor the best possible retreat programme for them. It is an individual’s choice, which elements of the retreat they choose to do or not.
Highlight the key design elements of the property.
The hotel guest will appreciate our resort not only due to its unique well-being offerings but also because of its interior design that was inspired by the ancient principles of Feng Shui. Entering the hotel lobby one instantly gets this well-being effect that has been created by applying Feng Shui principles: bright natural light from glass windows, doors and ceiling, the central palm tree and wall art greenery, curvy shaped furniture pieces and carpets and the organically shaped reception desk emit a gentle and subtle feel-good vibe. The energy (Chi) moves gently through space, distributes vibrant, yet gentle energy to all the adjacent areas. Glass doors that lead to outdoor area allow for a spectacular view onto the beach and create the feel of transparency and clear orientation, an important factor in Feng Shui. While the entrance has an active and vibrant, bright energy of yang the hotel’s wellness centre has the perfect counterbalance of a yin space with dark hues, calmness and silence, ideally to relax. Located on the dedicated wellness floor, the soon-to-be-launched wellness rooms with a spacious alfresco terrace are designed to offer immersive wellness experiences and feature a collection of wellness-centred amenities.
Tell us more about the very popular Rayya Wellness. What activities and treatments are offered at the hotel for the wellness of the guests? The first wellness concept of its kind in the region, the Rayya Wellness philosophy goes far beyond simply offering health and \wellbeing therapies. It is about reimagining and defining personal rejuvenation, providing holistic, tailor-made experiences that amaze the senses, revitalise the body and elevate the spirit. Meaning “breeze” in Arabic, Rayya’s vision is built on the legacy of creating well-being solutions that transcend time. Six tailor-made retreats have been expertly designed to improve mind, body and spirit. Packages range from three to fourteen nights including programmes such as Renew—focussed on detox and cleansing; Revive—centred around emotional well-being; and Reshape – a dedicated fitness and nutrition package to attain a healthier, more complete lifestyle. Among other treatments, I would like to highlight special programmes for anti-ageing and weight loss. Other treatments include signature spa rituals such as 1001 Arabian Nights – including desert scrub, relaxing massage and camel milk facial – through to rejuvenating cryotherapy, detoxifying facials and the traditional Hammam.
How hotels can benefit from the growing interest in wellness tourism?
Wellness and well-being are no longer words only used by a particular niche of individuals, the market is certainly more informed, people are researching how to be a part of the growing trend and are no longer intimidated by it but want to embrace it. Wellness is increasingly integrated into our lifestyle, whether at home, work or travel and reflecting a wider value shift in society. Therefore, hotels should not take wellness as only one of the components, but treat it as a philosophy and integrate it to the entire guest journey in the hotel. And that’s what we do at The Retreat Palm Dubai.
As a general manager, how do you motivate your staff on all levels?
There is no secret that hospitality is all about how genuine you are with people. My approach has been and will remain the same – I am very genuine and transparent with my team. I motivate and sincerely recognise earnest efforts and hard work; and at the same time, help improve on the gaps in their performances. We take a different approach and explore what will work to encourage them. But overall, it is all about genuine recognition. We always try to focus on the positive aspect.
What does the future hold for the Retreat The Palm MGallery by Sofitel?
What are you most looking forward to in the rest of 2019 and 2020? Our main goal will remain to drive and maintain the holistic approach throughout every aspect of the hotel, ensuring that our engagement with our guests goes beyond their stay with us. Our prerogative is to help each guest achieve lasting wellness with experience and learnings that each individual can carry with him or her into their everyday life. We will stay true to what we set out to achieve, working with the best in class, achieving outstanding results, staying ahead of the trends and leading the market toward the global wellness movement.