Gym Owner Monthly

A new all-women’s club in the UAE taps into good vibrations to reveal a new you

In some ways, a visit to Kintsugi Space, a new women’s-only wellness club in Abu Dhabi, is like being on a first date. Except, there’s no one else to deep-dive with, apart from yourself.
Kintsugi is “neither a spa nor a clinic,” says Patrizia Bortolin, one of the heavyweight names behind the opening. The award-winning spa doyenne has overseen a wealth of top-end wellness hubs around the world, such as the revered Preidlof in South Tyrol. Tasked with coming up with a concept for the new opening, she tapped into the science of the moment: quantum physics.
All therapies offered at Kintsugi are based on the idea that minute particles inside us are in constant movement and have both wave and energy properties. In short, when these are ‘dialled up’, and in equilibrium, the body can heal itself. Each person’s programme of treatments, therefore, is based on an initial quantum consultation, within which your ‘inner vibrations’ are measured from your head, hand and voice.
“It may sound like something brand new,” says Patrizia. “But delve back into ancient wellness practices, and this is how healers of old would work — by listening to the cadences of your voice, by touch, by ‘reading’ someone. The difference is, these days, we have technology to help us.”
The raising of said vibrations starts with Kathy Nellika’s quantum energy machine, followed by the practice of Su Jok, which involves Kathy rubbing a small metal instrument over my fingers. Any painful spots are related to areas in the body that might need help. The side of my thumb was tender and related to gut health, for example, while another patch that felt aggravated was connected to the skin. After this, the findings are used to build a personalised programme of nourishing treatments to help with whatever your body needs.
Spread over seven floors, the Kintsugi townhouse is found in Al Reem Island, a smart residential area in the capital city. You see it from afar, painted a dusty pink like a faded tea rose in a sea of grey high-rises. Inside, is a series of immaculate rooms that marry a Japanese simplicity with Italian panache. There’s low-slung, curvy furniture designed in Italy, local Middle Eastern art, organic-shaped tables and handcrafted rugs.
Enter through the oversized dark wood doors, and look up to see a sprawling, amber light installation, which changes colour depending on how high the sun is. There are zen gardens: one with a pool and an onsen tub; and another, a tiny rooftop space, with boucle armchairs and a lush, living wall. The echo of children laughing in a nearby playground curls up in the still air to form a wholesome soundtrack.
Aside from the quantum science element, Kintsugi has cherry-picked the best holistic practices from around the world, so my programme is packed with deeply nurturing treatments. During a Greek Hammam, I am soaped and scrubbed like a baby; I have an Indian head massage that sends me to sleep and a Tibetan sound healing that seems to soothe my soul. The Chinese abdominal massage — known as Chi Ne Tsang — which takes place in a darkened room, turns out to be incredibly relaxing (despite me wanting to cancel it — who likes having their stomach rubbed?).
From the hyperbaric oxygen chamber to the old-school hair salon, every aspect of women’s health is covered. There’s a library of self-help books that you can dip into, quartz and infra-red beds to have treatments on, candle meditation to zone out to, as well as sauna and steam rooms to linger in.
In between treatments, the vegan restaurant serves up petite-sized salads, soups and pastas; and there’s an endless array of healthy snacks that appear throughout the day.
In addition to membership options, Kintsugi offers a six-day retreat offering, and an international membership for four days a year. “No matter how long you are here, our method is all about finding a new, higher frequency where life feels more joyful and nourishing,” says Patrizia.
Helping visitors get to that place, and worth the seven-hour flight alone, is the fact that celebrity facialist, Anastasia Achilleos, has relocated from London to work at Kintsugi. Quietly spoken, a session with her is like one with a therapist. She works with relish on releasing the tension in the connective tissues and on loosening the jaw, “where many of us hold our pain”, incorporating cranial sacral release. Kneading and sculpting, she massages your face, head and body, intuitively knowing what your body needs from her touch. When you leave her, it’s like you are walking on air.
“What I do is not just about facials,” she says. “We all store memories and trauma deep inside of us, in our organs and our connective tissues – whether it is grief or sadness, fear or loss. Through breathwork, touch and manipulation of the body, and particularly the fascia, it is possible to tap into our inner vibrations and lighten and loosen this deep-seated tension.”
Kintsugi is named after the Japanese art of repairing broken ceramics with gold paint, and there is a lot of talk about healing during your time there. “You have a tight jaw, stiff ankles, and rigid hips,” Anastasia tells me. “These are all signs of a woman who has been soldiering on for many years. Find you,” she says. “Let that person go.” It resonates within. I might just do that.
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A three-month membership to Kintsugi is £3,110, and includes several treatments, classes and full access; the comprehensive four-day retreat is £6,500.

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