An ancient tradition flourishes in today’s most luxurious and exclusive spa resorts.
The hammam, or Turkish bath, is an ancient tradition used for cleansing and relaxation, dating back to the Ottoman Empire. Inspired by Roman Baths, the practice of steam baths paired with massage and body treatments is still sought after and often included in top spas, where clients seek to detoxify, relieve stress, and improve blood circulation.
Interested in “hammam-ing”? Try one of these treatments at spas from luxury health resorts included in the Exclusive Resorts Hotel Collection, and you may never want to leave the spa.
The Spa at La Réserve Paris
Located between Avenue Montaigne and Rue du Faubourg Saint- Honoré, The Spa at La Réserve Paris is just a stone’s throw from the Champs-Elysées, but its hammam experience is a step into another world. “A hammam session at La Réserve Paris is a real moment of relaxation,” says Spa Director Maud Seigle.
To fully experience the hammam, Seigle recommends the spa’s two-and-a-half hour Detox Experience. This includes a hammam session with purifying essential oils, a body scrub with salt and marine clays, a detox body wrap, and a Better Aging Body signature massage.
“This massage detoxifies the skin and targets all the muscle and energy paths as a part of a long-term approach to maintaining youthfulness and health,” she says. La Réserve is the only spa in Paris to use the Nescens-Swiss anti-aging science brand, created by Professor Jacques Proust, a pioneer in the realm of aging biology at the Center for the Prevention of Aging at the Clinique de Genolier in Switzerland.
Following the Detox Experience, guests are offered a fresh green vegetable cocktail served at La Réserve Bar. This, says Seigle, can be paired with the Well-Being Breakfast available at the hotel’s two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Le Gabriel. The gluten- and lactose-free menu includes two detox shots, a choice of herb teas, gluten-free bread and cakes, buckwheat muesli and almond milk, avocado with gomasio seasoning (unhulled sesame seeds and salt), and an egg-white soufflé omelet with seasonal vegetables and fresh fruit.
“The Well-Being Breakfast is ideally attuned to the treatments provided in the spa,” says Seigle. “It’s a unique taste experience, both pleasurable and healthy.”
The Peninsula Hong Kong Spa
Hong Kong, China
If the spectacular views of Victoria Harbor from The Peninsula Hong Kong Spa doesn’t move you, its hammam-style Thermal Suites certainly will.
Guests are encouraged to arrive early and unwind with a cup of aromatic ginger tea with honey, cinnamon, and lemongrass, paired with an in-depth wellness consultation. Pre-treatment, experience one of six Thermal Suites, combining hammam-style steam rooms and saunas. Don’t miss the aromatherapy “Experience Showers,” which feature a unique peppermint-vapor steam to boost energy and mood.
“Steam heat opens the pores and promotes the body detoxification of the outer skin,” says Spa Director Winnie Yu. “It raises the body temperature above normal and stimulates the circulation system, as well as relieving muscle tension.”
Post treatment, enjoy bites from the hotel’s Naturally Delicious menu, which combines locally and sustainably sourced ingredients, organic seasonings, and homemade sauces.
Auberge du Soleil Spa
Napa Valley, California
While a traditional hammam experience involves a progression through interconnected rooms—typically from warm to hot, and then cool—the Auberge du Soleil Spa reimagines this process “with a wine country twist that showcases our picturesque setting,” says Spa Director Karen Ray.
Inspired by the vision of a Zen Master, the Auberge du Soleil Spa is designed around the natural beauty of its surroundings. The courtyard includes a signature reflecting pool with three stone basin fountains aligned with the top of Mount Veeder, three outdoor hammam-style soaking pools (warm, hot, and cold), and treatment rooms including an indoor-outdoor element.
“More than ever, spa guests are focused on health and wellness and are in tune with therapies and modalities benefiting their body and mind,” says Ray. “Hammam is compelling because it’s based on an ancient tradition that addresses their desire for detoxification, cleansing, and rejuvenation.”
The Meritage Couples’ Treatment is one of the spa’s most popular offerings. Guests begin with a purification ritual in the hammam. Next up, full-body exfoliation using locally-sourced crushed grape seeds. Lastly, a private bath for two is enjoyed with fresh fruit and wine, side-by-side scalp and foot treatments, and full-body massages.