Spa Article in WSJ on Hammams

4 thoughts on “Spa Article in WSJ on Hammams

  1. Eva Kerschbaumer

    Hi Susie,

    I appreciate your thoughts and leadership but I would hope that you might clearly differentiate the top trends for resort spas and day spas. Being from Budapest (where I grew up and began my career as an esthetician) I absolutely love Hammans and the whole experience that they bring. But they do not translate into the American dayspa guest’s lexicon (I am not sure that they ever will). There was one quote that really stood out when you mentioned this in your top trends; “spa owners and designers love them [hammans] because they are show pieces that look great” (I am paraphrasing).

    The expense that is required to properly include a Hamman in a dayspa establishment (and all but the most well-funded and luxurious of resort spas) is far beyond anything that such an expense would reasonabe be expected to generate in revenue, not to mention profit (or opportunity costs when accounting for unused space that might otherwise be generating revenue).

    I place the Hamman in the same category as a wet room (or vichy shower) or steam room or sauna or other “resort” type experience. Dayspas would be well-advised to stay away from these cash-intense investments because they will never bring in anything near the revenue that the sales person used to sell the product in the first place.

    Just my two cents and I feel bad about this because my background and history makes me predisposed to loving the Hamman (and other wet-room) type spa experiences.

    1. Susie Ellis Post author

      Dear Eva,
      Thank you so much for your email – you’ve made some very good points. You are so right about the costly expense of building a spa making it very unlikely we will see hammam day spas anytime too. (Although I understand there will be one opening in New York city this summer – however NY is a special circumstance because of the high density.) It is a shame because the hammam experience is so great.

      One thing that gives me a glimmer of hope however is that some of the hydro/thermal companies (most from Europe) have been creating smaller versions of hammams that can be used for individual treatments or couple’s treatments that are beginning to make more economical sense. When I was in Istanbul last year, most of the hotel spas I visited told me that their hammams were constantly booked – that they were the most popular treatment. And since they were charging a very healthy price for these hammam treatments (many were for couples) they actually have become quite lucrative. I think the one advantage they have over steam rooms, saunas and whirlpools is that the consumer isn’t likely to expect them to be free which they have learned to expect from the steam/sauna/jacuzzi – at least here in the U.S.

      It will remain to be seen how things develop but I have my fingers crossed that we will be seeing more hammams and that more people will be able to enjoy them and the results a good scrubbing and soaping give.

    1. graceynewman

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