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A hammam (or Turkish bath) is the Islamic, amped-up version of a steam room, with thick, nourishing steam complemented by a rigourous body scrub to slough away dead skin and a dousing of frothy bubbles. And while hammams are commonplace in ex-Ottoman Empire countries, they haven’t necessarily been luxurious — until now.
Recently, high-end hotels around the world have discovered the pleasure of the hammam, installing the opulent marble steam rooms in their spas for the ultimate indulgence. “There are many benefits to getting a hammam treatment, but the most important is the removal of toxins from the body," explains Savas Cebeci, lead therapist at the spa at Marmara Park Avenue in New York City — home to the only authentic hammam in the Big Apple. “The treatment involves heat and exfoliation, which, when combined with the scrubbing of the body, helps eliminate toxins through the pores, leaving the skin nourished and rehydrated."
The following ten hotels — many of which already feature spas that are our perennial favorites — have taken the hammam to luxe new heights, offering traditional and modern scrub treatments that take place on the heated central marble stone, often a dramatic showpiece. So whether you are ready for a full hammam experience or just want to lounge in the stunning and steamy room pre- or post-treatment, these ten hotel spas around the world are a must-hit for 2018.
1. Royal Mansour
The white-marble hammam is the heart of the three-story spa at the opulent Royal Mansour, a Leading Hotels of the World property in Marrakech. Three hammam treatments are offered, including the signature Hammam Evasion, which begins with a bathing ritual of warm water and a fragranced steam, followed by a dip in a cold plunge pool. Guests then enjoy a full body scrub, using a traditional kessa exfoliating mitt and the detoxifying body mask Miel d’Ambre, followed by a soothing soap scrub with orange flower water. Though the delicate latticework and inlaid marble details that punctuate the ornate communal hammam shouldn’t be missed, book into one of the three private spa suites for the ultimate experience. Each includes its own hammam (where treatments can be performed), a private terrace complete with a plunge pool, and hairdressing and relaxation areas.
2. The Marmara Park Avenue
New York City, USA
Upon entering the all-white marble hammam through the thick wooden door at the spa at the Marmara Park Avenue, guests are swathed in steam and warmed through the heated marble benches and large central plinth (called göbek taşı in Turkish). The only authentic hammam in New York City, it opened to the public in August 2017 after previously only being available to hotel guests. Spa-goers and guests alike are welcome to simply lounge in the hammam, but the Traditional Turkish Bath Ritual offers a classic scrubbing treatment done by a Turkish therapist with a kessa glove, followed by a lavish sudsing using a special cloth bag that expands with lemon-scented bubbles. The bubbles are frothed over the body dozens of times before being thoroughly rinsed away with warm water. It’s a process guaranteed to leave skin super soft and squeaky clean.
3. The Ned
Opened in April 2017 and tucked into a historic Art Deco building, The Ned is London’s hippest new luxury destination. In addition to its nine restaurants, 252 rooms and rooftop pool, the hotel’s spa features a regal hammam that any hotel or spa guest can spend time in before or after a treatment. As a nod to the building’s historic roots, the spa area is adorned with 1920s decor and furnishings, which gives way to the intricate tile work inside the hammam. The spa also houses a sauna, a steam room, and a 20 metre pool, allowing guests to make a full day out of pampering.
4. Çirağan Palace Kempinski
Not many hotels can claim to have a historic hammam, but the one in the Çırağan Palace Kempinski, a former home to Sultans in Istanbul, dates back to 1874 — having even survived a devastating fire in 1910. Now part of the property’s Sanitas Spa, four different types of Turkish bath sessions are offered in the eye-catching hammam, which features intricate latticework details and impressive Moorish archways. In each, guests lie on a hot central marble stone while an attendant scrubs their body with a kessa exfoliating glove that cleanses and helps with circulation. They are then enveloped in a soapy foam and massaged with essential oils.
5. Grand Hotel Tremezzo
Lake Como, Italy
The T Spa at the Grand Hotel Tremezzo in Lake Como, Italy, recently unveiled its Hammam Suite — a humid area that includes a Turkish hammam clad in Italian Lasa white marble with a full-sized scrubbing plinth, water-blade-style shower and a couples bathtub. The treatments offered range from a quick 20-minute power session to the indulgent 110-minute-long Ultimate Hammam, which combines a traditional hammam experience with a personalised hour-long massage. If guests crave even more relaxation, the spa also features an ice fountain, sensory showers and a relaxation area bedecked with original fresco ceilings and restored seminato flooring, all with stunning views of Lake Como.
6. The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
Showcasing the beauty of the nearby Mojave Desert, the massive Sahra Spa & Hammam at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas has more than 420 tons of sandstone quarried from the surrounding area incorporated into the space. Streaks of silver throughout reflect the precious metals found in the desert and Red Rock Canyon. The impressive modern hammam can accommodate up to four guests and includes separate alcoves where guests can envelop themselves in steam or take a dip in a cold-water plunge pool.
7. Faena Hotel Miami Beach
Inlaid mosaic tile is at the centre of the gorgeous, multicolored Amazonite stone inside the hammam at the Tierra Santa Healing House at Faena Hotel Miami Beach, making it a fully functional work of art. Scrub treatments are performed in a cloud of jasmine-infused steam as the warm stone soothes sore muscles and joints. The hammam is part of an extensive wet spa, which also includes a waterfall, herbal steam room, dry sauna, ice room and tepidarium, with heated stone beds for guests to enjoy.
8. One & Only Royal Mirage
Nestled among the courtyard gardens of the One&Only Royal Mirage Dubai, the spa, with its towering dome, carved arches and Moorish design details, strikes an impressive figure. Located in its own building, the traditional hammam is equally stunning, featuring a central marble slab under a beautiful dome that filters in sunlight. Guests wear traditional pestemal towels as they are enveloped in a gentle steam and enjoy treatments like the Royal Hammam, which consists of a deep cleaning with traditional Moroccan black soap and a full-body exfoliation. A body wrap with eucalyptus-scented ghassoul (Moroccan clay) and a honey face mask follows, and the experience ends with a relaxing massage on the warm marble slab.
9. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at The Bosphorus
The spa inside the Four Seasons Istanbul, which is housed in an old Ottoman mansion, has three separate hammams — one for men, one for women and one for couples (a first for the city). Inside each, guests are scrubbed, cleansed, and massaged using essences of rose, pine, sandalwood or lemon, and treatments are based around all-natural Sodashi, Ayurvedic Sundāri, and Biologique Recherche products.
10. La Mamounia
No trip to Morocco is complete without a visit to a hammam, and the award-winning spa at La Mamounia in Marrakech provides a traditional experience among breathtaking design details like Majorelle blue stairs, zellige mosaic tile work, Moroccan tadelakt plaster and wood panelling. Guests can choose from three treatments that use traditional black soap to cleanse the body, followed by a kessa-glove body scrub with orange infusion. A private hammam suite is also available for the ultimate escape.