More on the Authentic Hammam Spa Trend
By Susie Ellis, SpaFinder Insider
I just love it when a spa trend we predict (especially one that some people think is “out of the blue”) begins getting buzz. So how fitting that a week ago we predicted the 2010 spa trend “Year of the Hammam” and in today’s USA Today they talk about the new Silversea Cruise ship with its medi-spa offerings and its new hammam!
Am encouraged to see that this much-anticipated new Silversea’s cruise ship – the Silver Spirit – will have a “real” hammam. From this description it sounds like they are keeping it authentic:
“Built with a connecting private Hammam (Turkish bath) Chamber, the Thermal Suite will serve as the setting for the Private Hammam Experience, one of several other new treatments to be rolled out on the ship. The Private Hammam Experience includes what Silversea bills as an ancient Arabian body scrub ritual performed by a therapist.”
For those who missed my expanded discussion about why we see 2010 as “The Year of the Hammam,” here it is:
Year of the Hammam
With spa-goers increasingly seeking authenticity, tradition, and that magical spa experience that also offers true results, the Eastern-European/Middle Eastern/North African hammam (hamam in Turkey) represents one of the hottest trends for 2010, albeit with a distinctly modern expression. This is the year in which people who’ve never heard the term hammam will learn its meaning, and those already familiar with it will discover new places to experience it. Anyone who has sampled this age-old ritual of cleansing and purification will not be surprised by its rising popularity. The combination of a vigorous full-body scrub and bubbly soaping, now often capped by a full-body massage, makes for an extraordinary experience, with results that last weeks.
A traditional hammam, from an Arabic word meaning “heat,” consists of a hot room (the sıcaklık, or hararet), a warm, intermediate room, and the cool room (or soğukluk). And these are not ordinary rooms but typically architectural marvels. Spa-goers love hammams because one can extend this Eastern-European/Middle Eastern/North African multicircuit bathing experience for hours. Spa owners love them because of their photogenic “wow” design and the opportunity to make money, since the treatment requires a therapist and allows for top dollar/Euro pricing. Although traditionally they’ve been a same-sex experience, new modern twists have broadened the experience to couples.
Travel to venerable hammams like the 16th-century Çemberlita in Istanbul will increase, while brand-new spas will unveil distinctly modern incarnations. Introduced to the modern spa scene by lavish Middle Eastern resort spas (such as Dubai’s One and Only Royal Mirage or Morocco’s La Mamounia), next-generation versions are already gaining popularity in Europe, where top spa builders and product manufacturers report a serious increase in requests for a hammam component in new spa design.
The trend is hitting North America: Both the Drift Spa at Palms Place and Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas recently rolled out hammams, as did the new InterContinental Montelucia in Arizona and Montage Beverly Hills. Trump Soho in Manhattan (slated for early 2010) will boast separate luxury hammams for men and women. And expect Turkish hammams in both the Traymore and Epic Hotels in Miami.
You can also expect more floating versions on cruise ships soon. And delegates attending the 2010 Global Spa Summit (fittingly taking place in Istanbul next May) will sample both ancient and modern local interpretations. In the future, look for sauna or steam rooms around the world inappropriately labeled “hammams” to be taken to task as the industry commits to higher standards of authenticity.
And thanks once again to Anitra from Spas About.com. I appreciate her blog post today reiterating what a real hammam is all about by sharing an article from her website.
We are just beginning our conversation about the history and usage of hammams and I look forward to many more people chiming in until we all understand it better. After all there are hammams in many different countries…Spain, Morocco, Turkey (hamam), etc. to explore, various accessories to understand such as mitts used for scrubbing, soaps for massage, and more. Also we will explore rasuls…which some people incorrectly label hammams.
More on Hammams from SpaFinder
Please share with us what you know about authentic hammams!
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