Hammam happiness: What to expect and where to look for one

May 17,2015

A trip to a Turkish bath can reinvigorate tired muscles and help get rid of dead skin – what’s not to love? You’ll be glad to know the hammam experience has evolved over the years to include other services, too. Now, luxury hotels that come with a hammam, including those run by Millennium Hotels and Resorts, may also offer Indian head massages, face masks, massages or aromatherapy.

Here’s the low-down on making the most of a hammam in the Middle East.

What can I expect to happen at a hammam?

As you enter a hammam, it’s likely you’ll be handed a robe, a pair of slippers and a towel. Once you’ve stripped down to your disposable underwear, you’ll be scrubbed with soap by a same-sex masseuse, leaving you feeling cleaner than ever before. Then, you’ll be sent to a steam room to loosen up, after which you’ll be exfoliated and massaged into a blissful state of relaxation. Make sure you let them know if it’s all too rough for you ­– traditionally, the people who work in hammams aren’t too forgiving, but you’ll thank them afterwards anyway. Don’t forget, there are separate sections for men and women.

Will I have to be nude?

Nudity is optional in most hammams, so it depends on how brave you’re feeling.

How did it all start?

Heat has been used to help release toxins since the Neolithic Age, when nomadic tribes escaped the cold by soaking in natural hot springs and felt much healthier for it. The Indus Valley (now Pakistan) hosted one of the earliest public baths around 2500 BC, but it was the Romans who made public bathing popular around 300 BC when hanging out and getting clean was the preferred way of socialising. Turkish baths, or hammams, were brought to Turkey in the 7th century and by 600 AD, hammams were being incorporated into weddings and other celebratory events.

Tell me about the benefits

A clean body means a clean soul, don’t you know? The Romans thought a bath was the way to a new start, but a good scrub is now known to help release toxins. After a hammam experience your skin should look brighter and feel firmer and your massage should re-energise your limbs and refresh your body and mind.

Where can I find a great hammam? 

Amman, Jordan

At Grand Millennium Hotel Amman, the Sky Spa & Health Club offers a range of amazing treatments to relax and reinvigorate you. Try its steamy anti-aging, skin-healing Moroccan bath (also known as Hammam Maghrabi).

Grand Millennium Hotel Amman

Dubai, UAE

The ladies-only Turkish hammam at Turkuaz House in Dubai is a great example of how a traditional experience can be mixed with modern luxury. Enjoy a 15-minute steam, followed by a scrub, a massage with Turkish soap bubbles and a hair wash from a therapist in a bikini. The oil massage is to die for.

Mussanah, Oman

Enjoy being pampered in the hammam, steam rooms and Jacuzzi at the newly-opened Zayna Spa at the Millennium Resort Mussanah in Oman. Don’t forget ladies, here you have your own blissful lounge with views of the private marina.

Millennium Resort Mussanah


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