WHAT WE’RE TALKING ABOUT: DR. RITA RAKUS & WILLOW STREAM SPA
A few weeks back, I was invited to attend Media Morning at Fairmont The Palm for the launch of their spa partnership with award-winning aesthetician Dr. Rita Rakus. Willow Stream Spa was recently named ‘Resort Spa of the Year: Middle East & Africa’ at the 2016 World Spa & Wellness Awards in London and is now offering a series of exclusive non-invasive therapies that’ll leave your skin glowing and feeling taut and healthy!
Also in attendance were two other doctors who presented the various treatments now being offered at the spa. Dr. Galyna Selezneva is an aesthetic medical doctor who works with Dr. Rakus at her London clinic and Dr. Phillip Levy(represented by his son Dr. Julien Levy) is a leader in aesthetic dermatology who is in partnership with Dr. Rakus. They held demonstrations in the different rooms at the spa so that we could take photos and poke and prod (in the most respectful way, of course!).
Now, if you’re not already familiar with Dr. Rakus, she’s the skin doctor to the stars, also known as the ‘London Lip Queen’. She’s spent the last 25+ years working from her beautiful Knightsbridge clinic in London where she provides rejuvenation and anti-ageing aesthetic treatments to everyone from Amanda Holden and Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge CBE to people like us who are adamant about staving off skin troubles. After all, rather take preventative measures now than try to fix the issues once they’re set in stone.
I was super excited to find out more about the exclusive treatments and meet the famous Dr. Rakus. That morning, I arrived at the spa to find it packed with gorgeous nibbles, fresh juices to kick start the day, and an abundance of media wanting to know what exactly Dermal Stem Cells were (Pra included)! (More on that below.)
Before I continue any further, though, I have to hand out a sincere apology to the Fairmont for not stepping foot into the hotel or spa before then. It was a fatal error on my part and you can consider me utterly Fairmonted now! It’s a wonderful space and the treatment list is one that will leave even the most dedicated spa addict overwhelmed!
The morning began with an introduction from Andrew Gibson (VP Spa and Wellness at Fairmont Raffles Hotels and Resorts) who reminded us that the Fairmont Hotel was one of the first on Sheikh Zayed Road back when Dubai was mostly desert and Willow Stream Spa was the first internal branded spa. Quite the pioneering effort, right?
There’s a depth and understanding to this spa. In fact, calling it a spa doesn’t really do it justice. It’s a well-rounded health and wellness sanctuary that nourishes the mind, body, and soul and is rooted in the energy of its surroundings, embracing earth, wind, fire, and water.
Willow Stream Spa is based on four pillars: Beauty & Aesthetics, Movement & Fitness, Meditation & Mind, and Destination Experiences. The entire concept of the spa meshes together perfectly with the hotel brand which is likely due in no small part to the general manager, Mark Sawkins. I’ve found that hotels often seem to struggle with seamlessly aligning the two but the commercial ones KNOW that there shouldn’t be a disconnect between a hotel and the wellbeing or spa area.
Movement & Fitness (launching soon):
- Features include interactive floors and walls and aqua spinning bikes!
Meditation & Mind
- Events such as their recent full moon yoga session (which had 120 people in attendance) are wildly popular.
- They also work with the wellbeing group State of One, which focuses on relieving stress.
- Everything, from food to wellness, is wrapped up into one happy bundle that can be enjoyed right in Dubai!
Now onto what we really came here for…Dr. Rakus and her exclusive treatments at Willow Stream Spa!
This is one charming lady who is knowledgeable and witty with a healthy burst of curiosity and excitement (which explains why she heads to Hollywood to keep abreast of what’s going on). She’s also a member of the Buck Advisory Council at The Buck Institute for Research on Aging, where the focus is on health span, not life span. What we’re seeing in Dubai right now is just a snippet of what’s still to come from her.
The plans are to have Dr. Rakus in Dubai on a quarterly basis but be warned—if you want one-on-one time with her then you’ll need to book far in advance. Her private bookings for November have already been snagged up!
