Let’s just start off by saying, this blog post is going to be rated PG-13. So, proceed with caution. YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED.
When I first decided to visit Morocco, I was so excited to start researching all the cultural experiences I could engage in! And right off the bat, I kept seeing bloggers talk about how everyone MUST try a traditional hammam experience. What the heck is that?! Essentially, what I got out of my research… it’s a traditional Moroccan spa experience that involves a sauna. That’s honestly the gist I got from all the blogs I read. Well, WRONG. These bloggers failed to mention quite a lot of important details. So, that’s what I’m here for!! Let’s dive in!
As many of you know, I am a spa snob. You heard me. When it comes to getting a spa treatment, I don’t mess around. And the same held true for visiting Morocco. My husband and I were in Marrakech, so there’s no prettier and posh of a place to go than La Mamounia. Now, I’m not going to be talking about our experience at La Mamounia in this post… but I’ll be doing that in another post! Right now, I am just talking about my experience with receiving a traditional Moroccan hammam. But I would 110% recommend La Mamounia as the place to book your hammam treatment!
As with all spa treatments, you should book well in advance. I booked both of our hammam treatments a few months in advance, and had no problem selecting a date and time of our liking. I was able to easily make our reservations online. Now, let’s fast forward to our actual spa day!
Dan and I arrived to the spa about 30 minutes early. The second you walk into the spa at La Mamounia, you are transformed into a Moroccan paradise. It’s adorned with dimly lit lanterns, and beautifully ornate pools. As we checked in with the receptionist, she greeted us with the warmest smile, and led us to the waiting area. Within a few minutes, we were greeted by our individual hammam specialists. In a traditional hammam, a woman will be with a woman, and a man will be with a man. So, that was the last I saw of Dan. Hehehehe.
I was then led to a locker room where I could change out of my clothes and into a very soft and plush robe. All lockers had a locked keypad, which is always nice. No worries about your valuables being stolen! Inside the locker was a robe, flip flops and thin, little boy shorts. I put everything on, and met my hammam specialist back outside the locker. She then led me to the sauna. She explained to me that I would be in the sauna for about 15 minutes. I took off my robe and dipped into the sauna. I laid down on a very warm stone slab, and thus the torture began. Hahahaha. I am a complete baby when it comes to saunas. I honestly feel like I’m going to suffocate to death. I kept cheating a little bit by getting my face as close to the door crack as possible, just so I could breath in some cool, fresh air. As the time passed, it seemed like an eternity and I was still suffering, what felt like, a heat stroke. I kept thinking, “When is she going to come back and get me?!?!” It came to the point where I couldn’t stand it any longer and I just got out. HA. I slipped my robe back on, and my hammam specialist saw me get out of the sauna. She motioned at me to come towards her, and this is where it got interesting.
I noticed that she was wearing a bathing suit, which was not what she was wearing before. This intrigued me. She was very pleasant and polite, but quite direct with her instructions. We walked up to a shower, and she said, “Robe off!”. Um… okay! Why not?! She pushed the shower buttons on and I showered off. She then led me to a dimly lit room and motioned me to lay on a stone slab table. I was face down first. She mixed together a concoction of lovely smelling lotions and oils and started rubbing it all over my body. And then she told me to flip over. HELLO BOOBIES. Yes… the girls were out in plain site. And my hammam specialist rubbed the same mixture all over my front side, including MY BOOBIES. Let’s just get it out there. If you choose to experience a traditional hammam, your lady lumps will be getting rubbed down by a complete stranger.
Then she motioned me back to the shower, and I rinsed off. And this process of rub downs and rinsing off repeated several times. Each time with a different lotion and oil mixture. And if you can believe it, things got even more interesting! On the second to last time I was rinsing off in the shower, she pointed towards my little boy shorts and said “Off!”. BAHA. At this point, there was no turning back, so off the little shorts went. So, I am now COMPLETELY naked in front of this woman. And for the last time, I go and lay on the stone slab face up. Talk about being vulnerable!! She rubbed me down for the last time, with a clay type mixture, and draped towels over me. And I laid there for about 10 minutes. After the time was up, I rinsed off, and this time, she rubbed me down while I was under the shower water. She smiled at me and said, “Skin soft like a baby.” That cracked me up so hard, I just started laughing, and she laughed too!
I then dried off, put my robe back on and was lead to a soothing room. I was served mint tea and told to relax in the ultra comfortable recliner chair. In about 10 minutes, my hammam specialist came to get me and asked how everything was. She then lead me back to my locker, where I could shower and get dressed.
WOAH. Talk about a totally new experience! But I will say this, my skin felt so incredibly smooth and soft after this treatment!! And by the way, Dan did not have to take off his little shorts. Hahaha. Also, a word of the wise, do NOT get a hammam treatment if you’re sunburned. Dan was, and he said it wasn’t as enjoyable as he thought it could have been.
Overall, what are my thoughts? I think anyone and everyone who is visiting Morocco should try a traditional hammam treatment once. Would I do it again? Probably not. I would much rather receive a massage, specifically, a hot stone massage! But hey… you have to try everything once, right?!
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