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DUBAI: You might think it is too hot for a weekend in Dubai but do not postpone your trip because of high rising temperatures – northern Europe is once again freezing cold for this time of the year. All tourists are gone and the city’s hot spots are the place to go. Tala Samman, a London College of Fashion graduate who edited the first blog to come out of the United Arab Emirates in 2009 (http://myfashdiary.com/) is the girl about town. She is a contributing editor for Grazia Middle East, Harper's Bazaar Arabia and Marie Claire Middle East.
Last week I met her in Munich where she styled and edited the autumn/winter 2013/14 collection for the international fashion online shop at mytheresa.com. Some of her favorite picks are alredy packed in my suitcase.... You can order all looks edited by Tala on mytheresa.com now.
- Zuma brunch on Fridays. Zuma is so much fun at night, but I love it on Fridays for brunch. The food is delicious, the atmosphere is great and the natural light from the large windows is refreshing.
- Sake No Hana for nightlife. I’m a huge fan of lounges that turn into clubs. Sake No Hana just opened in Dubai, and it is definitely the IT destination in the city.
- Zabeel Saray Hotel Spa. Whenever I’m having a long week, I like to head to the spa for a mini staycation. The spa at the Zabeel Saray Hotel on the Palm is beautiful - the facilities are vast, and don’t leave without trying the Sultan's massage.
- Flywheel Sports. I work out 5-7 times a week. My favorite place to work out in Dubai is Flywheel that opened in Dubai from New York City. They have two studios, one for indoor cycling and one for Barre (ballet inspired pilates). Jessica Alba is a fan!
- Ayyam Gallery. We have some great galleries in Dubai - my favorite would have to be Ayyam Gallery which is owned by Syrians and supports up and coming artists.
BARBAROS BAY: On a sunny morning I meet Deniz, the holistic health therapist at the Spa of the Kempinski Hotel Barbaros Bay in Bodrum. We are sitting in the spacious, almost clerical lounge area of the hotel near the infinity pool, a light breeze is moving the linen veil curtains from high above the ceiling and the comfortable lounge beds with their colorful cushions invite me to lay back and relax. I am listening to the soft voice of this kind Turkish woman who seems to be in complete balance with herself and the world around her.
IRMA: Good morning, Deniz. How was your morning so far?
DENIZ: Thank you, very good. I woke up around 8.30 and enjoyed my daily breakfast, which is a glass of fresh squeezed orange juice with some Spirulina and some fresh fruit, normally a banana. I am a vegetarian, so I need Spirulina as it has lots of essential amino acids, iron, calcium and magnesium.
IRMA: This is not very much as you work with your full body strength during the day.
DENIZ: Watsu does not take the physical strength from me because the water helps me to flow and move the person in the water. The water takes the pain and stress from the treated person and is neutralizing both of our bodies at the same time.
IRMA: Can you explain watsu to me?
DENIZ: Watsu means water shiatsu. I take your weightless body on a journey of total release and relaxation. As fluid movements, gentle stretches, rotations and acupressure are applied, joints and muscles let go of pain and tension. Seaweed-like moves release the spine and the mind quiets into a deep, almost meditative, state of relaxation.
IRMA: This sounds wonderful, almost like a baby floating in a mother’s womb.
DENIZ: Exactly. In some people it brings out very strong emotional feelings. They start crying for example or get reminded of something which has happened in their past and changed their lives or it just makes them very happy and comfortable.
IRMA. Don’t you get cold in the water?
DENIZ: No, because the temperature is 35 degrees Celsius and your entire body is covered by the warm water. Just your eyes and nose are out of the water.
IRMA: How did you decide to work as a watsu therapist?
DENIZ: It is funny but my name means water lover in Turkish. And people always thought I changed my name, which I did not. But I have truly loved the water from the beginning.
IRMA: What is the gain after a treatment?
DENIZ: Watsu transforms your emotions and your spirit. Nowadays we tempt to ignore ourselves, our bodies and we do not realize changes so much. In the water all of a sudden we are very close to ourselves. We hear our breath and we feel the water on our skin. We concentrate on our mind as our bodies are completely weightless.
MY TREATMENT IS ABOUT TO BEGIN: NOW, I AM VERY CURIOUS TO GO INTO THE WARM WATER WITH DENIZ. I FOLLOW HER INTO A BEAUTIFUL ROOM WIH A SMALL POOL SURROUNDED BY OPEN WINDOWS.
I TAKE A QUICK SHOWER BEVOR ENTERING THE WARM POOL AND ALREADY I FEEL LIKE BEING IN A DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERE. DENIZ PUTS SOME STABILIZERS ON MY LEGS SO THAT THEY WILL FLOAT ABOVE THE WATER SURFACE. I START TO FLOAT AND CLOSE MY EYES. AFTER A SHORT WHILE I AM IN A STATE OF COMPLETE RELAXATION, FEELING LIKE A BABY IN A MOTHER’S WOMB. DENIZ PUSHES ME, MOVES ME PULLS ME VERY SOFTLY THROUGH THE WATER. I LOOSE MY ORIENTATION, THE FEELING OF SPACE. I JUST FEEL MY EXTREMLY LIGHT BODY AND THE WATER. I AM VERY HAPPY.
