Soak, Scrub, and Socialize
Argan oil. Ghassoul. Black soap. Just a few of the essential ingredients of what may be one of the best beauty treatments on earth. A ritual that has been around for centuries. A place not just for cleansing, but also for socializing. It’s known as the hammam. And it’s an important part of Moroccan culture, for both men and women.
With both health and beauty benefits, it’s an experience not to miss when travelling to Morocco as it’s sure to leave you feeling like you’ve uncovered a new skin, and deeply relaxed.
With a variety of options, travelers are sure to find an option depending on their comfort level.
Do as the locals do!
Wind your way through the tiny streets of any medina throughout Morocco, and you’re bound to see women carrying buckets filled with the finest beauty products and the essentials en route to their local hammam beldi (traditional).
With separate areas for men and women, a trip to the local hammam can be a unique experience. Just don’t expect anything fancy here. Children run free while adults socialize. It’s the local hang out. And before entering, you’ll need to stop by the local hanoot (corner store) to pick up your black soap and a kessa (glove) for the body scrub.
Typically comprised of three rooms of varying temperatures, locally employed staff is on hand to apply the black soap and provide a full-body scrub, along with a bit of guidance. The cleanse will take approximately 45 minutes for a complete body scrub, hair wash, and perhaps even a short massage.
Entrance to the local hammams is approximately 10 – 12 Dirhams (about $1.50) and you can expect to pay the staff member around 50 Dirhams for the treatment.
While each community has its local hammam, the hammam located on Rue Riad Zitoun Jdid is one of the nicest and easiest to access in the medina. The hammam is open to men in the morning and women in the afternoon/evening.
Make yourself at home
For the ultimate relaxation treatment, opt to stay in a riad with a private in-house hammam. An afternoon in the souks followed by a late-afternoon hammam treatment will leave you feeling relaxed and ready for an evening in. This option is ideal for couples wanting to experience the hammam treatment together.
Book a stay at Riad Farnatchi not only for a luxurious stay, but a divine hammam treatment.
Step inside the intimate hammam hidden on the main level at Riad Tzarra to experience a hammam typical of a local residence.
Black soap made from olive oil to soften the skin and rhassoul (ghassoul as the locals say), mineral-rich detoxifying clay, is blended with rose water to cleanse and detoxify the skin, followed by a heavenly grommage. Then wrap up in a cozy hammam towel before generously applying argan oil to hydrate the skin. And perhaps a relaxing massage to complete the experience.
In Marrakech, head to Les Bains de Marrakech inside the Kasbah district. Or for a purely luxurious experience, reserve an appointment at La Mamounia, winner of Best Hotel Spa in the World 2011 by Conde Nast Traveller Readers’ Best Spa Awards.
To truly escape the hustle and bustle of Marrakech, plan an afternoon at to the Beldi Country Club. Lunch by the pool, followed by a hammam and massage treatment is quite simply divine.