Tuesday, October 25, 2011

more hammam, please.

the turkish bath, jean auguste dominique ingres
kind of...but not really. 
did i ever tell you about my hammam experience in fes? while hannah and i visited morocco this past march, we knew we wanted to try out the age old arab tradition of a hammam, also known as a turkish bath. i first learned of the tradition when i was living in granada and toured the oldest one in spain. it's still today the only way many moroccans bathe.

the deal: we wanted to visit a public hammam and get the true moroccan medina experience. when we arrived with towels in hand, it turned out it was only open to men for the next several hours and the women hours wouldn't be until after we left. bummer. but what luck! just then, we bumped into a friend of the dar who recommended taking a taxi to the new city and getting the treatment at nausikka spa, a beautiful spa and hammam... it would cost a little more ($15 instead of $4 at the public medina hammam) but it would be luxurious and fantastic. sold!

after disrobing to our knickers, hannah and i were each guided to attendants who led us down to the gooooorgeous underground spa -- tiled from floor to ceiling, high arches throughout. a palace of a bathroom! giant rooms connected by tiled arch ways, hot tubs of various temperatures, a steam room and rows of granite massaging slabs (see below).

the attendants didn't speak english and knew very little french so they basically led us around and pointed so we knew where to go and what to do. first a hang out in the steam room and a rub down with some oily soap. then a quick dip in the cold jacuzzi to cool down. once we we ready, the ladies took us by the hand and led us each to a marble table where they bathed us. during the entire experience, i felt like a tiny baby princess. the women held me by the hand, took me where i needed to go, no words spoken and propped me up on the table and went to work. scrubbed in places i personally never have! thorough, they were. a salt scrub, an oil massage, a soap cleaning and she even washed my hair for me. i flipped and flopped and she just took over: positioned my arms where she wanted, turned me over to get my back side, all of it. i was like a toddler again. 
after a final rinse, we shined like the top of the chrysler building! a truly unique and exciting experience. go get the real deal if you're ever given the chance. 

to top it off, as we were leaving, the receptionist suggested we step into their salon before leaving and get our clean, wet hair blown out for $5 by a stylist. Uhhh...yes, please!

have you ever been to a hammam? know of any in the united states? i've been wanting to start one... it'd sell like hot cakes!

after a nice relaxing bath, these turkish bath towels would be so fantastic to wrap yourself in. 

{hammam photos by nausikaa spa, towels from bath style via rena tom at sf girl by bay}

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