So near and yet so far from the stress of daily life in these abnormal times, Tel Aviv’s David Intercontinental Hotel offers all sorts of solutions for therapeutic decompressing. The hotel staff greets you at the door, and from then on you are in their expert care. Everyone from the manager down – the room staff, waiters, masseurs and masseuses – are friendly and professional. What we hadn’t taken into account, however, was the effect that our room would have on our sense of well-being.

There was an instant switching of gears from “wound up” to “unwound” before we even stopped to take a sip of the complimentary bottle of red wine that awaited us on the table. Large windows surrounded the room, from where we could enjoy the spectacular sea view. The room was entirely electronically controlled. But not to worry, one of the dedicated staff members showed us how to shut the blinds, shades and curtains with ease.

Because guests are at the hotel to turn off that annoying committee meeting in their head and to tune in to the body’s sensuous possibilities, they should make an early appointment for a treatment – any treatment – at the hotel’s spa.

When I was living in South Africa several years back, I was going out with a girl who was studying to be a health beautician. She would often take me to health spas, some of which were really impressive, while others were not. However, none of those places compares to the warm hospitality and personal treatment that my partner and I received at the David Intercontinental spa.

After settling in to our lovely room, we donned the provided bathrobes and slippers and headed down to the lair of magic fingers. Located at one of the bottom levels of the hotel, the spa is relatively small, but the designers have used the space and light in such a way that you don’t feel cramped.

With an impressive menu of massages and treatments and a cosmetics area for manicures, pedicures and facials, the spa features seven treatment rooms, one of which has two beds side by side designed for couples. In addition to a workout room, fully outfitted with the latest equipment, there is a dry sauna/steam room. The steam not only helps to loosen muscles and relax joints in the body, but it also opens the skin’s pores, clears the head and cleans out mucus in the nose and throat.

When making an appointment for treatments, guests are asked whether they want a male or female staff member. If this is important to you, make sure to double-check the roster beforehand.

My partner and I were met by two masseuses who led us to the treatment rooms, where we were left to slip out of our bathrobes and lie face down on the massage tables.

As I closed my eyes and let the soothing music fill my ears, my masseuse began gently massaging my shoulders. She was very professional and clearly very experienced.

I was impressed with her thorough and deep massage, with just the right amount of gentleness, that left me feeling like I had gotten an authentic treatment and not just a “feel good” back rub. At the same time, I felt pampered and completely relaxed. It was one of the best massages I’d ever had.

There is a clean and spacious shower room adjacent to the massage rooms, where you can wash off the oil and put your bathrobe back on.

While the spa is obviously aimed at the David Intercontinental guests, it is open to the general public as well. The prices are standard compared to most other spas in the country. A 50-minute Swedish massage runs up to NIS 320. The Seven Chakra treatment lasts 70 minutes and costs NIS 480. The spa also offers special massages for pregnant women.

Every aspect of the David Intercontinental spa is well thought out, beautifully designed and immaculately maintained. And it’s the details – from polite, relaxed staff to imaginative lighting – that make this place well worth a visit.

The writer was a guest of the David Intercontinental Hotel.

For more information about the spa, visit www.intercontinental.com/ telaviv or call (03) 795-1252.

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