Have you heard of a hammam treatment? This experience is definitely not for the faint of heart. Check your modesty at the door and prepare to emerge with the incredibly soft, smooth skin as well a feeling of revitalization.
A Brief History of Hamman
Hammam is actually a blend of Roman and Turkish bathing rituals involving being cleansed and exfoliated. For the Romans it was more of a social thing but for the Turks bathing was a ritual done before prayer.
Hammam was something I so wanted to experience when I visited Morocco, last year, but never managed to find the time to do it. So I decided to try the next best thing. The hammam at Harrods! I have to say that this is definitely a far more luxurious environment than a traditional hammam but from my research I can say that the actual experience is the real deal.
Upon entering the facility I was given a robe and pair of briefs to put on before being led to a warm room kept at 30°C (that’s 85°F) which felt absolutely heavenly. The heat in my house hasn’t been working so I could literally feel myself thawing out as I sat and relaxed for a while to get accustomed to the heat.
After a few moments I was led to the marble hot room which contains several individual chambers and a trickling fountain in the center. I was instructed to disrobe (except the briefs!) and lay face down on the floor. Sounds strange but the floor was heated and felt amazing. I should probably mention that on the day that I went it was women only and to be honest I was the only woman there! As I lay still on the floor I began to smell the scent of citrus gently perfuming the air.
The woman performing my hammam experience started off by cleansing me with a traditional black soap that smelled of eucalyptus to prep my skin. She then poured buckets of very warm water over me. The Turks believed the tradition of bathing in cold pools of water like the Romans did was the equivalent of bathing in filth, and therefore preferred to clean themselves with bowls of running water. I have to say that I will always enjoy taking baths…even if that makes me a dirty birdy!
The next step was the exfoliation. I won’t lie. It was slightly uncomfortable. It’s a very deep scrub done with a kessa glove and a bit of elbow grease. Because I have somewhat sensitive skin it was advised to limit myself to a treatment once a month. After another rinse with buckets of warm water I was then gently massaged with an oil based salt scrub that was also laced with essential oils. My face was massaged and exfoliated and then I was left to relax on the floor for about 10 minutes.
I was then rinsed once more to remove the salt scrub, had my hair washed and my hammam experience was complete. I felt both relaxed and energized at the same time if that makes any sense. And my skin was like butter. I haven’t been this soft and smooth since the day I was born!
To cool down and relax a bit more I was then taken to a space where the most gorgeous almonds, figs and dates were waiting for me to nosh on along with traditional Moroccan tea. Unfortunately, I don’t have a picture of it as my phone had over heated from being in the hot room! Oops!
After I was done relaxing it was nice to be able to dry my hair so I didn’t look like a drowned rat when I left to join the crowd of shoppers in Harrods. There were even Shu Uemura hair products and ghd dryers and flat irons available for use.
So…the verdict? Did I enjoy it? Well, I booked myself in for February so I would say yes! Yes I did. And I’m happy to report that I have travels coming up in the spring that could potentially get me to a traditional hammam and I will definitely not miss out on the opportunity a second time.
Have you had tried traditional experiences on your travels? I’d love to hear about them! Share them with me in the comments area below.
Thanks for reading! Cheers!