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From luxury health resorts for families to an eco-friendly farm offering a down-to-earth experience, Qatar 365 discovers how wellness is gaining more significance and becoming big business in the Gulf country.
In the north of Qatar, 280,000 square metres are dedicated to a pioneering holistic health approach that combines traditional Arabic medicines, with therapeutic and lifestyle treatments. Zulal’s General Manager, Daniele Vastolo, says, “we want guests to connect with themselves or their families, you invest in your wellness now and you collect the fruits when you grow old.”
A stay begins with a visit to a consultation room, where a special programme is formulated for each guest. From yoga to hammams, to massage, or a relaxing moment in the Himalayan salt room, Zulal invites guests to experience wellness through treatments and activities. The resort also provides special packages for families and children, with the overall goal to give people the tools to change their lifestyle and truly practice wellness for the long term.
Jawaher Alfardan is a wellness entrepreneur responsible for some of Qatar’s most popular venues, from vegan cafes to yoga studios and an exercise club. At Niya Yoga, Alfardan offers yoga, movement, and meditation as well as numerous alternative therapies. Another endeavour is an indoor cycling space that she says is a complete cathartic experience. She explains how the pandemic has shifted our perception of wellness, “about eight years ago I was a psychologist, practising in more of a clinical setting. I was working with patients, and I found out that their lifestyle did not support a conscious way of living. What are people eating? How are they living? What are they doing on a day-to-day basis? And through that, you can really avoid a lot of the issues…it was a difficult time for most businesses, but I think it made us reevaluate and redefine what health meant for each of us, pre-pandemic there was no real understanding of the importance of slowing down.” Her final words of advice? Always listen to your body.
Heenat Salma – A Restful Farm
Heenat Salma is an organic, eco-conscious farm just outside Doha, in Al-Shahaniya, that encourages visitors to consider their overall approach to life – from what they consume, to how they exercise, meditate and create. Head of wellness, Noor-Virginie Haumont, explained the farm’s approach, “We want to offer the guests more serenity, calm practices, and access to a special journey. We offer traditional yoga classes, meditation or sound bath, anything related to trying to reconnect the body and mind together.”
Guests can also go back to basics by spending the night in tents or gathered around a campfire to forge friendships. For those wanting to focus on the physical, they can mould their muscle in an outdoor gym. In the farm’s massage tent, there are four aromatherapy oils, all created with organic ingredients grown locally, for the guests to feel a connection to their surroundings.
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Workshops are formulated to enhance mental focus with a significant impact on sensorial wellbeing, but the healing here also starts from within, “it’s not only about the physical and material-specific of this food but also how you consume it, you just enjoy the colours and also gives you pure joy on a mental level. It’s not only about food, it’s not only about the way you’re cooking but also relations of people you develop to make people happy here,” says Food and Beverage Director, Ivan Dubkov.
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‘This too shall pass away’ this famous Persian adage seems to be defeating us again and again in the case of COVID-19. Despite every effort