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An oasis of calm

The new Arammish retains its signature serenity in a busy, bustling Lahore

An oasis of calm

When Lahore’s favourite spa, Arammish, moved to a new address, we were eager to book ourselves in for a treatment as early as possible. At its previous home set amidst a tree-lined residential area in a picturesque part of Cantt, Arammish may have been small, but what it lacked in space it more than made up for in the quality of its top-notch spa and salon treatments. The purpose-build new facility in Gulberg would surely be even better, we thought.

We’re happy to report that we were right in that assumption. A couple of trips to the new branch later, we can safely say that Arammish retains its signature serene and unhurried atmosphere that it makes it the perfect escape when you’re craving some me-time. And the fact that it is quite the place to see and be seen, what with Lahore’s crème de la crème among the clientele, only adds to its pull.

Let us start off with a bit of a warning – if you’re expecting a sprawling facility with expansive rooms, you’ll be disappointed. The new spa is still small, but designed in a way that it looks open and inviting instead of claustrophobic. Elements such as the monochrome interior, the mystical ‘flower of life’ logo, the spiritual verses that decorate the walls and the ample use of greenery gel together to give off an aura of well-being that draws one in.

Amna-Hamayun-Sheikh

Amna Sheikh, owner of the cosy Arammish Salon, created this calming haven in the middle of frenzied Lahore in the spirit of giving back to the community.

There is an extensive spa menu to choose your treatments from – and the endless list of options might just leave the uninitiated a little intimidated! Don’t be afraid to ask the helpful receptionist to guide you if you can’t decide whether you should opt for an aromatherapy or ayurvedic treatment or if your level of stress calls for sandalwood or eucalyptus oil to be used in the treatment.

Start off your spa journey by spending some time in the Relaxation Lounge where, with the aid of a meditation CD and a soothing cup of herbal tea, you can relax and rid your mind of all the nagging thoughts that tend to come up when you’re smack in the middle of a gloriously relaxing massage. This is the time to go over your checklist of anxieties (Did you lock the car door? Did that last email you sent before you headed out for work really go? Are you a bad mother for leaving your screaming child at home to enjoy an hour to yourself?) and rid your mind of all unwanted  thoughts before you enter the spa area.

Once inside, allow yourself the luxury of not thinking and luxuriating in the treatment you’ve chosen – whether it’s an hour-long body massage, a decadent milk and rose bath or an exotic hammam ritual, or all of the above. You won’t be breaking the bank even if you opt for a full spa day, for at Arammish the prices are shockingly reasonable given the quality of the product. Amna Sheikh, the brains behind the enterprise, says that she is determined to work in harmony with all budgets and hence the question of raising her rates at the new branch never arose.

“I believe in giving back, whether it’s to the community or to the environment,” asserts Amna. It’s for this very reason that her spa is one of the very few environmentally responsible commercial enterprises in the country, powered mainly by solar energy.

And if that’s not enough eco-friendliness for you, there’s the Arammish Kitchen with its array of organic, home-made delights. Cozy and intimate, with a long wooden table in the center for a cafeteria-like feel (albeit a very swanky one), the kitchen serves up a reasonably extensive menu consisting of items such as the crispy chicken rolls, spaghetti Napolitan and 3-cheese quiche. For the health freaks amongst you, there are specialist drinks such as wheatgrass juice, which is known for its detoxifying properties. There are plans to put up fresh herbs and seasonal organic vegetables from the in-house garden up for sale very soon.

The new Arammish boasts a much bigger salon area, with a separate nail spa, a make-up studio and a hair studio. The manicure and pedicure stations are individually partitioned and this privacy is a welcome change from the openness of the old branch where the proximity of the chairs meant that one overheard everything and anything being said around them. While it meant that you could be treated to some morsels of juicy gossip unintentionally, it also went towards dampening the tranquility of the entire spa experience.

A heavenly abode, as John Keats would say. Take your pick of destressing solutions at the salon and spa facilities at Arammish, from its famed luxurious massages to home-made meals at its swanky new kicthen.

A heavenly abode, as John Keats would say. Take your pick of destressing solutions at the salon and spa facilities at Arammish, from its famed luxurious massages to home-made meals at its swanky new kicthen.

This time around Amna, who happens to be a trained make-up artist, is determined to focus on her make-up services. Arammish offers personalized bridal packages, tailor-made to suit a client’s individual physical and mental requirements and Amna’s bridal make-up aims to strike a balance between harmony and beauty. “An Arammish bride will never be lost behind the make-up, her personality will always be visible,” stresses Amna. “I think good bridal make-up means a balance of natural beauty and the right products.”

Arammish offers something for everyone – whether you’re a health food junkie, a born-again Sufi or just a girl looking to indulge herself with some pampering. Men needn’t feel left out either, for the spa also offers a gentleman’s grooming area. Book yourself an appointment now and we guarantee once you’ve availed yourself of its various charms, you’ll have to force yourself away from this sanctuary.

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