After the treatment.
IRMA: Fantastic! I feel like a light piece of linen, even when I walk I have the feeling not to touch the floor. This is really an amazing experience.
DENIZ: You will feel as if you had slept for 10 hours, totally relaxed.
IRMA: I can see that.
Do you have any holistic suggestion of a special herb or something which I can take home with me from Turkey?
DENIZ: Yes I have two wonderful products which are herbal, plant medicine and very effective.
One is called Rrifalla, you get it in capsules and if you take it at night it helps the body to detox during your sleep and aids digestion.
The other one is Hayat tohumu, which is a seed. You will make three cups of tea with each time one teaspoon of the seeds during the day. It will balance your entire hormonal system which is especially important for women.
IRMA: And where can I get this?
DENIZ: In any herbal shop in Turkey.
IRMA: Thank you, Deniz, for making me more aware of my body and taking good care of myself.
BARBAROS BAY: If you are lucky you will arrive at the Kempinski Hotel located at Barbaros Bay in Bodrum by boat. Sail your way through the deep blue sea, deserted coast line and beautiful landscape and all of a sudden you notice a typical luxury reseort's architecture which has found its way to the coast five years ago.
First of all I came here to relax a few days under the sun in tranquility, maybe a yoga session in the morning, a delicious lunch right at the beach and a hamman in the late afternoon. It's a perfect getaway for a little while. You can hop over from Istanbul and visit the city before or fly to Cos and take a ferry boat or, as I did, hire a Gulet (Turkish wooden boat) and sail over with some friends from Cos.
Read my tips for a perfect stay at the Hotel Kempinski Barbaros Bay.
My favorite place at the hotel?
The pier at the sea for a morning yoga session, Barbaros Bay Restaurant for lunch and the grey marbled hamman.
My favorite hour spent there?
Watching the sun go down on the hotel's private sundowner boat, where they serve you icy, chilled champagne and freshly cut fruit.
You should not miss to go for late drinks to the Saigon Bar, but sit inside right at the bar, even if the stars are bright outside.
Where did I have my breakfast?
For more privacy on the Awakening Cruise, where you can have breakfast on our Picnic Boat. I had freshly baked croissants and some Turkish honey with fresh yoghurt.
What was my best beauty treatment:
I enjoyed the Aegean-style Hammam treatment with sea salt scrub and olive oil massage – you can only get the original in Turkey.
What to bring home for your friends:
Visit the hotel boutique where you will find some kaftans, beautiful towels, some typical Turkish toiletries and soaps.
First thing I did upon arrival:
I enjoyed the shisha after dinner and my favorite flavour is mint. You can choose between apple, melon, banana, cappuccino, chocolate, pear and peach.
How you look good and feel fine:
I mostly wore loose kaftans, bikinis and flat shoes during the day, keep it simple but chic. At night I kept my sandals low and my dress short or long. Wear materials like fine linen and silk, they make you feel perfectly cool during the hot days.
Sit on the beach right next to the sea at the Silent Beach (no children and cell phones allowed) and keep on reading or day-dreaming for hours.
MORE TIPS FOR OUTSIDE THE HOTEL
- visit the daily bazaars in Bodrum (on Tuesday), in Türkbükü (on Monday) and in ¥alikavak (on Thursday)
- Book a table at Kocadon restaurant and enjoy the best food I had near the harbour
- Enjoy Turkish luxury managed by Jade Jagger at the newly opened restaurant Secret Garden which is part of the Halikarnas Club in Bodrum. Good party atmosphere after dinner.
- Get a pair of custom-made sandals from Wanda Sandals on Mosque Street, Gültürkbükü
- Buy some saffron to take home with you, for example at Safran Bodrum Yeni Carsi street no 15, baskin[at]efes.net.tr
- Do not buy a fake, you will regret it once you are back home.
In a few days learn more about Turkish inner beauty and health secrets and meet Deniz from the Kempinski Spa.
NEW YORK: This summer I want my nails and lips in shiny, bright red. The more intense the better and I find this make-up duo at MAC Cosmetics stores worldwide. Put on your make-up and listen to Rihanna, who is the perfect testimonial for this collection.
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She lives and travels around
the world, stopping wherever
she sees something interesting,
reporting on what inspires her.
She finds beauty in the
most varied places,
from fashion shows
to art exhibits, from lonely
beaches to bustling cities.
When in Munich my
favorite store to look
for the best selection
of clothes is THERESA.
The staff is competent
and always has the
best ideas for styling
and mixing different