My hammam video review is at the bottom ;)
“Are you ok?”
“Fine,” I replied breathlessly, my upper torso protruding awkwardly from the open door, steam seeping into the hallway, my hair reaching new altitudes.
“Well, just a little hot.” I admitted.
Alarmed, the woman hurriedly ushered me from the sauna and led me down the hallway. I gripped my bathrobe tightly and shuffled along in my ubiquitous white spa slippers, trying to tame my now-frizzed hair and surreptitiously dab at my sweating face.
When my friend, Nathaniel, and I had first decided to take a trip to #Morocco, we had a list of the must-dos. Camel riding in the Sahara? Obviously. Dine on a rooftop in #Marrakech? For every meal. Procure a handmade tajine souvenir? Without question.
But when I suggested a massage, our guide objected.
“You’re in Morocco. You can get a massage anywhere. But a Moroccan #hammam will be an experience you will never forget.”
So here I was—fifteen minutes into my “relaxing” hammam experience and already completely frazzled. Sitting alone in a dark steam room had only been the first of my tortures.
“Please take off your robe.”
I had been prepared for this, and I proffered my robe with breezy aplomb, while simultaneously noting that none of the rooms had any doors on them.
“Please, stand here.”
The “here” my hammamist (?) indicated was directly under a contraption that looked suspiciously like a shower head. I had originally envisioned disappearing into a small pool of warm water that would at least provide the illusion of modesty.
Instead, I stood naked and upright, multiple water spouts poised to destroy my hair and test the boundaries of my water-proof makeup.
And while my former self would have been particularly uncomfortable with the amount of nudity involved in today’s experience, I felt a certain sense of pride about how I was navigating the day’s adventure. It was as though my former prudishness had melted away. Or perhaps I had been imbued with the liberating concept that I’d never see any of these people again.
It was a commitment to “carpe diem” that had led me to this point. Standing in an open shower, wearing a cheese-cloth diaper, exposed to anyone who might happen to walk by.
After what can only be described as a grown woman sponge-bathing another grown woman, my hammamist indicated I should lay on a cold marble slab situated in the middle of the room.
After what felt like hours of scrubbing, my hammamist slathered me with mud before wrapping me like a burrito with towels. She gently folded a towel over my face to ensure all my senses were obscured before sneaking out of the room for an undetermined amount of time.
For the next fifteen minutes (hour?) I alternated between trying to relax and flapping my arms to provide myself with an artificial breeze beneath my towels. I was also painfully aware of my makeup sliding off my face and my eyelashes plastered to my cheeks.
And WHERE had that hammamist gone?!
With stealth movements, I flopped my head back and forth, liberating my face from its terrycloth prison. At least I could breathe. I looked down and saw mud streaked across the towels and a half naked body getting their scrub in the next room.
Flapflapflap. A quick respite. The mud was sufficiently caked and cracking with each surreptitious movement.
Footsteps in the hall, so I quickly put my head back down and concentrated on my zen face.
“Relaxed?” she whispered, appearing above me.
“Mmmmm…” I acquiesced with a nod.
Another thorough scrub down before I was ushered into yet another room—this time with a chaise lounge and fresh squeezed juice. I was left to my own devices again to—I’m not sure—ponder life’s mysteries?
Once I was deemed sufficiently “relaxed,” I was led back into the changing room, where my freshly oiled body required two towels before I could put my clothes back on.
A bachelorette party changed in the locker room at the same time, comparing notes on their favorite hammams in Marrakech. Obviously, this was something they enjoyed regularly. While the staff was professional and the facilities were exquisite, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was just bad at relaxing or if I had just paid a lot of money to sit in various rooms for long stretches of time.
I rejoined Nathaniel and we beamed over the newness of our freshly scrubbed skin before heading off to enjoy dinner.
If you visit Morocco, a hammam is definitely the thing to do. It’s just not a thing I’d need to do again.
Enjoy our #video recap of my Hammam experience.
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