A Hammam in Marrakech - Mille et Une NuitsFriday, 2 March 2012
|Courtesy of www.spa-hammam1001nuits.com|
A hammam appealed to me for many reasons, of which I will happily share with you here.
- I love to lay around in steam
- I love to feel squeaky, squeaky clean
- I love being naked in a semi public environment
I was led to the room you see above, where I promptly derobed. They did ask me to first, I should point out. All of my stuff was put in a locker, and I was led to a little shower room, where a bucket of water was dumped over me. Sorry, I think the word is sluiced. Yes - sluiced. Not dumped. Whatever happened, it was lovely once I got over the initial shock.
Two French women accompanied me in my experience, and we had a therapist each. My French is terrible, but we seemed to get by. There was only one linguistic set back - right at the end of the treatment I thought the therapist was calling me a douche. But she was only asking if I wanted a shower.
After my sluicing, my therapist covered me in a black soap. I then entered the steam room with the two French ladies, wherein our communication turned into a slight game of charades, as we all felt the need to express how steamy the steam was.
"Oof!" "Phew" "Hooo!"
I should point out at this stage that it is never advisable to stand naked next to a French woman, for you will almost definitely feel inadequate and slightly sad. The steam was lovely, though after a while the black soap mingled with the sweat and started to burn the Jesus out of my eyes. When I saw the steamy outline of my therapist retrieving me, I was grateful, though I regretted the fact that in school we were never taught how to say
"Can you hand me a towel for my sweaty eyes?"
Turns out I didn't need one, for a bucket of water was sluiced straight over my head straight away. Hurrah!
Then came the good bit - the scrub. I'd heard a bit of moaning about how sore the scratchy gommage mitt is, but I adored it. I was lain upon a marble platter and my therapist got to work, covering me in some kind of mud before scrubbing the life out of me. Huge peels of grey skin were removed from me, leaving me all pink and sparkling. I'm assured this is normal - I'm not outlandishly filthy.
After this, I feel I may have had another quick steam before being led to the relaxation room, where a dressing gown was put on my like a toddler, and I laid back on the coach feeling like a squeaky clean queen. I was handed some mint tea, and misted with rose water.
Sweet Jeebus, it was divine.
After days of trekking through the city, up mountains and over waterfalls, it was just what I needed.
If you're like Nuz, and don't like parading yourself around, then it may not be ideal for you, though in most Hammams you can get a private room. In Mille et Une Nuits, you keep your knickers on, and all sessions are single sex. Therapists work in swimsuits, and whilst I cannot guarantee you won't have to stand next to a stunning French woman, I can assure you that there is just a lovely sense of female camaraderie.
The only downside was leaving. And I don't mean that in a poetic way.
I was changing back into my clothes and realised my knickers were no longer in a fit state to support me through a night in the city. They were sopping wet, and covered in mud. I tried to discretely put on my jeans in the nip, but alas, one of the therapists noticed, and insisted I couldn't leave without my knickers on. So she produced a pair for me to take home. A lovely gesture, though one that gave me the complete icks. They were most definitely clean, but.... I was wearing someone else's knickers, so help me.
The worst part? They were a pair of men's bloody y-fronts.
I've never wanted to take my knickers off as quickly as I did that night.
A basic hammam package (steam, gommage, towels) takes around an hour and costs 150 dirham (€15). There are many hammams in Marrakech, but ask in your hotel for their recommendation, or research in advance. I wouldn't advise walking into one off the street - I was propositioned by some very dodgy men claiming to be therapists.
Les Mille et Une Nuits - http://www.spa-hammam1001nuits.com/
Les Bains de Marrakech - http://www.lesbainsdemarrakech.com/