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The grooming guide for her and him

A spa experience at any hour of the day or a haircut at an iconic city store, we check out two new pampering properties in the city

Spa by JW

Spa by JW

Housed in JW Marriott Mumbai Sahar, which opened this summer, is Spa by JW. This is the company's new spa concept, with its first outlet in Houston, US and this being their first outlet in the Asia-Pacific region.

The location is perfect for people on-the-go, as it is located opposite the T2 terminal. The property is expansive, with separate sauna, steam and shower rooms, and massaging jet pools for men and women, individual treatment rooms (with and without a shower cubicle option and one for ayurvedic rituals) and a couple treatment room. An appointment for the spa session includes the complementary use of the steam, sauna or the massaging jet pool (a bathing suit is
compulsory for use).

The spa includes a retail section where one can buy products used in their therapies, and energy bars as well
The spa includes a retail section where one can buy products used in their therapies, and energy bars as well

Like a restaurant menu, the spa menu is divided into different sections: Calm, Indulge, Invigorate, Renew and Essentials (manicure, pedicure treatments). So if you have had a long travel or an exhausting day at work, you can pick a treatment from the calm section, which has specially-designed therapies to relax and revive your muscles. They also offer facials and body polishing treatments in each of the sections. Interesting features at the spa include the Express treatments that use a custom-made chair for sessions that use no oil.

The Express treatment is a no oil massage
The Express treatment is a no oil massage

The Express treatment
The Express chair treatments are divided into 12, 25 or 40-minute sessions and they are time-saving as one doesn't have to change into a bathrobe. After breathing in a dab of aromatic oil on a tissue, one has to sit with their face down on the chair, where the masseuse works on your back or neck while a 'calming' video comprising generic spa music and desktop wallpaper-style topography photographs are played on a tablet. The aim of this is indulging all your senses (oil for smell, the video for sight and ears), though we are sure many would prefer it without the video. Though 12 minutes might seem short, our masseuse's deft movements were sufficient to relax our shoulders and back in a short time. This option can work well, combined with a simple pedicure session for a quick all-over relaxing session.

On offer are individual rooms and couple treatment rooms.
On offer are individual rooms and couple treatment rooms. Pic/Nimesh Dave

Spa treatment
Since this was our first visit to the spa, we picked the Signature Spa by JW treatment from the Invigorate section. It's a
90-minute treatment, but we shortened it to an hour-long session. The treatment begins with a foot cleanse. Much to our delight, the bed was automatically heated and solved the problem of feeling chilly mid-way through a treatment.

The Signature treatment is a rigorous massage segment that also involves Thai massage stretching. Our sore muscles crackled under the slow movements of our masseuse Tashi's hands but after the first few minutes, the pain eased away. We could feel the muscles loosening. The therapy also includes a head massage with an aromatic oil (which we plan to buy from their store later). They also have a separate grooming room for one to do their make-up and moisturising, which would have to be done in washroom otherwise. Post the shower, you are treated to a refreshing herbed tea.

Overall experience
The service at the spa is excellent and not once will you feel rushed. Our attendent patiently waited for us while we finished our shower and had the tea ready at the right temperature when we had finished. Our favourite bit is it being open 24/7, so you can go in early morning before work, or even post a club-hop session.

Open: 24/7
At: Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport, IA Project Road, Andheri (E).
Call: 28538791
Cost: Rs 1,150 for Express chair massages, Rs 3,600 onwards for spa treatments

The Barber Shop

Have you ever walked into a barbershop and not had to utter a single instruction? You slide into a big fat chair; tell your attendant what you need, and he does it in clockwork precision. No comments, no complaints; just the snipping sound of scissors cutting into your hair, or the humming sound of a trimmer. That’s an ideal me-and-my barber relationship. This bond requires months to establish.

Akbarallys Men offers various options for high street shopping, as well as grooming solutions inside its retail store near Flora Fountain
Akbarallys Men offers various options for high street shopping, as well as grooming solutions inside its retail store near Flora Fountain

So, when I decided to step into the recently-opened barbershop at Akbarallys Men at Flora Fountain, my head was in a tizzy, with several what-ifs. There were other worries too, like how barbers always complain about the thin texture of my hair and receding hairline. “Sir, you’re getting bald...” a barber commented, once. I never returned.

Retail and therapy
But that’s not all. There was also the keenness to hear the reason behind starting a barbershop inside a retail store. Perhaps some one who’s open to new ideas and is willing to take the risk. Aiman Khorakiwala, who recently remodelled the iconic department store into a high street fashion retail outlet, informed us that she found the idea of a grooming centre in a retail outlet in Europe, and that it was too inspiring to be left out. She’s right. Adding a barbershop to a men’s store like Akbarallys Men adds to the charm.

The Barber Shop at Akbarallys Men not only offers haircuts but also facials and pedicures. PICs/Pradeep Dhivar
The Barber Shop at Akbarallys Men not only offers haircuts but also facials and pedicures. Pics/Pradeep Dhivar

The barbershop offers multitude of services, from regular shave, haircut and beard trims to lavish facials, massages, pedicures and manicures. I decided to keep it short with a haircut and a beard trim. The barbershop is managed by Ahmad, a hairdresser from Kanpur who has earlier worked with a beauty giant, who also took it upon himself to carry out the task of grooming a journalist who hadn’t shaved for nearly a month.

Unlike past experiences, there was no need to give Ahmad instructions except what was needed — a Precision Hair Cut (`350) and a beard trim (`200). If you are planning to head to work or a meeting after a haircut, a Shampoo and Conditioning Treatment (`250) is advised. Though he pointed out the receding hairline, he was also quick to suggest a cut that could hide it. And hide it did. The beard trim was followed by a facial scrub, which was rejuvenating.

Overall experience
The ambiance is quiet and relaxing sans any distractions. But most importantly, the entire process took not more than 15 minutes — quick and done with precision. Something I would look forward to the next time I am in this part of town.

Note: Several of the services offered at The Barber Shop at Akbarallys Men are available
for men as well as women. The store also runs several offers (under grooming services) for its customers, which are worth checking out.

On: All days 11 am to 9 pm
At: Akbarallys Men, 45 Veer Nariman Road, near Flora Fountain, Fort.
Call: 22043921, 9820502111
Cost: Rs 350 for a haircut, Rs 200 for a beard trim

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