Need a spa break? Faye Rowe travels to Sharm El Sheikh to discover the beauty secrets of ancient Egyptians, embarking on some amazing adventures along the way
As beauty legends go, Cleopatra’s preference for skin-nourishing milk- and honey-baths is one of the most famous of all. While her stunning beauty has since been confined to the history books, many of her secrets have lived on.
At the Grand Rotana Resort & Spa in Sharm El Sheikh, one of the most popular signature treatments at Zen the spa at Rotana is the Queen Cleopatra Treatment – a milky whirlpool bath with crystal salts followed by a soothing honey massage.
Eager to discover whether the treatment could transform my tired complexion into a picture of radiance, I recruited a travel buddy, Catherine, and hopped on a plane to Sharm.
Having checked into our beautiful beach front room, perfectly located just a minute’s walk from the spa, Catherine and I immediately set about booking an appointment. We sip on a glass of calming hibiscus tea, as Spa Manager Marian Fernando brings us up-to-date with everything the spa has to offer and how many of the treatments have been influenced by ancient Egypt. “It’s widely known that Cleopatra is thought to have bathed in milk and honey every day,” said Marian. “Even then, she was somehow wise to the benefits, as this is still regarded as an effective skin treatment today. The lactic acid in milk dissolves dead skin cells and encourages cell rejuvenation, helping the skin feel softer and smoother. Honey has anti-inflammatory properties, so is good for soothing away redness.”
Local ingredients are also a key focus. For instance, Egyptian clay is used in the Purifying Facial to help draw out oiliness and rebalance the complexion while the Red Sea Salt Scrub is ideal for removing dry, flaking skin.
“In Egypt now, the beauty ideal is very much about having smooth, beautiful skin,” said Marian. “Many women are interested in the role that new technologies can play in their beauty regimes. At the same time, using fresh, natural ingredients such as yoghurt and honey to boost skin radiance is still very common. When people come here, they want to experience something authentic, which is why we pay so much attention to creating a great atmosphere to ensure that our guests fully enjoy the spa experience.”
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