“A second on the lips, a lifetime on the hips,” is the old saying when it comes to having a naughty nibble. But for the chocolate slimming wrap at Melia Dubai, it was more like an hour on the hips and then feel the drips.

The 90-minute treatment started with an exfoliating Peruvian chocolate scrub for the whole body, which removed dead skin and opened the pores. We were then smothered in so much melted chocolate that we felt like that fat German kid who falls in the chocolate river in Willy Wonka’s factory.

Our transformation into a human chocolate bar continued with we being wrapped in a thick cling film and cocooned in a heated blanket for half an hour. Let the sweating and slimming begin.

After being unwrapped – but not eaten, thank goodness – we showered off and prepared for phase two: the traditional full-body massage. But rather than the usual essential oils, chocolate syrup was used for lubrication.

A chocolate wrap designed to make you slimmer – it’s a good gimmick and supremely relaxing. Were we tempted to smuggle in a spoon to the treatment room? Of course. Did we make a beeline for the nearest convenience store for a Lion bar afterwards? Obviously. But did we feel better for the whole experience? Absolutely.

Fat fighters, chocolate is your friend. Well, the detoxifying and antioxidising parts of it are, at least.

YHI Spa, Melia Dubai Hotel, Kuwait Street, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm, Dhs500. Tel: (04) 3767475. Taxi: Melia Dubai Hotel.

by Rob Chilton

If you want to feel like a golf course and have golf balls running up and down your body, try the Quirogolf massage at the Ritz-Carlton Dubai. But be warned: this is not a relaxing round with your mates. This is 72 holes of intense tournament play, going up against Tiger Woods in a bad mood.

A therapist took two golf balls, coated them in oil and then rubbed, dragged and rolled them into every inch of every muscle. Golf balls are, as you know, rock hard and therefore went so deep they felt like they were inside our body. Knots and kinks ran for the hills as the balls approached. Calves crumpled, thighs screamed and shoulder blades recoiled as they probed every nook and cranny. At one point we were concerned that the therapist might lose a ball in the rough, but he skillfully managed to keep it on the fairways. The nicest part was when the balls were rubbed on the soles of the feet and the hands.

Towards the end of the massage, shortly after our third gasp of pain, the therapist pushed both balls simultaneously into the muscles between the collarbone and the neck and we had to yelp “stop”. The therapist explained: “You have a lot of toxins there.” No kidding. We winced in anticipation of the next attack, but the therapist retreated and returned the balls to their dish, their work now complete.

If you enjoy a gentle massage, don’t go near this treatment, designed for sporty guys, especially golfers. The next day we felt like we’d been beaten up and, as the toxins that had been released ran riot, we got headaches and felt dehydrated. But two days after the massage, our muscles felt more supple.

Next time we’re watching golf on TV, we’re going to enjoy seeing Tiger and his mates whack their way round the course – those evil little white balls deserve everything they get.

The Ritz-Carlton Spa, JBR, Dubai, daily 6am to 10pm, Dhs480. Tel: (04) 3186150. Taxi: Ritz-Carlton, JBR.

Men's Spa

By William Everett

What pandas would consider a waste of perfectly good food, SensAsia Spa believes will give you a new lease of life. And they are certainly on to something. The bamboo massage does not mean submitting yourself to a damn good thrashing with sticks – though we’re sure there are people out there willing to do this if that’s your thing. In fact, this ancient treatment entails rolling heated bamboo sticks over knots of muscle, easing tension and improving lymphatic flow. We weren’t aware we even had lymphs, let alone that they needed help flowing. But flow they must, to aid circulation.

The treatment began with a lovely warm peppermint footbath, followed by the more familiar deep tissue massage without tools. When the muscles were nicely warm and supple, out came the bamboo, first in the form of small rods that would make a fine job of playing the xylophone. Little plastic cups on the end of the ‘beaters’ pressed on the muscle, going deeper than a thumb would.

Next came the bigger sticks, which the therapist rolled over trouble spots as a chef might roll pizza dough. The crunching under the skin was an odd feeling, but as our therapist cheerily assured us: “No pain, no gain.” The kneading sensation was ultimately satisfying, and we would recommend this massage to sporty types or anyone who isn’t averse to a bit of a pounding. We say embrace the power of the bamboo, even if you are denying a panda his lunch.

SensAsia, Emirates Golf Club, Sheikh Zayed Road, Dubai, daily 10am to 10pm, Dhs495. Tel: (04) 4179820. Taxi: Emirates Golf Club.