HAMMAM & GOMMAGE
I have yet to have the pleasure of visiting a hamman and gommage in Turkey or Europe or northern Africa. Instead, I indulge in a few hours of hamman and gommage in my city. It’s worth every.single.penny. Seriously.
What exactly is hamman and gommage? It’s basically a pretty Turkish bath/spa experience. Hamman (“spreader of warmth”) involves the ritual of steaming up your pores in a steam bath made from carved stone; and Gommage (“erase”) involves a body exfoliation, a total rub down.
MY BLISS DAY
At the hammam/gommage spa I visited this is how it went:
- I was brought into a brand spanking clean change room, where I was asked to take a shower to remove any lotions or perfume.
- Showering also prepares the body for the Hamman, by warming up the body and opening the pores.
- Then I tied on an Indonesian-inspired sarong. There’s also disposable panties if that’s your comfort zone.
- My aesthetician then lead me inside the Hammam — a pretty mosaic tile “medina” area with marble, lit with ambient light that glowed like candles.
- I was lead through glass doors until I was contained in the steam bath.
- Here a foundation bubbled merrily, infused with a blend of eucalpytus, lemon, and orange essential oils.
- I sat on a marble slab, beside a jug of water and a glass, and relaxed…while I was enveloped in a fog of steam (you can’t see a thing!).
- I was left alone for 15 minutes to steam up and sweat out toxins.
- After the allotted time, I was led out of the glass steam bath.
- Glistening with sweat from head to toe, my hair was plastered to my forehead and neck.
- I was asked to take off my sarong so the aesthetician could lay it on the marble slab in the pretty stone room. Um…that would leave me completely naked…in front of this woman I don’t even know. What was her name again? Aiya. Luckily (refresher here) I wasn’t as distraught as newcomers would be.
- You lay stomach-down on the marble slab, where the aesthetician uses a soft black mineral soap to slough off dead cells using scrubby mittens.
- Soon after the back was done, she turns you over (*gasp*) to work on the front.
- Here is when I asked her about the clientele. She told me a lot of tourists from Europe visit, as well as locals of Middle Eastern or Korean descent. The latter surprised me, but then I remembered how on a visit to South Korea I did see a lot of spas specializing in a type of Hamman/Gommage experience.
- Once I was all silky smooth like a baby’s butt, the aesthetician took a shower hose to clean off all the soap and leftover skin cells. She then handed me the shower to get squeaky clean.
- I wrapped the sarong around me, left the stone room.
- My aesthetician was waiting outside with a fluffy white bath robe.
- I was led back to the change-room, where she pointed to the extra towels and essentials (hair dryer, skin lotion, q-tips).
- Opted for a 30 minute massage to compliment my Hamman and Gommage experience.
- Still in my fluffy white robe, I was introduced to my masseuse, who led me to a massage room.
- I lay on the bed, under a sheet, and I chose a body oil scent — clove + orange, a bright fresh scent.
- I took a little massage nap, waking only once when I had to turn over to my back. Zzzz…
- Dressed in my fluffy white robe yet again, and was led to a pretty sunlit room adorned like a lounge somewhere in Morocco. Earth-toned pillars and arches, silken drapes, decorative pillows and a cushioned seating area in hues of gold, burnt amber, purple, garnet.
- Handed a small bronze tray with some tea and a small honey-soaked sweet, shaped like a madeleine.
- Sprawled across the cushioned area, with a magazine, and sipped my spice-infused tea from a gold-etched glass flute and nibbled on my sweet. Ahhhh….