Hammam a Marrakech Must Have……….
Having just arrived home to Marrakech I was looking forward to a little R&R……..having pounded the streets of Paris in the super cold weather, I was feeling a little achy. If you to arrive in Marrakech a little stressed from big city life one of the quickest ways you can unwind is to take a trip to the hamman. Nearly all riads and hotels in Marrakech have one and if they don’t they can usually recommend a really good one where you can enjoy a bit of de-stressing.
For anyone who hasn’t yet been introduced to this part of Arab culture a hammam is a Moroccan bathroom come sauna rather like a large wet room where you can wash and scrub your cares away. Here in this window less room the tiled floors and walls are heated from below by pipes of hot water that are powered by huge smouldering wood furnaces. The clever Marrackchi’s at the same time use the heat generated from these furnaces to bake bread and also cook one of their favourite dishes, Tanjia. Here they take an earthenware pot and fill it with veggies, spices and meat seal the top and drop it to the back of the hammam in the morning where it slowly cooks all day in the embers of the fire until evening time when its ready.
Hammam’s are a major part of Moroccan culture. EVERY Marrackchi no matter how old or how young goes to the hammam at least once a week. There are literally hundreds dotted around the city. Often you see people on their way to and from the hammam with their little plastic stools and buckets filled with towels and exotic toiletries.
I personally have never entered the domain of a Moroccan public hammam, as I just so happen to have my own private hammam in my garden……..ohh how lucky I am no wonder I love my life in Marrakech……Since we moved here we have had so much fun in this hammam……For all our faults at least we are clean.
I have though in the past visited hammam’s in some rather lovely hotels and so here is where I learnt the ropes of what to do. Firstly once you have stripped off you sit and allow yourself to sweat (this is not a sauna so don’t expect to much steam) which is like a mini detox opening your pores and allowing the toxins to come out of your body, then if you are in a hotel hammam a lady (or man depending on your gender) will enter the room and take an abrasive mitten and start to scrub…….Lots of the big hotels have special magic formulas of beautiful smelling concoctions made from dried flowers and some spices that are all beneficial to your skin, but all these mixtures are based around one thing black thick olive oil that looks a bit like a version of black Vaseline. (You can buy this stuff all over the Medina if you want to take some home.) This oil will help to lift of your dead skin and protect you from the sometimes arduous scrubbing. Once you have been scrubbed from head to toe, the fun really begins here you must be careful not to open your mouth to speak as buckets of hot water are flung over you for the rinsing process, after another rub down, it’s time to leave beaming like a new penny…………
If for some peculiar reason your hotel doesn’t have a hammam then I would highly recomend a day of indulgence at