PureGray at Le Gray: The Ultimate Pampering Experience

As someone who sits behind a screen nearly 10 hours a day, five days a week, I’m a magnet for back pain, neck stiffness and poor posture. (White-collar employment is so overrated!)

So along with my new year's vow to deepen the pursuit of healthful eating, I’m taking action on total body care. Interior cleansing, exterior sloughing, if you will. The body is a temple, after all, and wellness is key.

Nothing beats a fabulous massage, complete with subtle aromas, warm oil, and dim lighting. Apart from the physical manipulation of the body, I want the pampering that comes with the holistic experience. I'm worth it, right?!

Readers of this blog no doubt understand my fascination and endless love affair with Le Gray – no, not Christian Grey from Fifty Shades – but Campbell’s Le Gray in the heart of downtown Beirut. I’ve waxed poetic numerously (123456about the luxury hotel’s culinary glory, modern feel, and welcoming vibes. Surely, their spa facilities would prove equally praiseworthy.



Le Gray's luxurious PureGray Health Club & Spa*


I decided to find out and booked a Couple’s Retreat on an ordinary Monday evening after work. We arrived to the hotel lobby and descended to the PureGray Health Club & Spa, boasting everything from facials and lymph drainage to volcanic hot stone massages and acupuncture.

After filling out a practical health questionnaire, we were led to our respective locker rooms and instructed to strip down to the bone, donning only the provided bathrobe and disposable underwear.



At Le Gray, the devil is in the details, like these L-shaped lockers



We then made our way to a dim lounge housing three cushioned chaise-longues and a table bearing Granny Smith apples, Sohat water bottles, and a spread of magazines.



Rest lounge for pre- and post-treatment*



There, Ataa and Liliane led us to our chamber, the incarnation of the ideal massage room – violet-tinted panel lighting, gentle classical music, and minimalist décor. We were asked if the choice of music was agreeable before being left to disrobe and tuck beneath the sheeted massage tables.

When the masseuses returned, they inquired whether we preferred soft, moderate, or firm pressure, in order to avoid any squirming or grimacing. Though both ladies appeared deceptively petite, their dexterous hands pointed to biceps of steel as they worked our muscles with slow, firm and long strokes.



The sanctuary -- immaculate and minimalist



Starting with the back, slathering warmed lime-infused oil across the skin, the ladies made steady progress along the arms, into the shoulders, up the neck, back down to the feet, then up into the calves and thighs. I love how Liliane fixated on my shoulders for some time, discerning readily how knotted the muscles in that area were. Shoulders are where we carry most of our tension, and I’m guilty of curling over a computer screen all day long and toting an oversize bag, which throws off my alignment. 

We were instructed to turn over for further massaging of the feet and legs. The cherry on top was a final head stroke, therapeutic beyond words. There’s something so calming and curative about a stranger running their hands through your hair – as when an apprentice washes your hair at the salon, or when a grade school classmate braids your mane tenderly. The rush, the release that swells your core and induces goosebumps, thrusts you into a heightened state of consciousness.

After the masseuses had finished, we were invited to return to the lounge, where a decadent dark chocolate fondue awaited us, accompanied by fresh fruit, marshmallows, and shortbread biscuits, and flanked by two flutes of champagne. Paradise encore!



Post-massage treat: dark chocolate fondue and champagne



Back in the locker room, I pondered over whether to shower before dressing, but the lotions hadn’t left a sticky film on my skin, and their fragrance was comforting. So I slowly pulled on my clothes, trying to perpetuate the experience as long as possible. I didn’t want the euphoric trance to end.



All smiles after an incredible pampering session



It was with great effort that I finally threw in the towel (pun intended) and headed out.

I’m definitely doing this more often. V-Day, you say? It couldn't come any sooner!




Couple’s Retreat
60 minutes at $260; 90 minutes at $330

During February, the “Perfect Date” features a couple’s candle-lit massage, followed by a heart cake with a glass of champagne for each; 60 minutes - $270.

*Select photos were pulled from the Le Gray Gallery.

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