One of the great pleasures in Morocco is the luxury of a hammam – here are some tips for arranging it…
Morocco is famous for its relaxing hammams, which are a kind of cross between a spa and a Turkish bath. Think luxurious olive oil soap, ghassoul* clay, rose petals, body scrubs, and massage… mmmm! Some visitors come specially to visit a different one on each stage of their tour! But how to organise the best hammam experience for you?
If you wish to visit a hammam, the best thing usually is to ask at your hotel reception. They tend to know the hammams nearby and can advise and direct you.
Some of the hammams in cities like Fes and Marrakech are more in the style of a Western spa, with private treatment rooms for massages and facial or body treatments, and similar prices. TripAdvisor has pages recommending the best hammams in the main cities, which you might find useful. Just Google “hammams in [name of city]” and that should come up. These ones tend to be in the larger luxury riads, but non-residential customers can book into them too.
Traditional Moroccan-style hammams are more like a public Turkish bath, and these can be found in every city and town throughout the country. They have a series of three rooms – one is steamy with a hot water supply, the middle one is warm with a cold water supply, and the outer one is for cooling off. You’ll be given buckets for filling up with water, and for a few dirhams you can buy a serving of the lovely olive oil soap (which is like a gel, and really softens your skin) and a glove for scrubbing your skin, and sometimes you can hire a small stool to sit on. You can also hire an assistant to come and give you a body scrub and/or a massage. It’s a wonderful way to relax, and you’ll come out feeling as though your skin has been polished from head to toe!
Traditional hammams typically have separate sections or opening hours for women and for men, but you can usually also book a time to hire the hammam as a mixed group if you wish.
A word of advice – if you go to a hammam, full nudity is not culturally acceptable for either women or men, and visitors should wear underwear on their lower body.
We hope that this information is helpful for you and that you enjoy your hammam experience!
*Ghassoul (sometimes spelled rhassoul) is a fine natural mineral clay mined from the Atlas Mountains of Morocco, and has been used as a beauty treatment by Moroccan women for centuries. It is combined in equal parts with water as a mask to cleanse the face or body and to condition the hair.
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