The Cascades Spa offers everything from familiar massages and facials to hydrotherapy and hammam.
A great place to start is with the Before-Sun Scrub (25 minutes, €45) to exfoliate your skin and leave it smooth so you get an even tan. My therapist, Manita, issued me with disposable underwear and asked me to lie face-down on the treatment table. She exfoliated the backs of my legs and arms and my back before asking me to turn over so she could repeat the process on my front. Strategically placed towels preserved my modesty at all times. The scrub is made from Red Sea salts which are rich in minerals, alongside mint, green tea and fennel. Once I was done, Manita switched on the overhead Vichy shower. Warm seawater sprinkles down on you from above, washing away the exfoliant and soothing your skin. A quick rinse in the in-room shower to wash away the last particles, after which my skin felt super-smooth.
The spa also offers an After Sun Body Soak if you've overdone it, in which your skin is soothed by aloe-vera gel and rose water.
At some point in your relaxation schedule, you may want to pencil in a Relaxing Somabay Massage (50 minutes, €70). We did. Our therapist was, once again, Manita, who furnished the disposable underwear in the same friendly fashion. She asked me to choose from three scents for the massage oil --rosemary, lavender, and lemon vanilla -- in which contest the lemon vanilla won hands-down. I lay face-down on towels while Manita massaged the backs of my legs, thighs, back, and shoulders, working with smooth, flowing movements on my legs especially. It was not deep-tissue massage but Manita fingerprinted some points of tension, working up into the deep knots in my neck. I turned over so Manita could work on my arms -- again with a firm, sure touch -- and further soothe my neck and shoulders. This was delightful, as my upper back is where I carry most of my stress. Manita finished with some facial massage -- intensely relaxing -- and some scalp massage which was even more so. Either that or the giant pink butterfly I dreamed about was actually part of the treatment.
Further relaxation awaited in the Abhyanga (50 minutes, €70), a rhythmic massage with warm sesame oil. As I lay face down, my therapist, Seetha, walked her hands up and down my back before she began the massage proper. Her strokes were not deep but gentle and kneading along my shoulders and the backs of my thighs. More rhythmic kneading followed across my calves and the knots in my back, then long flowing strokes from hips to thighs. My feet received attention, with every toe massaged individually. I turned onto my front for the front of my legs, arms and hands; Seetha eased tension in my palms, and once again treated each finger. You can have this massage with oil in your hair -- which is divine -- or without. Seetha finished with a facial massage and a supremely relaxing scalp massage. Ideally, follow up your Abhyanga with a spell in the sauna and steam room, to let the oils further soak into your skin.
We also tried a Phytomer Hydra Express facial (25 minutes, €50). My therapist, Touria, cleansed, toned, then massaged in a creamy moisturiser. She applied a Hydratone mask which she left to soak in, then removed it with warm towels and cool cotton pads. After a final application of serum and more moisturiser, my skin felt a lot smoother. After a day when I had caught the sun at the beach -- deceived by the cool wind blowing --my skin felt very soothed, too. An ideal pick-me-up for sun-stressed skin.
Treatments exclusive to Somabay include the therapeutic Somabay Seaweed Wrap and the Scrub of Egypt, which involves a soft clay body mask with powdered rose petals.
The spa menu is wide, so can cater for everything from traditional reflexology to microdermabrasion, with specific treatments for men and couples along the way. You can also book spa packages over three, four or six days, with a prescribed series of treatments designed to help you lose weight, detox, and de-stress. Most involve daily use of the thalasso-tonic pool: a tonic in itself.