The Ultimate Guide to Having a Hammam
What is a hammam?
A hammam is a traditional bath house and you’ll find one in every city, town and village in Morocco. Some people even have their own tiny hammam at home. Why? Because the cleansing ritual is a key part of Moroccan life. It has its roots in Roman and Greek times when large complexes were built to allow people to mix and meet each other. Hammams however became smaller and more intimate when they were incorporated into Arabic culture as a way to cleanse before prayer. Today they’re often found close to mosques and you’ll still see people making their weekly trip to communal hammams in the medina of Marrakech – particularly on Fridays, the holy day of the Muslim week.
What does a hammam involve?
The hammam is a warm room with stone benches and the key steps are exfoliation and cleansing. Skin is washed and scrubbed with a mitt to get rid of dead skin. Traditional black soap is used and here at El Fenn we also offer hammams that include a ghassoul clay body mask and, of course, argan oil for extra softness. You can also have a hair mask as part of the treatment. After each stage of the treatment, you are washed with warm water. Afterwards, settle back with a pot of mint tea.
What do I wear for a hammam?
You can either wear a swimsuit – or just briefs if you prefer. The El Fenn hammam in Marrakech is private so you won’t share it with anyone.
What are the benefits of a hammam?
It’s incredibly relaxing for your body and rejuvenating for your skin. You’ll be amazed by just how much is exfoliated if you don’t normally have hammams! You’ll feel cleaner than you have in a long time. And, just between us, it’s amazing to have a hammam if you’ve had a few too many cocktails on the terrace the night before. You’ll definitely leave feeling match fit for another evening out.
What has a meat stew got to do with a hammam?
Tangia is a traditional stew using cheaper cuts of meat that need long, slow cooking. Meat and spices, including saffron, cumin and turmeric, are put into a clay pot that’s buried in the embers of the fire that heats the water for the hammam. The tangia takes the whole day to cook and was traditionally eaten on Fridays when artisans would pray and socialise together before picking up the tangia ready for the evening meal. You can still get a tangia cooked in a hammam a few doors away from El Fenn.
To find out more about booking a hammam or other beauty treatments at El Fenn take and look at the spa and pools page.