ESPA at Fairmont Baku, Fairmont Hotel, Flame Towers, Baku. www.fairmont.com/baku/spa/ Tel.: +994 12 565 48 46
In Germany there is a saying which, loosely translated, means something like ‘Fate punishes small sins immediately’, so I shouldn’t have been surprised when having rather arrogantly responded to an inefficient administrator with ‘I need this like I need a hole in the head’ a few weeks ago, I slipped and fell very awkwardly the very next day and, indeed, ended up with a hole in my head as well as severe facial bruising. The charming SOS Clinic GP recommended time to heal, haemorrhoid cream for my face (I ask you!!) and a lymphatic drainage facial as and when I felt up to it. The first two suggestions I could have well done without but the thought of a pampering luxurious facial -on doctor’s orders, no less!- brought a rather happy glint to my swollen black eye! Where better to go for this treatment than the award winning ESPA Spa at The Fairmont Hotel?!
For those who don’t know, The Fairmont Hotel takes up one of Baku’s three iconic Flame Towers. Step inside and leave all the worries of the world behind you, the staff are that well trained. They make you feel instantly welcome and give you the full VIP treatment. Up to the fifth floor to the ESPA reception and then on to the treatment and rest area on the sixth floor and you find yourself in a muted temple of serenity, overlooking all of Baku and the Caspian. Here, your shoes are exchanged for comfortable towelling slippers while you sip a refreshing cold orange blossom tisane with herbs. Lia, the Balinese facialist, gentle and unerringly polite, leads you to a peaceful changing area where you are left to change into a nifty disposable bikini and fluffy towelling robe. Showers, a steam room and a sauna await you, should you wish to use them. The treatment rooms are havens of tranquillity with low lighting and about the most comfortable treatment couch I have ever had the pleasure to be pampered on. Lia analysed my skin under a special light and recommended the Age Defying Special for tired and dehydrated skin and as a woman of ‘a certain age’ this seemed eminently sensible to me. An hour and a half later, having had my face exfoliated, steamed, massaged, masked, buffed, spritzed and moisturised, my scalp, neck and shoulders massaged and hydrated, all with the most divinely aromatic ESPA products which helped to send me into a state of deep relaxation, I was invited into the chill-out area and thoughtfully served peppermint tea accompanied by nuts and dried fruit. By this time my skin was dewy and pinging with vitality and I was floating on air!
Inevitably, the jolt back to earth came at the check-out point. At AZN 165, the Age Defying Special is the most expensive facial treatment on the menu, most of the other facials come in at an only slightly less eye watering AZN110, with a very welcome 30% discount for IWC (International Women’s Club) members. A credit card bender this may be but there’s no doubt that here you get a truly superior therapeutic treat . And that, whether blue in the face or not, is a good enough excuse for me!
Nur Lounge, Fairmont Hotel, Flame Towers, Baku. www.fairmont.com/baku/dining/nur-lounge/ Tel.: + 994 12 565 48 48
Anyone who reads what I write will be aware by now that I am a sucker for good service. In my opinion, you can eat and drink perfectly well and, of course, more cheaply, at home but the enjoyment of doing so elsewhere comes from being well looked after. Nowhere in Baku does so better than The Fairmont. Whenever I want some quality ‘me time’, some peace and quiet and a bit of discreet luxury, I pop into the light and airy Nur Lounge (Nur means Light) on the ground floor of the Fairmont Hotel. For the price of a cup of coffee (AZN6), which incidentally comes with not just one but two delicious biscuits, and always with a smile, I get to while away the time very pleasantly with my book or my laptop or just staring into space, finding my equilibrium. I am yet to sample their afternoon tea which, I am told, is pretty spectacular. An added bonus is that the guys and girls at Reception, just a few steps into the foyer, have a really helpful ‘can do’ attitude and are able answer pretty much any Baku question you might have. They also have the best Baku map! In the evenings, the Nur Lounge turns into a very civilised piano bar, perfect for a quick ‘sharpener’ before or a ‘post mortem’ after any event and, again, service is attentive and your drinks come with (far too good!) nibbles on the side. I have my reservations about hotel bars and restaurants, so often lacking in atmosphere, but the Nur Lounge, to me, is the perfect Zen zone.
Stop Press: As I write this an email pings in, advising me of a 50% discount on desserts at the Nur Lounge on Mondays. Is there no end to the spoiliness?!
All comments most welcome!