Glass visits The Spa at The Joule hotel, Dallas

GLASS arrived in Dallas amid tropical thunderstorms, possessing little knowledge of the vast metropolis other than a deep appreciation of the iconic ‘80s namesake television show that exposed the flashy lives of the oil company-owning tycoons, the Ewings. As I took a stroll downtown, it was apparent that the third largest city in Texas had evolved quite a bit, painting a different picture to the one from my childhood memories. Contemporary Dallas was more discreet: quietly alluring yet still parading the Southern charm I had been anticipating.

The Spa at The Joule Ice Fountain (Photo Credit Eric Laignel)The fountain of ice at The Spa at The Joule

The Main Street district, downtown’s central hub, is a fashionable affair pinned by the flagship building of lavish department store Neiman Marcus, which has occupied the spot since 1914. Just a few doors down resides a more recent addition – a dazzling boutique hotel called The Joule situated in a 1920s neo-Gothic landmark building. Other than housing celebrated restaurants, a superb coffee shop, and a couple of fancy lifestyle stores, the true jewel of The Joule’s crown is a 8,000-square-foot subterranean spa.

The Spa at The Joule Sauna (Photo Credit - Eric Laignel)The sauna at The Spa at The Joule

Offering bespoke facial and body treatments, The Spa also boasts unique experiential rooms, such as a crystal steam room (hot, wet, eucalyptus-smelling air), a futuristic-looking fountain of ice (to smooth over yourself post-sauna), and a vitality pool with built-in air massage loungers. Prior to my treatment, I was introduced to the relaxation room, where guests can lounge, sip tea, or even have a lie-down. Most exciting of all, perhaps, is the heated floor, which felt like a real treat.

My responsibility for the afternoon was to try The Spa’s Personalized Contour Body Treatment, which, as the name suggests, is completely tailored to each guest’s requirements. I enjoyed having a detailed chat with my therapist Cynthia, who explained what sorts of things the 110 minute session might include, and asked me about my bodily concerns. I relayed my interest in lymphatic drainage, as well as my near obsessive love of massage. Taking this in, Cynthia suggested that she focus on getting my circulation moving through a variety of methods.

The Spa at The Joule Treatment Room Photo Credit Eric LaignelA treatment room at The Spa at The Joule

First up was an application of Potion P50 Corps, by the revered French brand Biologique Recherche. The facial version of this exfoliating toner has a huge following, and the Spa uses the full range for most of its treatments. After smoothing on the lotion all over my arms and legs, Cynthia used Biologique Recherche’s special Massage Glove to exfoliate even further, using short, light brushstrokes, so that the lotion could fully penetrate my skin.

The Spa at The Joule - Pool (Photo Credit Eric Laignel)Relax by the pool at The Spa at The Joule

After the brushing was complete, an algae mask was applied all over, to invigorate skin tissue, and I was then wrapped up in what felt like a big plastic sheet, with an abundance of towels pressed on top. Talk about feeling cosy. While my skin was taking in the mask, Cynthia spent a good 20 minutes massaging my scalp. For a moment I couldn’t bear the fact that I would eventually be removed from this bandaged state.

After a brief wash in the adjacent shower, the Massage Glove reappeared. This time it was being used to rub in a firming cream (Crème Réparatrice) and I felt truly revitalized, as though my skin was being vigorously combed by the plastic bristles of a hairbrush.

The Spa at The Joule Steam Room (Photo Credit Eric Laignel) (104)The Spa at The Joule

Keeping my concerns in mind, Cynthia suggested that the next stage should focus on a strong lymphatic drainage massage across my stomach, which is where the enteric nervous system sits (containing more neurons than the spine). Her initiative was impressive, particularly as therapists usually ignore this critical area during full body massage, and I was grateful to be treated by someone who demonstrated a real understanding of massage in relation to anatomy. To end proceedings, Cynthia spent some time on deep tissue massage, including my feet and shoulders.

Having spent nearly two hours experiencing such bliss, it was utterly depressing when the lights were switched back on. To say that my time at The Joule’s Spa was the highlight of my weekend in Dallas would be an understatement. I would head back South just for this.

by Derby Jones

The Spa at The Joule, 1530 Main Street, Dallas, TX 75201
Tel: +1 214 261 4555

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