Walking into the elaborately decorated Hammam you are greeted by a smiling woman who directs you to yourprivate changing room. Dressed in a robe you pass bubbling fountains, huge bouquets of fresh exotic flowers, and ornate wall hangings as the woman leads the way to the sauna where your Moroccan bath house experience will begin.
As the door to the sauna opens steam billows out and envelops you, clouding your vision and filling your head with the sweet smells of orange blossoms and rose water. Immediately you feel your muscles relaxing and your pores opening, after another hot day in the Moroccan sun your tanned skin welcomes the delicious steam and drinks it in greedily. Your masseuse enters the sauna and hands you some black soap and asks you to cover yourself in it, it will cleanse as well as exfoliate, she explains. After covering every inch of your body in the soap you lie back and let the steam work its magic. Soothing music plays as your masseuse gently wipes off the soap with an exfoliate glove, sluicing all of the impurities and dead skin off and leaving your skin feeling smooth and fresh. The sweet smell of almonds fill the air as she prepares for your full body massage.
Moroccan bath houses, or Hammams, are an important aspect of Middle Eastern and North African cultures. Serving as both a place for social gathering as well as a place for ritual cleansing most Moroccans visits a Hammam at least once a week. Moroccans traditionally perform their own cleansing which consists of placing a mat on the floor and lying in a sauna-like room allowing your body to sweat out any impurities. While tourists are welcome to visit these traditional Hammams more private and luxurious bath houses, that closely resemble spas in the US, are also available. These Hammams offer exfoliation with a rough flat glove called a kiis and full body massages along with the time in the sauna.
So whether you have been exploring the city, hiking the mountains, or traversing the desert on camelback a Moroccan Hammam is the perfect place to relax, cleanse, and unwind.