There’s a reason why she’s so sought after from clients around the world. Her equipment is like the Ferrari of skincare and her treatments truly work. In fact, Dr. Galyna used to be a patient of Rita’s before converting into an ambassador and team member! And I don’t blame her. I am in love with Dr. Rakus and just want to work through her treatments like a child in a sweetie shop!
Dr. Galyna used to be a psychiatrist before becoming a specialist in non-invasive aesthetic procedures. Her work revolves around the concept that if you look good, you feel good. During the presentation, she just oozed enthusiasm as she spoke about the HydraFacials, including the exclusive Black Diamond one being offered at Willow Stream. She also touched on lymphatic drainage, explaining that the use of special pads can get rid of up to 1 kg of water! It’s ideal for after a plane ride or when you’re feeling very hot.
Finally, she gently reminded us that our hands are our face…you need to look after them because they’re dead giveaways of age and lifestyle. I’m certainly going to start paying more attention to my hands so roll out that factor 50 and protect your assets!
Dr. Levy holds a practice in Switzerland and is a pioneer in non-invasive aesthetic dermatology (are you seeing the pattern here in the caliber of these doctors??). He’s known for inventing the world-renowned Nefertiti Botox Lift which re-contours and sharpens the jawline without any surgery.
He was also the first one to introduce Botox to Switzerland almost 20 years ago and also led the way in resurfacing treatments and stem cell research. The dermal stem cells are in the dermis and are the key to unlocking the secret to stopping and reversing ageing. This is barely scratching the surface—Dr. Levy is practically the king of stem cells and we’re determined to find out more from him in a separate interview!
When they first met, Dr. Rakus took to the brand instantly, realising the significance of the breakthrough stem cell technology, and thus began a long professional relationship and friendship!
The treatments on offer at Willow Stream Spa are no ordinary treatments; they are fabulously in-depth that are far from simply relaxing for an hour or so. These are the kinds of treatments that actually make a difference as opposed to being quick fixes. I’m over pretty facials but also not a fan of sitting in sterile skin clinics so the treatments introduced to us were my perfect combo.
Dr. Rakus cheekily gave the treatments nicknames like the Coco Chanel Arm Treatment and the Hervé Léger Tummy Tightening Treatment. If you’ve put on a Chanel jacket before, you’ll have noticed that the arms are naturally quite tight so the treatment is like zapping those bingo arms. And the iconic Hervé Léger bandage dresses likely need no introduction!
Elixis Elite for Face and Body
- Works on body contouring and skin tightening.
- There’s no discomfort, which is practically unheard of, especially if you’ve tried Thermage or Ultherapy. (Trust me, I watched the model like a hawk and there was nary a flinch.)
Visia Skin Analysis
- Uses the VISIA® multi spectral complexion analysis system to give you a personalised skin analysis about your unique skin profile. (If you’ll allow me to gloat for just a sec—I had golden stars. An A student, clearly!)
- A multi-step treatment that cleanses, exfoliates, and extracts.
- The Black Diamond treatment was designed by Dr. Rakus and begins with lymphatic drainage, followed by cleansing and exfoliation.
- The Black Diamond Stem Cell HydraFacial was developed by Dr. Levy and Dr. Rakus and uses advanced stem cell boosters for collagen production.
Something to note is that any treatment involving not being able to go out in the sun afterward has been thoughtfully abolished…We are in Dubai, after all, and that would really limit us otherwise!
My bathroom is now chock full of Dr. Levy products to trial and I can already say that the décolletage cream is out of this world! I’ve also booked myself the Red Carpet Facial, a combination of the HydraFacial with the Exilis radio-frequency treatment. Let’s see if we can sort out my Chanel arms, mild jowls, and gobbler!
All in all, it was a wonderful experience and I am a convert of all things Fairmont and Dr. Rakus!
FAIRMONT THE PALM, DUBAI
Dubai, United Arab Emirates