One particular Moroccan Saturday morning was an eye-opener for me. We took our daughter for a morning stroll in the park and I noticed that though there were a lot of men having fun with their kids. I couldn’t spot any women at all.
It was explained to me that it’s a weekly routine when women and friends dedicate some “me” time and head over to the Hammam.
As we were already living a few months in Morocco at that time, I decided to give it a try.
One of the must-dos in Morocco for both locals and tourists is to go to Hammam. You will be thoroughly rinsed, vigorously scrubbed and exfoliated.
Afterwards you will have a relaxing massage. It is similar to the Turkish bath except that with the Moroccan hammam spa, you sit on a mat on the floor. Additionally, Turkish bath uses water whilst the Moroccan version uses steam.
A Moroccan hammam is traditionally, and popularly, a public bath where friends and family (separated by gender, of course) come to relax and socialize. But you can also opt for a more private service in hotels. Where you may select spas for personalized assistance and a complete Moroccan kit.
You’d just need to bring your change of clothing and personal bathing toiletries, and your own bikini or bathing suit if you prefer it.
Being new to the experience, I went for the safe and “fancy” experience in the hammam. It was a good decision as well, for shy ladies like me would definitely prefer the more private service with a lady attendant to guide me through it all.
The usual Moroccan Hammam products: ghassoul (powder), kessa (coarse glove) to scrub yourself with, and of course the famous deep cleansing black soap made from olives – savon beldi (“savonage” in French).
Moreover, what comes next was an invigoratingly delicious experience that will surely make you come back and make it a part of your health and beauty regimen. Be ready to be fully washed.
First, I was led to a changing room and asked to remove everything. I left all my belongings there, and changed to a robe. The lady attendant then brought me to a hot room. She completely lathered me with savon beldi, and left me there for a while to soak up in the steamy experience. After that, she came back to give me a complete rinsing.
Then she took me to another room with a big warm marble table. The marble is a bit slippery though, especially when you’re all wet, so be careful. Then I had a complete kessa scrubbing (gammage) from head to toe. It was quite a rough experience that I had to stop her for a while and asked her to be more gentle.
Afterwards she washed my hair and applied conditioner using my own products, but she also offered to use their own products as well.
My favorite part was the heavenly Hammam massage that I wished could last forever. After massage I was left alone to relax on the warm marble table for another 10 minutes. Following that, I applied moisturizing and nourishing argan oil all over the body and even hair. Finally, I was taken to a room to relax and offered tea and water. Overall, I had a wonderful experience and would surely come back and make it a routine.
It’s no wonder that this relaxing activity is part of Morrocan life, as there are a lot of hammam benefits.
✓ The scrubbing not only exfoliates your skin but also tones and firms it.
✓ The entire process is a great way to regulate skin oils and detox both the mind and body.
✓ The Moroccan hammam products deeply cleanse, nourish and re-hydrate your skin.
✓ The massage relieves muscle tension and helps you get better sleep.
All in all, my first hammam experience was a wonderful glance to what it really is. Though I’m sure the public hammam would be different, I wouldn’t mind experiencing it in the near future. But for those who just want to have a glimpse, I highly recommend trying this more private spa service.