Experiencing A Hammam In Morocco
Hammam, turkish bath, roman bath, they’re all relatively the same. You my have heard of these spa services, or perhaps you haven’t. I will tell you before moving to Las Vegas I didn’t have a clue what a Hamamm was. Hammam is particular spa treatment originating from Turkey, known as turkish bath. Turkish bath in arabic means Hammam, reason behind the different names. With a price tag for these services generally over $400 they’re certainly not the most popular!
Recently, I was treated to a spa day at the Sahra Spa & Hammam at the Cosmopolitan by one of my gal pals. (Thanks again Chrissy @garciachristan! I owe you big time!) During my amazing massage I told my masseuse that I was traveling to Morocco soon, and that I was excited to experience their spa treatments, primarily their Hammams. His voice lit up, and said “once we’re finished here, I’ll show you our Hammam room”. How cool right? A private tour! And it was beautiful, and sooo luxurious. The masseuse began telling me about the treatment, but I was in such a daze from my massage and enamoured by the beauty that I kind of forget to listen. Opps! That would have been nice info to know! ha!
Fast forward to one month later…..
My girl friend and I are in Morocco. Marrakech, to be exact. We have our eyes set on many adventures while we are in Marrakech, and one of them happens to be this mystical, skin-silkening hammam service. I told my friend about this spa treatment, and after a bit of convincing she reluctantly she said she’d try it. As to our surprise there were very, VERY nice spas in Marrakech. One in particular being at our hotel the Es Saadi Palace, the famous Dior institute and spa. Supposedly there are only two of these in the world! However, we wanted more of a local vibe, and prices were also more affordable off property.
Luckily our kind friends in Marrakech booked us a 2 hour Hammam plus massage treatment at Les Bains de Marrakech. They told us it was very popular amongst locals and tourists, and a few days after arriving we were to have our first hammam!
The scrub down… I mean, Hammam treatment
Once the day arrived, I was a little nervous, because by now I’ve heard so many mixed views on hammam’s. From- “Like, you lay on this floor, it’s wet, your naked and someone scrubs you” to “You’re doing what” and “don’t worry it doesn’t hurt that bad”….ha what could go wrong right?! Okay, it was a bit intense sounding, a bit strange, but for the most part I was trying to keep an open mind. After all, we were in Morocco, and this is something that’s very much part of their culture.
After check in we were showed to the women’s facilities. We were told to undress keeping underwear on, and get in our designated robes and spa sandals. Once changed a woman immediately came to collect us and took us to begin our afternoon of festivities. Yay! After many minutes of walking down hundreds of corridors we made it to our hammam room. There we were passed off to another worker who tells us in french to de-robe, or I assume to de-robe because she was tugging on my robe belt. Okay robe off! She then began pointing at one side of the room, where I assume she wanted to me to lay given by her hand gestures. She then motions the same to my friend.
For some reason I thought my friend and I would be in separate rooms, this came to a screeching halt when we were both being forced into the same room. Let me tell you if we weren’t close friends before, it was about to get a lot closer!! Not embarressing at all… nope not one bit! Plus, neither of us spoke french so it was useless. *nervous laugh* The worker walks away and closes the door behind her. Allow me to paint this picture- she leaves us in this small room, which is about a million degrees, laying on two plastic type cushion beds with water drenched on them to sweat. In that very moment I literally had no idea what I got ourselves into, and I know my friend was thinking the same. All we could do in that moment was break out in uncontrollable laughs.
After the giggles and crying-laughs subsided, the woman finally returns says “le virage” about ten times (which means to turn over in French, I guess we were laying the wrong way) then she began putting some black rock soap on us. Once applying was over she again shuts the door and leaves us for about another 10 minutes, or in our minds an eternity! Finally, the lady again returned, allowing some fresh air into the small room, thank god! She then began administering this small glove to her hand, making her way towards me.. I knew now there was no going back. What she did from there, was something my skin had never endured before. I thought she was going to give be third degree burns from scrubbing so hard. After she finished doing devil practices to my friend, she then rubbed what looked to be mud (I think they said it was an algae mask) to our bodies and faces, and once again exited the room. I then began having thoughts like “I’ve never felt this much pain everywhere, like ev-er-y-where” and “I don’t want to look because I think I might be bleeding” it was that serious! After another long while she came back and one by one were told to rinse off and leave the room. Yay back to our fresh, comfy robes!
Hammam reflections; after it was said and done, the treatment was great, awkward with another person, but great. Would I chose to go alone next time? Most likely yes, but going with a friend or loved one is not unheard of. It actually looked like the room could even hold a third person judging by the three beds. As for my skin, it felt freaking fabulous! Those dry layers of skin finally off, and the magic mud bath at the end seemed to really seal the deal. But, maybe it was my imagination? At a small price of, $60 USD for Hammam treatment plus a 1 hour massage, I would do it again in a heart beat! You can’t even get a 1 hour massage in the US for $60, let alone two treatments for $60. Les Bains, all I can say is, thank you so much for not scrubbing off all my skin so that some day I may return to Marrakech experience more hammams!
Top Hammam Spas in Marrakech
- Hammam Rosa Bonheur– $27 USD
- Heritage Spa– $29
- Mythic Oriental Spa-$35
- Les Bains de Marrakech– $20
- Sultana Spa– $15
- Le Spa at Mamounia– $111
Let me know if you have any embarrassing spa or hammam treatments below!