Review: Hello Hammam, Goodbye Prude

It was Friday evening. I had a taxing week and could barely walk from the car park into the shopping centre. Since it was my girlfriend’s (Lin) birthday, she wanted to pamper herself at a spa and decided that I had to join her.

She came across one at Bangsar Village  II known as Hammam. When Lin mentioned it to me, alarm bells rang! I went to one in Turkey and I am still uncertain as to whether I felt violated, abused or disrespected. Being pampered was definitely not what I remember.

Not having a choice, I made my way up to the third floor to join her. The entrance was unpretentious. All I could see was a sign board and a high reception desk with a cosy seating area tucked in by the side.

Upon scrutinising the available treatments, I decided on the ‘Princess Hammam’ (RM 235) and Lin went for the ‘My Favourite Concubine Hammam’ (RM315). Both treats included a Hammam (steam bath) and Gommage (scrub) as well as a 45 minute aromatic massage. The only difference was the latter had an additional body polish/mask.

Drained and sleepy, I walked through the second door at Hammam, but only to regain full consciousness. It was “Spa Haven”! The indoor decor had a soothing effect and I felt like I was transported to Morocco.

We were taken to individual rooms where we put on robes and sandals and locked our personal belongings into a cupboard along with our phones which are not allowed in. By the way, you are only given enough disposable clothing to cover the essentials.

A Moroccan lady named Ghizlan guided me into a steaming room. She seated me on a heated stone bench and not long after I realised that it was not a private room. Lin as well as two women unknown to us was in the same room. I couldn’t believe it was happening all over again!

Following on, Ghizlan gave me a really warm bath. It was an experience comparable to childhood when my grandmothers and parents used to give all the kids a bath. Don’t be fooled by the choice of word as Hammam/Bath here means continuous splashing of really warm water out of a dipper.

Once the Hammam was over, we lied on heated stone benches and whiled away the time sweating. After sensing immense thirst in the heat and humidity, it was time for the Gommage in the adjacent room.

Zohor, another Moroccan lady was only too ready to make me spotless that afternoon. She put in all her energy in making sure I left the spa looking a shade fairer using her miracle exfoliating cloth.

The scrub was purifying yet invigorating. It was an experience by itself but I was glad to be rid of any stubborn pollution-cause filth.

The next stage of the Hammam Spa experience was just the pinnacle of comfort. Feeling utterly rejuvenated, I plonked myself on a large wooden reclining chair sipping what I thought was a very fine sweet Moroccan mint tea and indulging in a slice of divine Baklava, waiting for my girlfriend who was finishing up her body mask session.

With the dim lights, relaxing music and the sound of the water feature in front of me, I was ready to camp the night there.

However, we did not want to miss out on our last leg of the treatment – the Massage! I got a lady who did wonders with her hands. Norli made sure she applied the ideal amount of pressure with consistency in her massage.

I was on switch off mode and wished that the massage hadn’t come to an end. Awakening from that experience, I walked out of the room and crashed onto the reclining chair yet again.

It was sadly time to leave. Not wanting to forget our experience at Hammam and loving the products they used, I bought Lin a Hammam shower gel which had a fruity and spicy aroma. The available body care items for sale make wonderful gifts.

The men are not forgotten at Hammam but obviously there are separate baths. For couples, there is a separate room where you can experience the “Royal Couple Hammam” for 3 hours (RM650). If you think the prices are high, look around and spas of similar standard would be pricier.

While middle income earners might not afford to treat themselves to this ritual on a weekly basis like the Moroccans and Turks, it is definitely well worth a shot or more.

 

Address:  3rd Floor, Bangsar Village 2, Bangsar Baru

Telephone: 03 2282 2180

Website:  www.hammambaths.com

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