SENSASIA Stories at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates will open this October

As the UAE’s largest and much-loved spa group, SENSASIA expanded its portfolio with THE SPA PEOPLE in 2020, as a direct response to a demand for guidance in the Middle East wellness industry. Comprising the expertise of SENSASIA founder Salina Handa and her cherry-picked and long-term consultancy team, THE SPA PEOPLE offers everything from troubleshooting to existing operators, through to a full turnkey spa solution to hotels and lifestyle outlets.

And an exciting example of what THE SPA PEOPLE can do is about to be unveiled.

Set to open its doors in October 2020, SENSASIA Stories is a completely unprecedented flagship destination spa, committed to total body wellness and located at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates. The project was conceptualised by THE SPA PEOPLE, to offer a level of spa sophistication which really must be seen, and felt, to be believed.

The result of an extensive refurbishment within this prestigious five-star hotel, the 4,000 sq/ft spa is a monastic, deeply tranquil space, intensively curated to take clients on a truly unique journey through the senses of Asia: carving their own SENSASIA Story. Combining authentic Asian architecture; exclusively natural materials; a muted colour palette and textured tone-on-tone, SENSASIA Stories was born from a brief created by SENSASIA founder Salina Handa, then custom-designed by creative director Pallavi Dean and her Dubai-born interiors brand, Roar.

“The design process for SENSASIA Stories was like an exercise in restraint for me,” explains Pallavi, who has been a self-confessed “SENSASIA spa junkie” for more than 10 years. “We have not overpowered the senses: this is a place of quiet, respite and reflection. The interior palette – dark and light hues of grey, complemented by a warm wood finish and strong stone slabs – allows you to just ‘be’.”


Developed around a central courtyard, punctuated by contemporary interpretations of traditional Asian arch structures, SENSASIA Stories comprises six unisex treatment rooms, one couples’ suite offering total privacy, separate male and female changing rooms and therapeutic relaxation areas, complete with heated beds.

Bespoke facilities include experience showers, an ice fountain, herb saunas, steam rooms, a Jacuzzi and virtual reality headsets, which can be incorporated into treatments to offer complete, customised escapism and guided meditations, transporting clients to the world’s most beautiful destinations – from the idyllic beaches of the Seychelles or the sweeping mountains of New Zealand.

The creative process continues into SENSASIA Stories treatments. As well as offering the award-winning massages, facials and body treatments that long-standing SENSASIA clients have been flocking to the 16-year-old spa chain’s locations to enjoy time after time – such as the targeted, deep tissue ‘Knead-IT’ and The Ultimate Recovery massages; Warm Milk & Honey body wrap and The Essential Spa Ritual, combining a prescribed, personalised facial with a full body massage – SENSASIA Stories guests can also carve out their spa own experience from the very beginning, with the option to book time as opposed to treatments, and allowing the expert team of therapists to script a tailored, transformative journey, just for them.


“I want clients to arrive knowing simply how they feel, and how they want to feel,” explains SENSASIA founder and creative director of THE SPA PEOPLE, Salina Handa. “The core principles of SENSASIA are based on my own desire for detail, which the experienced spa-goer will immediately appreciate, and the importance of taking both body and mind to another place entirely. At SENSASIA Stories, we are giving clients the option to select every element of their treatment – from stroke, to scent, to intensity – as well as offering a whole host of enhancements. We excel in the creation and adaptation of our spa journeys to enhance total body wellness, so much so that our clients integrate them into their lives in the same way they would exercise and nutrition.”

“We will of course offer the treatments our clients know and love, but I am very excited about the individual ‘Stories’ that are about to unfold at this unprecedented SENSASIA concept.”



THE SPA PEOPLE was officially launched in 2020, although the concept was born from more than a decade of enquiries presented to Salina and her SENSASIA team from fellow businesses in the beauty, wellness and wellbeing sectors, seeking advice in all areas of operation – including team structure, curating a unique client journey, and marketing it with impact.

In response to the quite clear demand to tap into the knowledge that comes with 16 years of success, staying power and constant reinvention, SENSASIA has now launched a consultancy to lead its own portfolio of properties, while offering everything from short-term guidance and troubleshooting to existing operators, through to a full turnkey spa solution to businesses looking to enter the spa market, backed by SENSASIA expertise.

THE SPA PEOPLE includes the launch team behind SENSASIA – who have been living and loving the brand with the passion, tenacity and experience of a proud parent since 2004. They are globally-trained and locally-honed masters in spa therapies, strategy, operations and standout marketing, who have survived, redefined and reigned supreme within the volatile Middle East spa market.

Prompted by the ripples of fear and concerns voiced by fellow service providers as a direct result of COVID-19, SENSASIA launched THE SPA PEOPLE at a hugely critical but pivotal time for the wellness sector – in the MIddle East and worldwide.


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